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Posts Tagged ‘mental-health’

Every once in a while a strange thing happens, you have an odd idea. Here is mine…. I asked a ghost blogger to do a post for me. I hope it is less stressful than mine.

image from intranet.tdmu.edu.te.ua

“One thought I think every person eventually thinks is, “Holy shit, I’m going to die!” Sorry, I just turned thirty yesterday, so my mortality is on my mind.
”
Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title

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Stress comes to each of us every day and in many forms, sometimes we hardly know it is present and at others it is right “in your face”. Here is a story of the humorous as well as the possibly tragic possibilities which surround stress in our lives. It is also how not to prepare for a stress test.

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The Scene is Set

Our story begins with an unfortunate and traumatic divorce which has left one party severely depressed and struggling to cope. As part of an ongoing counseling program, suggested during the separation, he attended stress management sessions on a fortnightly basis. Most of these sessions were fairly mundane, focusing on bringing his stress under control, offering a variety of brochures and lectures, however, one turned out to be very interesting. We’ll call him Joe.

This particular session, the counselor brought out a galvanometer muscle tester, to perform a stress test.  This little gadget clips onto any particular muscle, one small clip at either end of the selected muscle, in this case the forearm was chosen. The testing process. After the clips are attached and the subjects arm is at rest, the counselor would turn the control knob slowly from 1 to a maximum of 10. As soon as the machine begins to emit a steady click, click, click,a needle on a meter would indicate the stress the person is under whilst at rest. After this the subject would then be asked to clench their fist and when the muscle is tensed the machine would register the increase in frequency of the clicks by the needle rising.  This would indicate the stress load on the person tested.The higher the number reached indicates the higher the stress the subject is under at that time.  As luck would  have it, it was a fortuitous day for this test to be scheduled.

The first volunteer held out his hand and had the clips attached. On setting 4 of a possible 10, the machine made a slow buzzing noise until he clenched his fist and the buzzing increased a little, as did the needle.  The counselor asked the subject what he did  for a living to which he responded that he had a very highly stressed job. He was on the complaints counter at the Shire Council and the only people he saw were always angry at him.

Enter Joe.  The clips were attached to his arm. At setting 7 the machine began clicking. On clenching his fist the little machine began to scream and the needle on the dial went off the scale.

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“That’s funny,” she said. “Let me check.” A strange look passed across her face and she began to start the test again.

She attached the clips and turned the knob.  At setting 7 the clicks started.

“Clench your fist” she said.

The little machine screamed in protest!  The needle went off the dial.

“Must be something wrong,” she said.  Let me check that,  Relax.”

The noise instantly stopped, just a click, click, click.  She looked at him, confused.

“Let’s try that again.  Clench your fist?”

Instantly the machine screamed again and the needle went off the dial!

“Tell me what you do for a living,” she said.  “You have a very interesting stress test.”

“Let me tell you about this morning,” he said.  “I have a farm and an earth-moving business, and today I was cleaning bush for an electricity company to put power lines through.  We had a tree with a branch that had to be lopped, 5 metres up. .  It was a huge branch, about 10 metres long and almost a metre through it.  The only way we could see to reach it to cut it down was with me in the bucket of the bulldozer loader with a chainsaw.

David, my assistant, maneuvered the machine into place, I climbed into the bucket with the chainsaw and he raised the bucket to 5 metres, level with the branch.  I put a cut under the branch, half way through, and then started to cut down from the top so the branch would fall clear away from me.  I cut deep down into the branch, but it wouldn’t fall!   Perplexed, I asked Davis to reposition the bulldozer so I could reach it better, and started again, a little more cutting underneath, then down from the top again.  The chainsaw was screaming as I pushed down on it but the branch just hung there!  I looked at David, he shook his head and I kept pushing and cutting.  Suddenly, the branch vanished!  It dropped without warning, no sagging, creaking, it just fell, leaving me pushing down hard on a screaming chainsaw into thin air!

I swayed and grabbed for the side of the bucket with one hand, holding the chainsaw away from me with the other, at the end of my outstretched arm.  The branch had fallen and was bouncing on the ground, finally rolling against the front of the bulldozer.  We looked at each other and I think David saw the shock on my face.  I could see it in his.

Stress level: extreme. It’s like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode.”
Fiona Wood, Six Impossible Things

He backed the machine away and lowered the bucket.  I stepped out and put the chainsaw down.  I looked at my watch.

“Somewhere to go?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.  “I have to go to a stress management session at the hospital, they are doing stress testing today.  Wonder how I’ll go!”

images from sunshinecoastmidwifery.com.au

Stress is good for you …. in moderation. That and an Angel sitting on your shoulder. “The Wisdom of Joe”.

Normal blogging to resume shortly…. perhaps tomorrow.

Ciao, Susan

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image from therecord.com.au

“Duty is heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather”.                      Robert Jordan in The Wheel of Time Series.

“Pride comes before a fall. ” (British & Australian something that you say which means if you are too confident about yourself, something bad will happen to show you that you are not as good as you think you are.

