Journal

Stressors, Sighs, and Standstills

Today in Mommyland…

Still in the pre-moving/packing mode, and managed yesterday to pack up most of my sewing/knitting/crocheting supplies. It’s been wearying, for some reason, the past few days. Some is probably the rapidly shifting temperatures and clouds, but some I think is because we’re hitting the front-end of  what we can get away with packing ahead of moving day, and the amount of work we have yet to do is overwhelming. That, and Andy’s stressed with exams and his new job coming up, wanting to do well, feeling a lot of pressure not to let anybody down, and his stress may be rubbing off on me. Back during residency, I had to get really good at turning off my empathy for his suffering (not lack of sympathy, but actually feeling myself the stress he was under) because if I hadn’t, neither if us would have been functional people. In the past two years, as residency lightened up, I’ve been able to phase back–unconsciously–into letting myself feel his stressors again. It’s been fine until this past week or so, but as the stay-at-home orders persist (as needed) and his usual methods of de-stressing have been stymied (hiking/biking local trails, all of which are currently closed or choked with less-distancing hikers), his stress level has been escalating, and subsequently so has mine.

Years ago I discovered that I have a tendency when really stressed to silently hyperventilate. It’s not the huffing most people think of; most of the time I don’t even know I’m doing it until I find myself 1) tight-chested, and 2) sighing a lot. (You can tell if you’ve been silently hyperventilating if you hold your breath–usually, when I’m doing it, I can hold my breath for up to a minute and a half, and even then not feel like I’m starving for air. Holding your breath is actually how you loosen up your chest, too: it basically does the same thing as breathing into a paper bag by letting your lungs build up a healthy level of CO2 again, which hyperventilating has flushed from your lungs (#laymenexplains). So I’ve noticed myself doing that more lately, which means it’s time to start anxiety mitigation. How, exactly, I’m going to do that with the boys (all of them) underfoot, I haven’t yet figured out, but moving up to my folks’ place will be a start, if only to have more outdoor space to get out into, and more adults around to spread the kiddos’ understandable attention needs (and my own need, as an introvert, to get a little much needed privacy and quiet now and then).

Today in Writerland…

Didn’t get anything written today. Goldbug only napped long enough for me to get my lunch together and to eat half of it. Yesterday I got twenty minutes or so, but spent most of it putzing around with the last few paragraphs to get it moving again, and then Goldbug woke up. Ah well, that’s how it goes sometimes. I wasn’t really planning on getting anything done this week, leading up to the move, but a little added word count might have been nice…

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