It’s no wonder I’m stressed.

I’ve been craving bad food for weeks now and am back to my daily drinking. Before anyone worries excessively about my alcohol consumption, I will be specific. Prior to getting sick in the Fall, I had a glass of wine or two each night. I wouldn’t drink to get drunk but certainly felt the effects.

Being sick ended that. I didn’t feel like it and I also realized it wasn’t the healthiest habit.  A drink a day is fine but I definitely exceeded that on a regular basis.

However I realized in recent weeks I’m back to my old habits. In addition, I’ve been craving sweets (normally just a once a month thing) and bad food in general. And giving in to those cravings.

Being the self-reflective sort that I am, I’ve been pondering this.

According to those who write about such things, stress over things you cannot control is the worst kind of stress. When Will’s parents were getting divorced (a vicious fight after thirty years of marriage), his Dad’s cardiologist told him he risked a second heart attack if he didn’t get the divorce settled. That he couldn’t control his ex-wife’s behavior.

I realized there are three big things going on in my life which I have no control over, which are causing me an inordinate amount of stress. While I have a pretty high tolerance (people often as me how I’m able to “handle it all”) I have to recognize what’s going on.

Challenge #1 | The potential court case & life change

I haven’t written much lately about what’s going on with Will. I alluded to a pending career change in an earlier post. He’s quite serious about changing jobs and is readying himself to quit his current, very well paying job, and move into a much lower-paying sector.

He wants to make the world a better place, which is noble. But just like his decision to move away, his choice is ultimately self-centered and potentially at his son’s (and my) detriment.

On the plus side, he may be home as early as next month. We would go back to our week-on, week-off arrangement with Liam (yes, I’ve named my son here, finally). This would give me back some of the freedom I’ve missed. It would be good for Liam to have his father back home. Although admittedly I will miss having him around all the time.

On the minus side, the job change he’s contemplating could mean he’s making ~25% of his former salary. He has a massive mortgage as a result of his one-time payout to me on the equity of our house. He’s not sure he can afford to stay in the house or even in our neighborhood. I think Liam could handle a house change if other things stay the same (school, nanny, etc) and his Dad is back. But additional change could be a real issue.

But that’s not the biggest stressor. Will can actually sue me for child support.

I’m not going to spend a lot of keystrokes here debating whether he will or won’t. Bottom line is I can’t control it; it’s completely out of my hands.

Challenge #2 | The potential break-up

I don’t need to spend a lot of time discussing this one as several blog posts have already been devoted to it. Prior to learning that Tony was actually contemplating putting his family unit back together, I was worried about whether he was on the same path as me.

Now it’s worse. I’m just waiting (yes, my choice to do so) for a decision to be made. And it’s not my decision and there’s nothing really I can (or should) do about it. He needs to come to the conclusion all on his own. Given the depth of feeling I have for him it’s rather torturous.

And yes, I won’t take it as a personal rejection of me. At least I tell myself this now. No matter what, I will be very, very, sad.

Challenge #3 | The potential job loss

My company is going through a massive restructuring. I could lose my job and that’s not an exaggeration. While I would get a payout providing some time to find a next job, I like where I work. My company is one of the most respected of its kind in the world. The people are great. I love what I do.

I’m not sure what else there is to say on the matter. It’s going to be at least another month before I have clarity on what’s next.

So.

I’m writing this, it’s before noon and I’m drinking my second proscecco and orange juice (in fairness, I am on vacation at a friend’s country house in the woods) and making my way through a very large bag of crisps.

I guess it’s no wonder I’m feeling the effects of the stress on my body and my brain. I should be patient with myself, which is often difficult. Friends and readers say “Ann, you are only human” but that’s not comfort to me. I’m supposed to be better. Supposed to be exceptional. Supposed to be strong and powerful. Supposed to have no vulnerability and not need to rely on anyone. Oh, yeah, and not have any jiggly bits or cellulite, either.

