the wall - part 1: "hey, it's coming at my face awfully fast".

I grew up in a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" household. My parents didn't ask if I was unhappy, and I didn't tell them when I was unhappy. My mother's mantra was "Ladies are always happy and never complain." Oh, yeah. I would literally get shit for frowning. Good grief, I wish I was kidding. "Look at your face," she'd say disdainfully in Tagalog. "No one can draw that face!" What does that even mean?!!!

As a result, I've adopt an almost unshakable habit of finding ways to hide any kind of negative feelings to focus on the positive almost fanatically. Take the name of this blog: Life Candy -- AKA happiness, joy, sweetness, "Life is freakin' awesome ALL. THE. FREAKIN'. TIME." Even when I complain about stuff here, I try to put a humourous spin to it. Let's laugh at it, and it'll go away. And of course I buy into my own spin.

For most of life's little annoyances, this works. It keeps me from sweatin' the Small Stuff and getting all bitchcakes on my husband when he, for the bazillionth time, puts his garbage right beside the trash can instead of in it.

Unfortunately, I deal with (or don't deal with, as the case may be) the Big Stuff the exact same way. Big Stuff, Small Stuff, it all stays in. Foolish, I know, but that's my modus operandi, mainly because, after all these years of keeping the bad feelings inside, I suck at expressing it.

And the bad is getting worse and worse. I doubt even Roomie knows the extent of how deeply the bad goes. It's not his fault; he's a great listener -- I'm just a terrible talker. Besides, complaining to him about problems I alone can solve is pointless. Right?

Now, this "put on a happy face" mentality is taking its toll. The warning signs have been there all along, but I needed someone to point them out to me for me to realize what they were...
  • extra weight (due to all the emotional eating of sweets, salty, and carbs).
  • anxiety, panic attacks, and mild depression.
  • chronic fatigue.
  • insomnia.
  • changes in "feminine routines".
  • and more crap that I'd rather not go into right now.
Apparently, it's a stress thing. How do I spin this so we can laugh and it can go away? Hmm... Oh, I can't? Crap.

17 comments:

  1. It blows my mind how seriously mental stress can affect your physicality. I'm normally a happy, light-hearted person but he past few months have added a weight to my life that I can't shake with silver linings. I'm more tired, have less energy, gained weigh, my skin and hair look worse.

    I know my circumstances will change soon and I should be able to reclaim some of my life, but in the meantime, I'm with ya sister.

    At some point though, we can't let our stress rule us. We're too strong. We need to take care of ourselves.

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  2. You need to learn how to vent your feelings. Failure to do this can result in volcanic eruptions!

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  3. Wait a second, I saw this episode. Don't get on the airplane!

    Here's the summary:

    Marge does not want to talk to anybody about her feelings, and Lisa worries that Marge's decision to keep her feelings bottled up will cause them to "come out in other ways". When Marge begins to show signs of her lingering flight-related trauma by cooking giant feasts and shingling the roof in the middle of the night, Lisa convinces Marge to undergo treatment with therapist Dr. Zweig.

    Zweig uncovers the roots of Marge's fear, including the moment she realized her father was an apron-wearing flight attendant, a job that was mostly reserved for women during that time, and not a pilot. Marge's shame is eased when Zweig assures her that male flight attendants are now very common and that her father could be considered a pioneer. Marge also brings up memories of her grandmother poking her in the eye as a baby while playing airplane, a toy plane catching fire, and having a plane fire at her, but the therapist just ignores this. Marge is cured of her fears, but when she and Homer attempt to fly on a plane again, the plane crashes into a lake.

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  4. It's hard sometimes to admit stress is keeping us down but then we have to DO something about it. I hope you find out what you are going to DO next?
    Weight eh? hmmmmm

    word verification Toxill? hmmmm

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  5. I hear you. I'm Queen of hiding the bad stuff, not talking about it, especially not on my happy blog. I have things that I'm going through that I know talking about with others would be great, but I can't. It sucks. I put on a happy face and keep going.

