Monday, February 7, 2011

Coping with Stress

Something that is at least a little bit frustrating is that of all the bloggers I read about in my memoirs and how they started blogging and suddenly they had followers and people who would read their every post, I don’t seem to have anyone at all who follows my blogs.  Sure, I don’t write every day, but I had issues with that approach and had to adjust my writing habits.  I understand that there are thousands of bloggers out there with far more important things to say than me, but one or two people that would read my blog and post comments would be awesome to me.  It would say that I am writing for an audience, which would be a huge success for me.  And, while that’s not the primary reason I’m writing, it would still give me a little thrill to know that others enjoy reading what I write.

I know that I have only been cultivating this blog for not even a month yet, but I still would have hoped that at least one person would have stumbled upon it and liked it and maybe told a friend about it.  Guess I'm not that lucky, though.  Maybe someone will someday stumble upon it.  Maybe not.   It’s not going to stop me from writing this blog and it’s not going to discourage me in the slightest either.  Why?  Because I’m not doing this for anyone else; I’m doing this for me.  And that’s the only thing I need to remember because it’s the most important thing, really.

I love to write.  It’s one of very few things in life that gives me true pleasure and a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.  When I write, I don’t need any validation from anyone else.  It is a conversation with myself.  When I just allow myself to flow with my writing, I can even learn new things about myself that I did not realize.  Writing is something that allows me to express myself without prejudice.  If someone does read my blog and thinks snide or mean things, even if they post them, I can just delete them.  But I wouldn’t.  I would want people’s honest opinions.  Also, their honest opinions would give me a topic to write about and would therefore end up being positive even though they had intended them negatively. 

I have quite the habit of always seeing the silver lining in a situation.  I always find the humor in the most stressful situations and make light of it to relieve some of the stress from it.  It’s the only way I can deal with extreme stress, really.  That and my habit of obsessively thinking about it until a solution presents itself. 

The superbowl party went quite well.  Doug picked me up…a little late because he somehow went in the wrong direction and got totally turned around and was like 30 minutes late picking me up…haha.  He didn’t have a problem stopping at the parts store so that I could return the wheel hub that I had bought.  He made a spinach-artichoke dip, vegetarian pigs-in-a-blanket, and potato wedges.  I made a creamy guacamole dip.  Everything was delicious.  The game itself was kind of a little disappointing.  I was expecting a neck and neck game, but the Steelers couldn’t get their shit together for the first half of the game and the Packers scored 3 times while the Steelers only scored a field goal.  The Steelers seemed to have found their game in the second half, but it was too late and the Packers won the game. 

The commercials were, of course, pretty cool.  It’s the only time I like to watch commercials.  My favorite commercial out of the whole bunch was the one for the Volkswagen Beetle.  It was so cute.  It had a beetle with racing stripes on it zipping around the forest floor passing other bugs and cutting off ants and making jumps in slow motion. 

I’ve been trying to win over Doug’s cat, Crissy, for the last couple times I’ve come over to his apartment, but she always runs into the bedroom and hides and then won’t come back out so long as I’m there.  Well, not only did she come out and stay out while I was there last night, but she let me pet her and even played with me.  At one point, I even picked her up, but because she doesn’t really like that she grabbed at my shoes to try to stay on the ground and ended up picking one of them up.

After the superbowl, Doug drove me home, but he was kind enough to stop at the store so I could get some much needed groceries.  Unfortunately, we stopped at Randall’s and they didn’t have the type of tuna I normally get, nor did they have Weight Watchers yogurt.  Seriously?  How does a store NOT have Weight Watchers yogurt?  So I got Activia instead.   Bought me a cute little rubber ducky and a rubber froggy too. 

So the down payment for all the work that needs to be done on the truck could be anywhere from 30-50%.  I’m obviously hoping more for the 30% figure.  I wish they had a set percentage value that they base the down payments on.  It’s just one more thing to make me nervous, you know?  All I can really do is cross my fingers and hope for the best, you know?  I don’t want to be trying to make large payments to the payday loan place and making payments to AAMCO for the repairs at the same time.  I’d much rather have reasonable payments to each that I can afford and that won’t stretch me too thin.  Jose is going to call me back later in the day and let me know just how much it will be.

I’m just a little stressed that this whole fiasco is going to delay my moving to Oregon next year.  It needs to be done, of course, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  Frankly, if I don’t have them do the work on my truck now, it won’t get done until it breaks down later down the road and then it will cost even more because it will probably end up affecting more than the parts that currently need replacing.  And besides, I really would much rather just get it taken care of now and be done with it.

As soon as I get the truck back, I need to go and get it inspected and get the registration taken care of so that my apartment complex won’t tow my truck, which is something I definitely can’t afford, especially with all these repairs that I have to pay for.

I went ahead and printed out the FMLA paperwork that the doctor will need to fill out for me once a surgery date is selected, which I’m hoping they will select it tomorrow so he can go ahead and fill that paperwork out tomorrow.  I want to get that turned in as soon as possible.  I have to show fairly concrete proof that there is an actual end in sight if I hope for my employer to approve another stint of restrictive duty and that they won’t be inclined to recommend a demotion for me.  I’m asking everyone to have their fingers crossed for me that the most favorable outcome will occur and that they will indeed approve one last stint of restrictive duty for me.  I’m really anxious about this.  I really hope that I walk away from tomorrow’s appointment with the date set for my surgery.  If I do, that will do a lot to alleviate my anxiety over the whole issue. 

