The stress spiral

This week has been one of victory and defeat. Today I feel especially tearful. I am done my progesterone for the next 14 days, and I am afraid I will be the crying mess I was before. Maybe It’s just because I was out late last night, and I’m lacking sleep. Maybe I haven’t eaten enough. Food prep and consumption is a chore. I have, at the advice of my therapist been forcing myself to do things. Surprisingly this works. I made it to work on time last week, barely… but I was there. I also worked full days, 8 hours. I did my dishes, and stripped my bed, did a little laundry. I had to as I was attacked in my sleep by some sort of insect again. I must be delicious.
I finished the book “Why men love bitches” and found it really spoke to me. I have to love myself. I have to be emotionally healthy, I have to stop mothering and taking care of others before myself. A part of me wishes I could have another try at some of my previous relationships, but I guess I need to take away from them what I learned, and leave it at that. If a re-do is in the cards it’ll happen. Plus, I’m not really ready yet. It helped me see my pattern, and shone a light on my insecurities. I am unsure of where I go from here, maybe the therapist will have some techniques. I see her tomorrow.
I started reading “Why zebras don’t get ulcers”-Robert M Sapolsky. I read the intro and the went straight to the chapter on depression. It is quite technical, so I am relearning some biology, but I had some ah-ha moments. It was focused on major depression, but the theories transfer. The idea that a chemical imbalance in the brain, in combination with family history and major stressors usually will result in depression, and every individual will cope or not cope differently. He outlined a “early morning wakening” where depression sufferers will wake early (or have difficulty falling asleep), it disturbs the normal pattern of sleep and dreaming. Well what do you know… I suck at sleeping in, even if I’ve been out late. I liked this (page 234) “it is easy to think of the person as energyless, enervated. A more accurate picture is of the depressive as a tightly coiled spool of wire, tense, straining, active-but all inside. A psychodynamic view of depression shows the person fighting an enormous, aggressive mental battle.” Absolutely true, as my hormone panel showed HIGH morning cortisol levels. I was awake with a stressful jolt. This is where once again I am reminded I need to love myself, tone down the negative chatter, depressives will often feel like they “don’t deserve” He explains that elevated glucocorticoids (Glucocorticoids are a class of steroid hormones that bind to the glucocorticoid receptor, which is present in almost every vertebrate animal cell. The name glucocorticoid (pertaining to glucose + cortex ) derives from its role in the regulation of the metabolism of glucose, its synthesis in the adrenal cortex, and its steroidal structure, cortisol (or hydrocortisone) is the most important human glucocorticoid. It is essential for life, and it regulates or supports a variety of important cardiovascular, metabolic, immunologic, and homeostatic functions-Wikipedia) add to not only the chemical make up of depression but of stress, and the entire hormone system will be unbalanced. “People who seemingly have depression of a purely psychiatric nature turn out to have thyroid disease.” My thyroid blood test was normal, but the naturopath has me on homeopathic drops and a biomed supplement.
“Statistically, stress and the onset of depression tend to go together. People who are undergoing a lot of significant life stressors are more likely than average to have undergone a recent and significant stressor” Well what do you know, job change, money, move, divorce (for all intensive purposes altho not technically). Then he delves into Freud, psychodynamics and learned helplessness. Freud felt that melancholy occurred when there was a loss of a love object (“object” is usually defined as a person, but could also be a goal or ideal). Really fascinating. I am going to read the book, from the beginning, I just couldn’t stop my impetuous self from chewing into the depression chapter. The link between stress and depression is mind blowing. And the way that psychological factors can modulate the stress response and physiologic response on top of it. Did stress cause my hormone imbalance, and my depression? I didn’t cognitively acknowledge that I was stressed. Did my poor self image exacerbate my stress? And the stress fed my poor self image? He also touches on the illusion of control, “If you believe you have control over stressors that are, in fact, beyond your control, you may consider it to somehow to be your fault that the inevitable occurred.” I was thinking it was me, I lost myself, I could have done things differently, been better, smarter, braver… maybe… maybe it was all far beyond my control.
It is a clever and intricate domino set up. Each tile tipping ever so slightly, clattering atop one after another in a wave. Falling together and falling apart simultaneously.
I had a full day yesterday, went out to where Karma and her husband were camping, had some laughs, worked on my freckle population, did a couple work errands, read a bit then showered and went to the bar with a girlfriend. I am avoiding alcohol as it is high in sugar, and a depressant. I wore no make up, and nothing fancy, tank, capris, sensible flat shoes. Ready to undertake some dancing and people watching. It was an interesting crowd. There was a soccer team (mid 40’s) up to play golf that surrounded us, lol, danger, as I have been both a golf and soccer widow… I had one especially forward fellow ask if “we were going to make out?” I said, not likely, and certainly not with each other. He continued to encroach on my personal space, and pecked at my cheek like a nervous bird, not the first time this has happened to me… I finally asked him to leave me alone, and he said “wow you are tough”. I’ll take it, then he said “you are probably married” I just smiled, and turned away. I wanted to reply, “so are you…” I was mildly jaded and found the entire experience a little bluing. But it was nice to go out, I find even being passively around people, at the gym, here at starbucks, comforting. As awful as I know it sounds to get male attention… damn me and my external reassurance…fully dressed and sober was nice as well. I texted Vanessa this morning and asked where all the “good” men were. I also texted my worry exchange partner that I was worrying about the man situation again. They both said, nearly the very same thing. Prince Charming would not be found in a bar, and that he would find me. Likely doing something I love. Makes sense as the one boy I found I really liked, hated the bar… And he was found by chance. My dad always said that you couldn’t discount meeting someone anywhere or any time. His point was that arranged marriages can work, so you could very well meet someone by chance at the bar. Maybe not likely, but possible. Not that any of this matters as I am obviously not in the emotional or mental space for a relationship. But then I start to worry, when I am ready will I find someone else that is? Really? It’s like waiting for the “right time” to have kids, it’ll never be perfect… All this is forefront in my mind after the night out, and it being Father’s Day family is also flashing on my radar. Everything in time. I’m getting ahead of myself and inciting un needed stress… which leads to depression… which isn’t good for my self esteem…or body chemistry…and now I’m dizzy going around in circles…

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2 thoughts on “The stress spiral

  1. Vanessa says:

    hmmm i have lots to say, and have written and deleted a few times. perhaps i will just call you at some point today during my drive. love you, and i’m still very much a cheerleader on your sidelines, and objectively seeing you make immense emotional progress with every post 🙂

  2. monkeysmom2 says:

    When we visit we should go couch shopping, a couch is much like a person, it should be whole. not half, not left with someone else, not shared. it is a whole. I love you and miss you. see you in a couple weeks!

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