Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stress and Its Causes

I had a seizure yesterday. I believe this is only the latest in a string of episodes that are symbolizing my body's need to rest and recuperate. I've also been hiving a LOT lately.

All things considered, I've been very blessed because my emotional state hasn't gotten out of control. Usually, when I get really stressed I get weepy, easily angry and overly critical of myself. I guess I'm all of those things on a normal day but the symptoms are exacerbated by stress.

My stress of late has been comprised of many low level stressors that, when combined, lead to the overwhelmed feeling. When I get a little stressed about money and a little stressed about a disagreement with my husband and a little stressed about some regret I have from 2 months ago (or 6 months ago, or 15 years ago) and then I get a little stressed about how stressed I am and how I know that I'm overreacting and how unhealthy it is... And then, because I'm stressed, I might snap at one of the children and then I'll stress at how I'm "screwing up" my kids and how they'll remember their childhood as horrible, and then I get stressed about how they aren't getting along and how there must be something that I need to either do or stop doing.....

That little snapshot is just a fraction of the chaos that exists in my head each day. There are thoughts that lead to other thoughts and worries that lead to others and regrets that foster other regrets... And then I find myself almost completely immobilized by irrational fears about how people view me, how extraordinarily, incredibly, uncommonly imperfect I am. Uncommon is the most important adjective in that list because, in a way that is almost indescribable, I believe that my screw-ups are worse than those of others.
I'm not sure that is completely accurate either... I believe that the consequences for my actions are more severe than those of others. I've been told that this is narcissistic. I don't mean to be egocentric, but for some reason, I believe that in order to be accepted, I need to live up to a higher standard than what I hold others to.

I'm definitely a perfectionist. And I definitely don't want to teach my children this trait. I am working to teach them that mistakes are ok and even an accepted and sometimes desired occurrence.
I'm seeking to teach them "In order to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." And, at the same time, I'm attempting to learn this lesson myself.

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