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  6. Dude. Lets take yoga.

    For serious.

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  7. It took a long time for me to realize that in order to really enjoy the positive parts of life, I had to talk about the negative parts, too.

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  8. I hope you find a healthy outlet for the stress, my dear friend.
    Sending you peaceful, serene thoughts.

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  9. hehe, i get this way too. i too have to live the life of being "happy" all the time... not to show the REAL feelings...but yah. all you can do is blog it out....i have a blog too..but it's private, and i SOOOO let it out.

    the only way to get rid of it really is to deal with it outside your head... ahha.. or, move away! hahah. so, if i disappear, maybe it's because i chose the other path instead =)

    but when you really really get bummed out, think of it as this:

    it's better than stepping on a fresh pile of poo with open toe sandals =)

    didn't work? yah, same.

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  10. Sounds like you need to start putting yourself on the list as a priority.

    Perhaps a weekend away from everything(GOW)? Or at the very least a day of pampering, healthy sushi, and some good girlfriends ears.

    Sign me up I'm always here to help a friend.

    P.s. if you and Harmzie do yoga I'd be interested (as long as it isn't with babies this time).

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  11. "Besides, complaining to him about problems I alone can solve is pointless. Right?"
    Not always. Sometimes you just need to complain. He'd probably have some great advice to boot.

    But if you need a girl's ear, I'm always here for you.

    ps. I'd be up for yoga too.

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  12. Wow I thought I was the only one brought up to show all smiles and sunshine!!! My mom's mantra was "don't be angry at your sister/brother who just broke your toy or spit on you - you should LOVE them!!!"" gag gag. Combine that with being Catholic and presto - plugged up anger/guilt/stress you name it I've got it!!!!! haha

    I think it's a tremendous step to voice what you and probably the majority of us who read this go through - and through the humour and conversation this in itself is therapy...

    Let me know when the yoga class begins :)

    Ps. through your title you've implied there's a Part 2 - I hope it's the stress cure!!!!! LOL

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  13. Malheureusement, tu as un bunch of whiners qui lisent ton blog! Imagine the giant floating head of Frank Costanza appearing and yelling at everyone - I've got a lot of issues with you people!

    Keeping in mind that sometimes it's a good idea to get help and not all problems can be solved on your own, here's a story that's kept me motivated through some difficult times. It's probably fiction, but maybe it can provide some inspiration to some of your whiner friends in times of trouble.

    ------------------------------------------------------>

    Oops, have to post separately, won't fit in one comment!

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  14. Non-joke: Attitude is everything

    You have 2 choices:

    1. Love your job or
    2. Be in misery till you retire

    Read this, and let it really sink in...Then choose how you start Your day tomorrow...

    Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him How he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

    He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

    Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all Of the time. How do you do it?

    Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

    Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

    Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

    "Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

    "Yes, it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

    I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

    Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him.

    Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd Be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

    I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door, " Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

    "Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

    "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything.'Yes' I replied.

    ...continued..

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  15. ...continued...

    Sister Mary replied "Fifty bucks, same as in town!"

    (oops, wrong story)

    The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

    Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

    Attitude, after all, is everything.

    You have two choices. Now:
    1. Delete this
    2. Forward it to the people you care about.

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  16. Hey you ((hugs)) good for you for posting this. It's not easy to let it all hang out like that and be vulnerable. It's hard to break those patterns instilled by our parents, but you are doing the first step:)
    Scream it out if you need to, sometimes that helps me :)
    Sending you much love!
    I'm not far away if you ever need to come vent!

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  17. Nen - how did I miss this post? OMG. You and I need a weekend involving Grease 2 on constant repeat, a never ending supply of oven roasted broccoli, a pinch or 2 of wine, and LISTS. I hate like Hell that you are going through a rough patch but I hear you. We all go through it. And sometimes putting it out there for the internetwebosphere to give you virtual hugs is what you need to do. So sending you virtual hugs. And looking into plane tix to Winnipeg. Stat. xoxoxoxoxoxo

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