Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Stress Factor

I realize how self-indulgent this blog has become. Ah well, that's what online journaling is all about. Sharing your insane ramblings with a bunch of strangers (and a few friends).

So, more indulgence... I realized late last night that I'm in the 'dead calm zone.' Not good.

See, I have several stages of stress.

Stage I: 'Bitchy zone.' When I have too much to do, the kids have gotten on my last nerve, work is overwhelming, etc. Ye old normal stress response.

Stage II: 'Manic zone' - usually brought on by righteous indignation, financial stress or a big annual meeting. Working a trillion hours to ensure ends are met, results are delivered and causes are underway.

Stage III: 'Dead calm zone' - uh oh, she's about to blow. This happens when stress is so overwhelming that my brain drops to neutral and refuses to budget out of there. The first time I witnessed a terrible accident (stop sign through a person), I discovered this response. I get busy with survival and focus on only that. Later, once the trauma has passed, I come down to a blubbering pile of nerves. This has happened more frequently through the years. Accidents, Sadie's survival struggle, and now, even finances are putting me there.

And sometimes after Stage III, if it's for an extended period, there's post traumatic stress-type crash. Bad news, gonna be tears kind of crash. Dread to get out of bed kind of crash. I've only been there a few times, and it's ugly. I'm terrified of going back, and do everything in my power to avoid getting there.

This week alone I've had major changes. Our lead teacher from Three Oaks last year is moving on - this was to be her last week. I had tons to do to ensure an easy transition to our new instructor who starts on the 15th. Old teacher got sick, and I've been having to run space camp (without curriculum as she forgot to leave it behind), lead the classroom and try to take care of the administrative stuff, as well as my "normal" job of association management. My clients are both struggling like never before. The only other Montessori school in Hanover closed, so parents are calling left and right to find out about our program. I have a board meeting today. I had class from 9-1. Next week I'm teaching on my own again. We have new students coming in. Jason lost his job again. Sadie is going through this God awful stage that makes me want to scream every other minute. My favorite-ever employee moved away last week, meaning one fewer person in the office.

Yesterday my brain was everywhere and I worked about an 18 hour day. Today it's not going anywhere I've put in 6 hours, and have at least 1o more I need to get in. I'm at wits end, thus the mid-day blog, when I should be preparing for a board meeting. I can't find time to get out with friends because of all the work obligations - and that, or the water and running, seem to be the only remedies for this level of stress.

I know, I know, this will pass. But enough already. I'm sick of the constant change. I know that's what life is all about and I can handle a little change, but there has been one major catastrophe or another for three years straight. Two bouts of unemployment, Jason's near death experience, Sadie's near death experience, biopsy for Katie, drug withdrawals with Sadie, family drama with extended members to include blindness, loss of mental function, heart attacks and death, addition of a new business a month prior to an economic collapse... it just keeps raining. I know others have it worse, and I know I should suck it up and not complain. There have been good things too. But really, how much can a girl take. Really!??!

I know more than anything I need a break. I haven't had any work-free weeks since Sadie was born, and I'm long overdue. My last vacation without work was in December 2005. Two days after I had Sadie I was standing outside the PICU on a conference call. Last year we went to Japan for my business, and I spent a huge chunk of the time in meetings or fighting with the contractor back home. I think two days were work free (thank you, Mt. Koya, for your beautiful retreat). Overdue, but there's no end in sight, so I've got to keep plugging until I can get to a point where I can replenish.

(deep breath)

OK, better. Therapeutic writing and a mid-day glass of wine helps a ton.

Who's up for some Xanax?


  1. Kristin2:18 PM

    Me!! Share with ME!! I'm going to show up on your doorstep with coffee or a bottle of wine one of these nights

  2. Kim, I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this. If there's anything I can do, please let me know. I wish there was more that I could do to ease your stress, but know that I'm thinking about you and that I'm here if you need me.


  3. Christy Davis9:46 PM

    Just wanted you to know....I am thinking about you. Call me anytime you want to talk.