(I've got to get my dad to call his old Apple buddies on this one. I think it'd be an instant success.)
Anyhow, it's been a super busy couple days between work and helping my boyfriend finish his grad school application essays. Want a nice mental image? I have chunks of mice livers piling up at work. Nice, huh? Luckily my boyfriend's a great writer so that's not quite so bad, even if I do believe he's having a secret love affair with dashes behind my back. (Me: Why would you steal my boyfriend like this?! -: ???) ...Yes, that is a hypothetical conversations I could have with punctuation. My point though is that things have been a little stressful. And not just this week. This grad school thing is getting to me. And it's not even my own applications!
I don't handle stress well. I know some people thrive under it but not me. I'm the girl who used to, at finals time in college, wander around campus at 3am on the phone with my best friend, in tears because I was convinced I was going to fail all my classes. My parents were thrilled when I studied abroad and was on the semester system instead of quarters because I only had two near mental breakdowns that year instead of three. There's a reason I'll never go back to school.
But part of my problem is that even when I don't have stress around me it seems like I invent it for myself. This post could just as easily been called iWorry. Because I do. I worry about things I have no control over, such as my boyfriend getting accepted to grad school, what if our house gets burglarized, what people (including random strangers) think of me. I worry about things so far in the future (like what if I can't get pregnant when I want to) and in the past (like what if I had gotten into college closer to home and hadn't been so far away and so miserable, would I still have developed an eating disorder). I worry about flagging friendships and family members growing older. I even worry about the silliest smallest things, like what I'm going to do when the polish from my pedicure starts to chip. Um, seriously?
I envy my boyfriend so much in this regard. He doesn't stress. He just doesn't. We were in an awful car accident a couple years ago. The police were talking to him afterwards, next to the totalled car, and one of them even said, "Wow, you're so calm. Most people are freaking out right now." (I was sitting in the dirt having an asthma attack from the stress, if that tells you anything.) When I explain to him what I'm worried about he always asks me, "Can you doing anything about this?" The answer is always no because being the perfectionist I am, if I could do it I have! So then he shrugs and says, "Then don't worry about it. It's out of your hands." And that's just how his brain works. I can't even imagine what that's like.
The disordered eating thoughts and behaviors really serve to calm some of the stress I feel most the time. It's hard for me to stress when I see days "perfect" eats mentally laid out before me. And it's hard to have room to worry about bigger things if I'm so worried about calorie intake and if my jeans feel slightly tighter or loser than yesterday. A therapist once told me that eating disorders always serve a purpose. This is something that stuck with me from treatment. For me it's really not hard to recognize part of the reason why I still fiercely cling to some of these issues. If I didn't have the disordered eating I think I might literally explode from the stress I couldn't distract myself from. I know the coping techniques and what I should do when I feel stress but try coming up with those, not to mention putting it into practice, when your brain is going a mile a minute with worry. So I'm curious. What do other people do with stress?