Reacting to Stress…

I often work very hard (and most of the time I am successful) at containing the emotions that are raw, close to my heart or leave me feeling vulnerable. I mean, let’s be honest, I convey emotions all over the place.. I ooze excitement, happiness consumes my face when I’m laughing, my voice and body language hit like a ton of bricks when I am upset or angry… But, when I am overwhelmed with feelings, I contain those at all costs. However, there are times when no amount of containment efforts do anything but add to the explosion when my emotions catapult me off the cliff of control.

My emotional reaction to stress differs depending on the situation, but also is different based on the compounding emotions added to the stress. I am in one of those periods in my life that no amount of containment efforts do much for very long in hiding or containing the stress and emotions. I mean, at this point, I can talk about the emotions I am feeling, but it is conveyed with a smile, a nervous laugh, and I refer to them as though I am actually talking about someone else…

I am fully aware, and very intentionally telling people how I feel without actually letting them witness the emotions. At this point I do not know how else to cope with all of the people and questions coming my way. I want to be completely and totally honest, but I also have to prevent myself from falling apart… Now is not the time to be emotional, things have to get done and be accomplished.

Yet, despite all of my best efforts, sometimes there just is nothing I can do to keep the stress and emotions under wraps.

Sunday evening I had a meltdown… and, when I say meltdown, I am not talking about some cute little cry session that makes you feel better when you are done… I am referencing total and complete overload type of shutdown. I was working on homework and legitimately not understand what I was doing, I had spent three hours trying to do my homework and had literally gotten nowhere.. Not one thing had been accomplished other than Googling terms, formulas, and examples. I had a little over four hours until the homework was due, and I had nothing done. On an average night when I understand my homework for this class (Managerial Finance) it takes me three to four hours… When I do not understand, it can take up to seven or eight hours.

After a few random outbursts at my computer for hating it, my mom suggested I ask my dad for help. So, because I had no other option and was already on the downward spiral of freaking out, I asked my dad to help…

Pause real quick… My dad is an amazing man, he is my hero, and I love that we are a lot alike, we are very close, and we communicate the same way… Most times our similarity is beneficial, but in the instances where I do not understand and are teetering on the edge of meltdown, our communication deteriorates quickly.

We started out strong, he was figuring out my homework, and walking me through what I needed to do… then I began to not understand why things were getting done the way they were.. I loathe not understanding things that I try to grasp. Seriously, I hate it when I do not and feel as though I cannot comprehend something. So, I began asking questions about why it was being done this way and not that way… He explained.. I asked again in a different way, he explained again in a different way, and something inside of me just snapped. I could not handle the fact that he was explaining and I literally could NOT grasp what he was saying. So I asked a different way, and he explained in another way, and we both began raising our voices.. (in our family raising your voice really does not have any direct correlation to being angry, we raise our voices for every emotion in the book basically.) We began repeating the asking questions, explaining, and raising our voices.. and me continuing not to understand for about an hour.

I literally felt like I had been pushed off a cliff and had no way of reeling back to control the emotions that literally exploded out of me.

I began to cry.. and I am not a cute crier, I ugly cry. So I cried, and talked with a breaking voice, then tried yelling with a breaking voice.. all the while knowing that I was not going to help him understand what I was not understanding, but all I felt like I could control was the off chance that I might be able to say SOMETHING to help me understand, thus validating my emotions and my out of control feeling that had taken over.

I mean after all, if I could not keep my schooling together, I knew it was a slippery slope to other things I cannot control. And, I am not a fan of things I cannot control inside of myself.. in general I, like most other people, dislike feeling out of control, but to be honest, my intense desire for control comes down to wanting to be in control of myself, not necessarily my circumstances (although I do like that as well).

So, Sunday night I cried. Partially because of the frustration of my homework, but also because I felt as though with everything going on, my homework SHOULD be the one thing I can control; that would be a false feeling and ideal.

To finish the story, after we finished yelling and me melting down, I took a break to get some dinner, then he helped me with the remainder of homework that he could, and the remainder of my homework I threw some numbers and formulas together that might have possibly been what was needed for the rest of my homework and called it good at 1:30am… after starting around 6:30.

The thing I am realizing is that no matter how excited I am about what is coming, every other emotion is trailing like little ducklings. I know I am following my God, and I know that this job is going to be my sweet spot.. I know without any doubts that challenges and all, I am going to relish what God has me doing. But, I am fairly certain I have a meltdown or two coming in the next month or so, but I am hoping it occurs when I am alone or at the very least around someone who can handle it and does not take it personally.

God never said it would be easy to follow Him… But, man what a ride it will be!

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