For me it  has always been an old saying and one which holds a great truth. It’s also true that it is a foolish person who tries to hide that they have been an absolute ass. Yet we still try. I still try!

An apology costs little – occasionally a little pride but not too much, and a great deal more to be gained from offering that apology willingly, sacrificing that small amount of pride than allowing an unpleasant situation to continue to fester. I have watched some people go so far out of their way to avoid giving that  apology that in doing so they have made an even bigger fool of themselves.  Such is what being human is all about.

So, from someone who has spent a lifetime observing human nature, take it from me, if you find yourself in a position where, however inadvertently you have caused some offense, swallow your pride and apologise before it becomes big enough to choke you! It clears the air much faster and causes much less grief.

I have a “bad back”, which is an understatement. What it does mean is that I have a lot of pain, a lot of the time. It can’t really be seen so no one else really knows, except those closest to me, such as my husband.  Many inconsequential acts  which are taken for granted cause me varying degrees of difficulty depending on how bad my back is.  There are days when a simple shower is a huge challenge; getting dressed a nightmare, especially pulling anything over my head; and putting on a pair of shoes, even slip on shoes – well, enough said. Simple things you wouldn’t give a second thought to.

image courtesy of michaelsmindandsoul

Even more than this is the truly awful feeling of not being able to sleep well. It ranges from the simple act of trying to find a position which causes you the least amount of discomfort (not no pain!), to sleeping so shallowly each night that each movement you make drags you painfully awake. Instead of being able to look forward to sleep at the end of the day I almost dread it.

Stress causes havoc as we all know, and of late it has decided to see how much it can load me with before I break. Layer upon layer it has been growing until I want to scream in pain, yet I won’t because that would hurt too much. A nice irony, hmm.  So I foolishly try to remain still and silent so that my husband can sleep and not worry quite as much as he does.

More lunacy! Weeks of this rough sleeping and I’m exhausted. I look like a prize-fighter after ten rounds with Mike Tyson, black circles so deep under my eyes no amount of make up can hide them, and my face so grey I’m looking ancient. So I’m angry. Angry at myself and my inability to change things. But at present, and I can hardly be anything but present in this,  I’m furious that I’ve allowed my situation to hurt the one person it never should – my husband.

He is, without a doubt, the reason I try not to complain. He is the reason I try so hard to do the things I know I should not do because underneath all this, I know that I want, more than anything, to make his load a little lighter and not add to his with my ‘petty’ problems.  Yet that is just what I have done.  He has done so darned much over the Christmas New Year period to make things easier for me, whilst also keeping up with his work schedule that he too is really over tired and needs a few early nights to catch up. Yet the idea of an early night – horrifies me.

image from fsphealth.co.za

So what did I do tonight? I pouted! I moaned! I begrudged his ability to fall asleep easily and sleep soundly throughout the night whilst I couldn’t even toss and turn. How many married people or couples out there enjoy being able to cuddle up to their partners during the night?  Just to wrap your arms around each other and sleep?  I know I used to and I miss it! With the pressures of late I have really missed it more than ever.  So, for the past four nights I have carefully crept back into bed after dawn and snuggled into his arms and fallen into a deep and dreamless sleep. YES!  Bliss! Heaven!  At least it has been until he has had to get up and I have woken again. I have paid the penalty for my stupidity in full.  My foolish pride has paid a steep price.

In the blink of an eye as he has gotten out of bed, I have woken to Thor’s hammer pounding my head. My neck, shoulders, back and… well whichever side I slept on, has been a mass of molten pain. It has been so bad I have had to ungraciously agree to wear my neck brace because my head and neck felt as though it was going to part company, painfully.  I have had to yield and accept help to get to the bathroom and then back to bed, where he has arranged the mountain of pillows for me to try to rest on, and a cup of tea which says “I love you” more easily than anything I know.

image from cutcaster.com

Am I grateful? You cannot imagine how grateful I feel and yet I more than simply grumbled at him because he was tired. He carried my load without complaint or asking for anything in return and I bitterly and selfishly grumbled at his need for an early night.  Do I feel ashamed? You bet I do.

Oh yes, I apologised before he fell asleep, but is it enough?  He will say it is, but it isn’t for me. Not by a long way. He doesn’t deserve my lack of gratitude even for a moment. He tells me I would do the same for him if the roles were reversed, and he is right, but that is neither here nor there at present.  I shouldn’t blame myself either but it is hard not to. I feel like an ingrate. An ungrateful wretch and  wonder how I managed to deserve such a wonderful, generous and kind soul whose patience I must sorely test.

I pray for the opportunity to be able to show him how much I truly do care for him, and appreciate all he does for me. I pray he knows how much I love him and wish him the success he has earned with all that he does.  I can barely wait until we can do all the things we’ve planned and talked about. I know it will happen because – as he loves to say…..”that’s the way, uh huh, uh  huh, I like it”.  lol  I simply know that it will be and I am grateful for that knowledge from the Universe.

So, for all of the humans out there, who make the human mistakes I make, rest assured, all will be s it is meant to be in the fullness of time.

Love and a beautiful day to all.  Bless ❤

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