Above all, I am not supposed to be weak. I detest weakness.

This is the down side of always striving to be better. Others see an accomplished, strong, fearless woman. I am not so blind as to not see the good things about myself, but I also see where I have room to improve.

I’m trying to cut myself some slack.

0 thoughts on “It’s no wonder I’m stressed.

  1. Oh my, what an awful lot of stress in your life right now! When it rains, it pours. I turn to food/drink when I am stressed as well. For the record, I do not think you to be weak in the least. You’re amazingly strong and capable and you’ll come through each of these three things with grace and humility I am sure of it.

    • Thank you, Hollie.

      I don’t think I’m weak but I don’t do well when I think I exhibit weakness. If that makes sense. Perhaps that’s splitting hairs, which I totally do.

      The reality is that these things are largely just going to happy TO me. There’s not much I can do to alter the course (sure, if I’m a total bitch to Will then he may be more likely to be an ass in return, for example), so I just have to wait.

      I hate waiting and I don’t like limbo. Especially about so many things at the same time.

          • Is he aware that there is a time limit to his decision making? Maybe when your time limit expires would be the opportunity to provide space and let him either make the choice to get back with his ex wife, or come back to you with that behind him fully.

  2. At first I thought this was a post about navigating one’s decision to be healthier based on the things we consume, and I was excited “OH! I can SO relate!!” But alas…

    I’m not sure what words I could offer that are of any solace. I have no experience with #1, I’ve been in limbo on #2 for quite some time (it sucks anyway you look at it), and I’m facing #3 as well, but more from choice than effects I have no control over.

    I will offer this though – “I’m supposed to be better. Supposed to be exceptional. Supposed to be strong and powerful. Supposed to have no vulnerability and not need to rely on anyone.” These are the words bouncing around in my head all the time, though never fully realized. Are we setting ourselves up for success or failure? Is there room for us to let others in, to let others shine? Rhetorical questions, I don’t know the answer, but I do know that I feel as you do, and perhaps that can provide a slice of comfort.

    Best to you. xo

    • Any words are solace, to be honest. Just knowing there are people out there who genuinely care is great. Having sounding boards are great.

      Sorry to hear about your #2. I want to avoid the limbo so two of the three potential outcomes (he goes back to his wife OR I decide I have to end it rather than be in limbo) really suck.

      I hope I’m not setting myself up for failure. I know it’s extraordinarily hard for me to let people help me. I’m working on it and getting better, but it makes me uncomfortable.

      • I don’t often let people help either but I don’t really ever fail either. Not on that task anyways. But instead the “task” of asking or allowing help. Failure was perhaps too harsh a word especially considering my universe comment that inspired you. Perhaps loneliness is a better choice. For I do suffer from that. They do say it’s lonely at the top…

  3. I’m truly sorry to hear you being under so much stress, much of it emotional and not really part of your control. However, I was glad to read one particular passage in your post that let me know you will be ok: “I will not take it as a rejection of me…”

    In all, of the situations you are facing, that is the most important thing to remember. “You” are terrific. Nothing — and no one — changes that. Sometimes a closed door leads to an open window you otherwise may have never taken the time to look through. Being the introspective type, I’m sure you realize this. Between that and simply being terrific, it won’t be long until the stress is gone and inspiration will be taking its place.

    *puts soap box away*

    • I like soap boxes. I have many 🙂

      It would be worse for me if he was dating others and just broke up with me. But in this case I completely understand that he would primarily go back to his marriage because of his son. So while I would be very sad I also can intellectually understand it’s not me.

      I am looking forward to having these situations resolved. I think by the end of April or May I should be in a different place. At least with Tony, as I do have a decision in my power to move on.

    • It really depends, I guess. And although I think it’s unlikely he will sue me, and if he does I don’t know that he would win, it’s just the thought that he could, and I’d have to deal with all that ugliness which we’ve so far managed to avoid.

