Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Tag: stress

Staring at a Burning Candle

I just spent 10 minutes staring at a burning candle. Breathing and staring at a candle. Trying to keep all the random, crazy, sane, not so sane, and mundane thoughts from taking hold as they popped into my head. It wasn’t hard, just awkward. For the first time in forever I was aware of how many thoughts are flying around in my head constantly. I didn’t fight the “I need to pay for dance,” or “I need dry my gloves,” or “Why am I doing this?” thoughts. I didn’t focus on the random words or calls to action but just acknowledged and … let them float off. All the while watching a candle burn, focusing on calm, slow, even breathing.

I have always dealt with pressure well. It’s when the pressure is off or the storm is over that I fall apart. This last storm – my husband having surgery – triggered my (I thought long resolved) PTSD. In addition, I fell snowboarding, bumped my face – not hard at all – and set off a series of weird events. A few years back I took a baseball to the face and ever since when the weather has extreme shifts or I get a particularly bad migraine, a portion of my face will go numb. After my husband’s surgery and a small fall, half of my face went numb. Right down the middle, including half of my tongue.

Then half of my face felt like it was in fire. And life was hell.

I was exhausted at the end of the day. Trying to concentrate over the fire or numbness in my face took so much energy. I had a constant headache and wore sunglasses non-stop for a month. Honestly, I thought I was going nuts. I just waited for each day to end so I could go to bed and try to find a comfortable position and … not sleep.

After seeking help from a chiropractor, who sent me to a medical doctor, who sent me to an ENT, I had a two hour long MRI. As someone who is mildly claustrophobic, this was one of the most awful  experiences of my life – ranking right up there with having meningitis.

They found no source for any my facial nerve pain. Thankfully. The list of things they were looking for … seriously scary stuff. Thankfully they found nothing out of the ordinary.

STRESS.

Once again, stress had kicked me. I thought I was dealing well after seeing my doctor about PTSD. I thought I had a handle on things. Evidently my body disagreed. Stress has a way of finding a weak spot in your body and reminding you you’re human. This time stress found my facial nerves.

This week, things are better. I’m feeling more normal. After fielding a million questions about wearing sunglasses inside during the day, including one comment that floored me (“I wondered if she was high or something?”), I am hoping today I will only need my sunglasses outside. Or at least wear my normal glasses when others are around. While I still have a daily headache, it’s mostly manageable and slowly improving. I can focus enough to read a book and watching television isn’t totally awful…I’m on my computer and able to think….

I’m done avoiding stress through busyness. It’s time to address stress and how I deal with it. Taking the time to do the things that make me happy and calm is a priority. Snowboarding as much as I can, running more, drinking extra water, giving up diet soda…..and staring at a candle each morning.

…..

What do you do to deal with stress? Let’s start a conversation….

 

Happy HalloHoliday

I wrote this a while back but as I get out Christmas lights in preparation for tomorrow’s decorating…it seemed appropriate to hit “Publish.”

 

Happy Halloween! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Christmas! Happy HalloHoliday!

Yup, I did it. I mentioned Thanksgiving and Christmas prior to the strike of midnight on Halloween. I committed that sin. Through the years, I’ve been a staunch supporter of acknowledging only one celebration at a time, the next not allowed prior to the completion of the current. Meaning No Thanksgiving Until Halloween is over and No Christmas until Thanksgiving is done. And certainly, NO CHRISTMAS BEFORE EITHER HALLOWEEN OR THANKSGIVING!

As I’ve gotten older, my holiday acknowledgment rules have slipped a bit. I’m a planner. Today is Halloween. Last Monday, 26 October, I completed 90% of my Christmas shopping. In one trip. All local businesses downtown. And even better, a lot of the stuff I bought comes packaged up nicely so I don’t have to wrap a ton of stuff. I’d guess you can say I ran rampant over my holiday rule. But you know what? I’m going to relax and enjoy the snow when it comes and focus more time with and on my family instead of shopping myself into exhaustion.

I work a seasonal job in the winter. My time becomes more limited than normal. I have ridiculous expectations for myself. Any little thing I can do to ease the stress I do. If that means shopping for December in October, you bet your arse I do it. I was able to pick gifts thoughtfully and calmly. My girls and I took advantage of a day off school and made the most of our amazing local businesses. We do get gift cards for out of town family as exchanges are hard if something doesn’t work.  But for the most part this year we accomplished my goal of shopping local.

We put up our Christmas lights as soon as we can. Normally it would have been yesterday but we all needed a break so maybe next weekend. I live in a part of the country where Halloween can mean 70 degrees and pleasant or feet upon feet of snow like the “Storm of 1991.” Doing it early just means less frostbite later.

This year we host Thanksgiving. I will attempt to decorate for Christmas before everyone arrives. Once Thanksgiving is here I typically am full steam ahead with my seasonal gig and lose my decorating mojo. I try to make Christmas magical for the kids and that means not losing my shit over decorating last minute.

So here’s my advice. Because I know you want it. Let people be what they are and embrace what matters to you. Just make sure not to complain about the constant playing of Hallmark movies in my house when you’re here. I love them and you’ll be dead to me if you rip on them too much.

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