Speaking of this appointment tomorrow, I’m going to have to go through a whole process in order to just get there.  My appointment is at noon, but I have to leave the house at like 9am.  Why?  Because I have to ride the bus.  No, it’s not a 3 hour bus ride, but the nearest bus stop is 5 miles away from my apartment and that walk alone is going to take me close to 2 hours and then the bus ride itself will take almost 45 minutes and then I have to walk another almost half mile from the bus stop to the doctor’s office.  Thankfully, Denise has promised to pick me up on her way home from her acupuncture appointment so I don’t have to ride the bus back home. 

Other bus adventures I will have to tackle soon include Valentine’s Day.  That is the day that I hope to be able to pay AAMCO and retrieve my truck from them.  But, first, I will have to make a bicycle trip (that I am NOT looking forward to as I’m sure it is going to cause me some deal of pain in my back) into Round Rock to secure the payday loan to make the down payment for the truck repairs.  I also have a 3:30 appointment not too far away from AAMCO that I need to make my way to.  It is my plan to get the payday loan taken care of first thing in the morning and then, as soon I get home from that, I want to start my 5 mile walk to the bus stop to make my way to AAMCO first and then to my appointment. 

To make my bicycle easier for me to ride with my back the way it is, I’m going to remove the saddle bags from it.  I have a little drawstring backpack that I can put everything I need into so I won’t have need of the saddle bags to carry anything.  That will probably decrease the weight of the bicycle by at least 20 pounds which should make it more manageable for me to get it down and back up the stairs.

There have been numerous times where my stress level due to what is going on in my life has been so high that I wished I hadn’t quit smoking a little over a year ago.  The smoking would calm my nerves and lessen my anxiety.  I think that’s actually why my anxiety was able to get so high this past year involving Jon-Pierre.  My usual method of calming myself down was gone and I hadn’t replaced it with anything else, so I had no viable way to cope with stress.  But, more often that not, I am completely glad I quit smoking and that I really have no desire to start back up.  It’s mainly just me wishing for a coping mechanism for stress and smoking is the easiest one.

Running would be a great coping mechanism for stress if I was able to do that.  I would absolutely love to be able to run.  However, I cannot.  First off, I always end up breathing wrong.  No matter how much I try to breathe in and out properly and the way I’ve been told to, I always end up breathing very shallow and end up hyperventilating, which wears me out rather quickly.  Second, I had some very bad stress fractures in both of my shins from training in the military.  I ran on old running shoes that needed to be replaced before I ever arrived in boot camp, but I wasn’t a runner so I knew nothing about proper footwear.  Every time I have tried to run since then, I have pain in the areas of the stress fractures.  Maybe it’s all psychological...both things, that is.  Maybe I just imagine that I have pain there from the stress fractures and maybe I just need to get over the fear that my shins will refracture.  Maybe my breathing problem is also psychological and it is actually a panic attack over my fear that I will refracture my stress fractures.  I really think that I just need to get over it.  I think that once I’m all healed from the implant surgery that I need to try running again.  I think that so long as I approach it with the mindset that every problem I’m having with running is purely psychological, that I will be pleasantly surprised.  Maybe I can even work my way up to running a 5K…wouldn’t that be amazing!?!  I certainly think so.

From what everyone says about running, it is amazing.  It has been so long since I ran on a regular basis.  About 14 years.  So I don’t remember from personal experience how running feels and how it makes you feel.  I have an experience from a little over a year ago when I attempted to jog a little bit and I was able to go about 200-300 feet before the hyperventilation occurred and forced me to stop and walk.  From that little bit of jogging, I got a runner’s high.  It was an amazing thing to feel.  I felt so happy and elated.  I felt like I had no problems.  I felt like all the stress that had been on my shoulders had been washed away and there were only feathers in its place.  There was no heaviness left to me.  I floated.  I’m hoping that I can discount my running anxieties and become a runner.  I would love nothing more than to be able to run 3 times a week.  That would be absolutely amazing to me.  To run and breathe in fresh air.  Oh, it gives me a little high just thinking about it!

It shouldn’t be too hard for me to overcome my running anxieties; at least I don’t think so.  I just need to put my mind to it and stick with it.  I’ll get myself nice, new running shoes.  I’ll start off easy with only jogging a short distance from point A to point B.  Each week, I can gradually increase that distance.  I will only be jogging at first.  I want to be able to jog the whole distance I walk with the dog right now (which is about 3 miles) before I start upping the pace to running.  I am excited just thinking about this prospect ahead of me.  I am really excited now about getting the implant surgery, more so than I already was.  I am really excited at the possibility of starting a running routine.

If I am able to do this and it works out for me, then I wouldn’t have to do any cardio on the elliptical machine, I could just focus on lifting weights to tone up.  And just imagine how great and sleek my body would look with all the runner’s muscles!  I just want to squeal with excitement thinking about how great my body is going to look and feel.  And the impact that it will have on the rest of my well-being?  Wow.  That’s all I can say when I think of what will happen.

I really want to do this.  I want to take the necessary steps to increase my physical activity and to increase my general well-being.  I want to be healthy all around and I think that starting a running regimen is one key to doing that.  I want to be as active in my life as I can.  I want to run, I want to bicycle, I want to kayak, I want to lift weights.  I want to be well rounded in my activities.

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