Stress

Yesterday was a horrendous day, though not a dangerous day, thankfully.

It started out well enough. Even though my period had started I’d gotten a bit of sleep and actually felt focused and inspired enough to work on my project again, after weeks of having to neglect it.

That didn’t last long, though.

By mid-morning I was locked into some of the worst depression and anxiety I’ve experienced for a while, joined by a heaping side of intense loneliness. There was no suicidal ideation this time, though. Silver lining.

My friends weren’t chatty, and I didn’t want them to feel like I was sucking their energy away on a daily basis, so I left them alone and settled in to just lie down and listen to music. Music was the only thing holding me together for most of the day.

I had a moment of feeling improved in the afternoon and intended to get out and take a walk, but some of my oldest son’s friends arrived asking if he could come spend time with them, and of course I didn’t want to make him stay home to be my babysitter.

I continued lying down and listening to music. When my husband got home, he promptly shut himself up in the bedroom with me in order to watch the new season of a show that’s not safe for kids – his presence intensified my anxiety, even after he’d fallen asleep.

Eventually I’d gathered enough energy to attempt a walk again, so I headed out around 6. I wasn’t thrilled by the fact that the park was full of people sportsballing, but I’d badly needed to escape the house. I knew a spot where the lake drains into the river where I could sit, largely out of sight of passersby.

Intensely lonely while also needing to be alone.

My husband’s love feels so possessive, grasping and insecure that I can’t seek comfort from him, and it’s been a while now since I’ve been able to seek comfort from my family. I’d be vaguely envious of people that can still turn to their mom in their time of need, if I had the energy for envy.

At the park I went to the spot I’d had in mind and settled in, taking off my socks & shoes so I could put my feet in the water, rushing down an artificial channel on its way to join the river. Why not? If large sources of happiness are going to be consistently denied, I may as well gather whatever small slivers of it I can find.

It helped me relax enough to be able to go home and settle in to watch a Rifftrax version of Icebreaker with the family. Anxiety finally subsided, though not the depression. I listened to more music while trying to fall asleep, and let myself cry now that I finally knew I wouldn’t be interrupted by anyone, or have them spot my red face and ask what was wrong.

Supposedly crying can help alleviate stress, but it didn’t seem to do much for me other than leave me with clogged sinuses.

I woke up in the middle of the night without the severe weight of depression and intense loneliness. I still feel lonely, and if a spirit could be bruised, mine would be black & blue, but I can feel some resigned determination again.

10 days until the move. By early August, my husband will be back at work, the kids will be back in school, and I should have a vehicle of my own with which to make minor exploratory forays into my new region, which should mean I feel less trapped, which should mean less anxiety and depression.

Yesterday I was reading about anxiety and periods, wondering if there might be a link, and discovered there is – before someone’s period starts, their body begins to produce more cortisol – cortisol is also be produced during times of heightened stress, during the flight or fight response, and situations that produce adrenaline. Bad sleep can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, too.

It temporarily suppresses ‘non-essential’ functions, including immune system response, which would certainly explain why my health has felt subpar over the years.

Too much cortisol can be damaging to health, particularly if levels remain high over extended periods of time. Apparently it can damage the body’s stress response system and lead to a variety of symptoms.

This knowledge reinforces my need for a regular sleep schedule and effective sleep. So here I am, of course, writing because I ended up with insomnia and couldn’t fall back to sleep, and lying there listening to my husband’s rough breathing was putting me at risk of raised anxiety again.

Well, I’m feeling tired again now, so maybe I can squeeze a little more sleep out of this night – though it feels doubtful now that it’s beginning to get light out.

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