  4. I’ll be blunt: If you know you’re supposed to be better, then be better and really demand it of yourself. Ann, we all fall off our wagons at time and sometimes that’s a good thing and it’s only weakness if you cannot get back on it. If you’re worrying about things beyond your control, those things aren’t stressing you – you are stressing yourself and more so if you know not to worry about such things.

    Take a deep breath. Tell yourself, “Time to get back to handling the bizness!” – then handle it.

    • I appreciate the bluntness.

      I constantly demand it of myself. Constantly. I handle everything that comes my way – it’s just what I do. I rarely if ever take time to recognize that I’m dealing with a lot… and that’s all this post was meant to do. Recognize it. I’m not the sort to wallow in self-pity.

  5. Oh, I get it Ann. I really do. You do need to cut yourself some slack. Look, if you lose your job, Will can’t have child support can he? Sorry. I just went a couple rounds with my ex and that is never pleasant. He is a colossal ass hole. My children are adults. I thought I was done dealing with him, but I guess I hold half the blame. I didn’t have to answer him.

    Anyway, you are right, The things that are out of your control you just have to watch happen. If you lose your job who is to say you won’t find one you love just as much, if not more? I really don’t think Tony is going to go back and try again. I really don’t. Your relationship with Will seems much less volatile than mine with my ex..

    Yes. Try hard to cut yourself some slack. As I like to say, there isn’t any reason for me to beat myself up when there are so many others willing to do so. Hang in there Ann!

    • thank you, Julie!!

      Will isn’t a colossal asshole but he has his moments. I just hope this isn’t one of them. He is definitely selfish and he’s going to possibly make a decision that will be bad for his kid. He could just wait a few years until it has less impact. But nope. Not his style.

      I hope Tony doesn’t go back. I really don’t. I sense he feels very strongly for me but I’m hoping it’s not wishful thinking. Even if he does, he still may make a choice that means the end of our relationship.

  6. Lots and lots of stress you are under Ann! And when people are under stress what do they do? Turn over to comfort food! I know I’m guilty of that myself. But one thing that has helped with my stress is exercise. Now I absolutely HATED anything that had to do with movement. Any physical activity I failed at. But this past year a friend introduced me to the gym and I’ve been in love with it ever since. 🙂 I know its not for everyone and time is the main issue for me. I manage to squeeze it whenever I can. Currently I am off track and trying to get back on. Its really difficult, but I say its still worth it. Its only a suggestion. Lounging about in a cabin with proscecco and orange juice definitely helps also!

    • You are absolutely right that exercise helps. I have completely fallen off the wagon with going to the gym since last year this time. I know it’s something I need to do and right now can’t go during the day because I’m in back-to-back meetings. If I go before or after work, it cuts into time with Liam, my son. So I’ve largely given up…which is NOT the right thing. I need to find a way to start to incorporate it again!

      • I completely understand that as I have the same problem myself. Even though it cuts into my kids’ time, I still try to go anyways. I just make sure I make it up some other time, like the weekend for example. I know its extremely difficult. I know I feel so much BETTER after the workout yet feel so GUILTY after indulging myself. I heard though some workplaces have mini gyms. If your work does, maybe you do squeeze in a 10 minute workout during your breaks?

  7. Stress 1: I can’t help but wonder if soon-to-be-ex-hubby’s career change is a crafty way of reducing his financial obligations going forward.

    Stress 2: I’m not convinced he’s the man for you. Just an alluring station along your route. Just being brutally, clinically honest. Ever heard of a long-running happy relationship where the woman felt the need to actually go to a hardware store to bastardize a drill? Me neither.

    Stress 3: There is no security in employment, only in employability. Every change has opportunity inherent to it. You’re a smart cookie and a survivor, so fear not. Perhaps Life is giving you a nudge after your slipping into a comfort zone?

