I had this friend that I had known for a years. She was one of my best friends, we told each other everything. She knew everything about me and I knew everything about her; or so I thought.
She had a story for everything, some were ordinary but some were completely outrageous. They ranged from eating strange objects as a child, having ghosts in her house that had to be exercised, knowing someone who was a drug addict on skid row and everything in between. I would tell my mom these stories excitedly because they seemed so crazy and interesting and after a while my mom started to doubt their authenticity. How could one, ordinary, middle class girl, have had so many things happen to her and her family? But she was my friend and I believed her; every word. To me it didn’t make sense that she would be lying. What was she gaining? I was already her friend, I had known her for years, why would she keep lying?
She was a really spontaneous person. I never knew what I would be coming home to (oh, did I mention we were roommates too?). A couple times it was a new pet, sometimes a new piercing or tattoo, maybe a new craze diet. Whatever it was, she would get it in her head and be obsessed with it. She would decide that facebook was evil and delete her account (for about a week then reactivated it), she would be really into yoga one week then it would be the gym everyday instead. Whatever it was she would go all out for a few days then it would calm down. Looking back I wonder if maybe she had something going on like OCD or some other kind of obsessive disorder.
One day she decided that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. Moved out when I wasn’t home and left the key under the door.
I often look back on her stories and wonder how much was true. When a couple stories started to unravel it made me question everything. That’s the trouble with lies, they aren’t just stories you tell, it is a trust that you are breaking. When someone discovers a lie it makes them question everything else that they are told. The person becomes a ‘liar’ in their eyes and it is hard to come back from that.
It is sad to think of our friendship because, like I said, now I don’t know how much was true. How much did I actually know about her? Currently I don’t even know where she is living, my attempts to stay in contact after she moved out where rebuffed. I guess I’ll never know what was real and what were lies.
Stress is a funny thing. If you look it up it apparently leads to everything from the common cold to the big C. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it and some could say it could almost be beneficial. Having the stress of a deadline makes some people focus and work harder. Some people deal with their stress by running or going to the gym. Other people clean, because if they can’t clean their mind at least they can clean their surroundings. Then there are people like me. When I get overwhelmed I sleep. It really is not productive and probably makes my stress worse because then I just end up having less time to do whatever it is that needs to get done. I wish I was one of those workout people. Can you imagine how great that would be? Every time you feel stressed you go to the gym? I would be a body builder within a month at the rate that my mind worries about things. You still don’t get done what you need to do but at least you will have abs to show for it.
I have come up with a term for my coping technique; I call it ostriching. Like the ostrich, when faced with some sort of threat I hide from the world and avoid the situation. (Okay, so ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand, it is a myth, but I still think that it illustrates my point quite well). Some days I just feel overwhelmed, like the whole world is on my shoulders, and on days like that I can’t function. I can literally lay in bed and stare at the wall or ceiling for hours. When I try and be productive I just can’t. Then, because I know I am being extremely useless, I feel worse, so I try and be productive but can’t and so on and so forth. It is really a vicious circle. I could be completely fine and back to my happy, bubbly self the next day but that previous day is a write off.
I find naps can really help, for a few different reasons. It gives me a bit of an escape from my reality. If I can manage to sleep my brain will focus on dreams and not on everything I need to do, remember, accomplish etc. It gives me a break from my mind battling about whether it makes sense to take a break or not. It is a little like the angel and devil on your shoulder idea. One part of me says ‘take a break, it’s good for you when you are stressed, you deserve it’ then the other part says ‘why do you deserve it? What have you accomplished today?’. Sleeping is an escape from that. Another great reason is that right before I fall asleep I get really creative. I come up with ideas for projects, solutions to problems and everything in between. Some times just laying there thinking helps me break down what I need to do in steps and allows me to visualize the task/s at hand.
Moral of the story: If you are not productive when dealing with stress, that’s okay. You aren’t alone. It is about balancing, like everything in life. Sleeping all day, everyday is not healthy but neither is going until you break down. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break, regroup and maybe take a nap. It could make all the difference!