    • Stress 1: Will has no ongoing financial obligation to me. We did a one-time payout based on the value he retained in the house, which he kept. We share expenses for childcare and Liam’s camps and sports. Otherwise, nothing. I didn’t get into it in my post but Will has expressed a desire for a while to do something other than what he is doing. I appreciate you thinking he’s an arse but in this case, I know he’s not doing this to avoid a financial obligation to his son.

      Stress 2: In the past you have encouraged me to be patient with the ED. I’m seeing a difference and things are better. The drill was a lark. Nothing more. Ever heard of many women with my sex drive? Me neither.

      Stress 3: I do agree with this and yes, I’ve probably taken the stability for granted in the past. It’s not that I don’t think I would land on my feet…I’m highly marketable in my field and know I could go solo or work for another company. My company is one of the most respected in the world and has an extraordinary culture. I don’t particularly want to go elsewhere and really…. haven’t I had enough change lately? 🙂

  8. Wow, I can tell you’ve been through a lot. Life throws things our way that we cannot control. And may I say, you are one strong woman to do what you’re doing. Have you ever pondered why these things happen? I have a cool video that answers that from a good friend of mine (he’s from Texas, don’t mind the accent, haha). http://www.reallifeanswers.org/challenges-in-life/how-do-challenges-bring-us-closer-to-god . I would love to know what you think of it. Feel free to email me a reply! 🙂 Keep holding on girlfriend!

    Anna

  9. Going to a gym where there’s a lot of hot guys to flirt with a perfect incentive for working out. I love going to the gym cause I have my own lil fan club there. Certainly takes the sting out of exercising 😉

    • That’s funny – I’ve never been a gym flirter! Also the environment of the gym I go to (well, that I’m currently basically donating to on a monthly basis) isn’t one of a lot of flirting. Corporate types and all that 🙂

      But I definitely need to get back to the gym!! Or at least start my home yoga practice again…

  10. Oh, hun. I feel for you. Getting in touch with our weaknesses is indeed terrifying and made all the worse by our sense of shame about it. I hope you are able to find some peace in healthy endeavors and not beat yourself up about the occasional (or frequent) indulgence. Sometimes we have to pick our battles!

    • My body is currently rebelling against my food indulgences this week…

      Overall, I’m way better than I used to be. I make good choices most of the time, and now I will generally make a better decision because I know how I will feel afterwards. Which is also why the last few weeks have felt so different.

      Appreciate the support my dear!!

  11. Thank you for sharing all this. I can really relate to it. I’m unfortunately battling my ex (and his new wife) over money and custody issues. I’m also seriously considering a career move from working solo to a group setting that would be more lucrative for me but I’d have less control. And I’m in a wonderful relationship that is very rewarding but a lot of work sometimes. I rely too much on wine as a coping skill and need to do more relaxation breathing, meditation and exercise. And eat better so I can lose the 10 lbs I gained with my divorce. But my number one goal is to achieve acceptance of the things that are out of my control. I believe that is the answer to a more peaceful existence.

    • I’m sorry to hear you are battling over those things. I consider myself extremely fortunate that Will and I never had those arguments.

      It sounds like you’ve got a lot of stuff on the go as well. It sounds like you are on the right track to acceptance…which I agree, is very important.

      Thank you for your support!

  12. There is a difference between being weak and recognizing areas of vulnerability or ongoing/potential stressors. These situations are ones that you recognize could impact you and force you to react. Kudos for forecasting possibilities but careful not to put too much mental effort into decisions that aren’t yours to make yet.

    • Jane,

      Thank you so much for that. You are totally right, and I am often challenged to see the difference… I see it all as weakness.

      I’m trying to not put the mental effort into it – with my ex in particular. With him, I am decently good at not wasting time anticipating what could happen. There is so much he could potentially throw at me that I’ve learned over time to just take it as it comes.

  13. I’m sorry your going through some trying times, many factors to deal with like a perfect storm. Do you have any good friends (preferably in person) that you can clear your head, give a good scream with? I find at times when I’m wound tight, I need to release. It doesn’t fix those problems but it allows me to address them better.

    • I hate it when the most brilliant comments get eaten 🙂

      I am enjoying the getaway…have had a nap each day which has been bliss. But lots of time to think, which sometimes isn’t a great thing for me 🙂

  14. “I’m supposed to be better. Supposed to be exceptional. Supposed to be strong and powerful. Supposed to have no vulnerability and not need to rely on anyone.” This was me, nearly 4 years ago. And I’m pretty much that person, except that during those times of exceptional stress (divorce, my ex filing for custody of my children, changing the locks on our house and giving my dog away), I kept ignoring my very real vulnerabilities and stopping taking care of myself, until I got sick (and lost a LOT of weight). I have no real advice here other than that which is to take care of yourself as much as you can. No one and nothing is worth losing your health and sanity. The reality about women like us (and I realize I’m stretching here – but I mean strong, independent women) is that we TOO feel vulnerable and have anxieties, and we TOO need to feel secure without losing our “power”….we are not superwoman, we just handle things a bit differently than some. But — we always land on our feet.

    • Tara, you are so right that taking care of myself (ourselves) is important. In the fall with my illness I too realized that I hadn’t worked through my anger and resentment of Will leaving for another country.

      I do always sort it out, but sometimes the process is pretty painful 🙂

      Thanks for your support!

  15. This may sound strange, but it helps to know everyone has mountains to overcome, Ann.
    Above all, you’re a survivor, so I know you’ll be all right in time. That having been said, I’ll be thinking of you in the weeks to come.
    Good luck.

  16. Dear Ann,
    It is certainly not a weakness to be unable to control uncontrollable situations. I know you weren’t saying that specifically – but I could feel it.
    I’m so sorry for your stress – I’ve been down that job elimination road more times than I’d like to imagine. I’ve side-stepped the annual downsizings for eight years running. My husband lost his job last year after being a faithful employee and top performer for 24 years. It’s never personal in business, but it feels personal when it’s who you’ve been and part of why you’re confident and successful. I have no advice because I’m not in your shoes (the hot ones, remember?) – but, I can say that you need to continue to take care of and nurture yourself. That means practicing self-compassion. We all know you are fabulous – I hope you know it, too! xo

    • Hmm. How’d you figure that one out? Yes…that’s exactly what it is. Things I cannot control.

      Sorry to hear about your husband…that’s a terrible thing after so long. You are right that it’s not personal, but it doesn’t make it all that much better. I’m staying positive about my job but also don’t want to be naive.

      And thank you for those kind words. They mean a lot. xo

  17. I’m so sorry that you’re going through so much stress right now, Ann. Something that stood out to me in your article was the amount of “Supposed to’s” that you had in one of the final paragraphs. I noticed this because I’m also guilty of give myself those kind of criticisms. It’s something I’ve been really trying to work on. A question that I ask myself when those statements come to my mind is: Who says I’m supposed to be that way? I’m supposed to be this way according to what standard? For me I discover that those supposed to’s come from an outside source rather than me setting my own standards for myself. “I’m supposed to be this way because popular social opinion says so.” That’s my big weakness. Supposed to’s are a really dangerous thing, especially in things like “I’m supposed to be independent and invulnerable.” That’s a big one for me as well. But who says that? What kind of unfair being requires the impossible from us? I think the point of going through trials of life is to learn and grow and come closer to God, and I don’t believe that’s possible without weaknesses. So whether or not it’s some outside stereotype telling us to be a certain way or whether we’re telling it to ourselves, It think it’s better to look at who God wants us to be (I don’t know if you’re religious, but I hope you don’t mind if I am for a bit here) and know that He loves us no matter what. He understands that we are imperfect, and knows that change requires time and work, and He is there to give us strength and encouragement when we ask Him for it, and He is patiently waiting for us to do so.

    You’re doing great, Ann. Sorry that was such a long monologue, but I hope it helped in some way. I’d love to keep talking with you about this if you’re interested. Don’t give up! 🙂

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