I am not a number; I am a free man! (arxev) wrote in thequestionclub,
I am not a number; I am a free man!
arxev
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STRESS

How do you deal with stress? I don't mean like, momentary, "I have a test tomorrow" stress or something. How do you deal with ongoing pressure?

The situation: I had a really difficult year, and I planned to take the summer off and relax. I spent my first month back trying to find a job, and wound up only being able to get an unpaid internship -- I enjoy it, for the most part, but the job hunt was not fun, and I really wish I was getting paid right now, especially since I'm working about 30 hours a week. Meanwhile, my mother is badly handicapped and I've always had a hard time dealing with her. Usually either my dad or her caretaker is around to be a buffer between us, but my dad's been taking jobs in Canada, leaving me alone with her after the caretaker leaves. He was gone for two weeks this past month and it was horrible for me, and it completely fried my already-deeply-frazzled nerves.

Anyway, he promised up and down he wouldn't be going again, and I had a week to "recover" (during which, of course, I had my period -- awesome) but I just got a call that he's thinking of going back next week, and on and off for the next month, because they're offering him a ton of money to go. Naturally I have no choice but to agree -- we need the money especially since I'm not making any right now.

Like I said, though, my nerves are shot, and I feel increasingly trapped and stifled by this situation. I really needed to relax and instead I'm more stressed than ever. To boot, this whole thing is starting to strain my relationship with my dad -- I know it's not his fault, but I can't help but be upset, and I think he feels like I'm being selfish and/or overly sensitive for being upset. Ditto my grandmother; I went to stay with her for a bit after he returned and she really did not get at all why I'm so stressed. She has no patience for my mother either, but she only has to spend a couple of hours a week with her. And my dad is like... the most patient person in the universe, which I'm definitely not.

The end result is, I feel like I have this enormous tight lump in my chest that just won't go away, I feel completely trapped, and I keep having panic and crying attacks. I've even looked into moving out and staying at a hostel because I'm so fried here.

The short version: I've never been good at coping with stress. I had a really hard year, I wanted to take the summer off and get back on my feet, but I'm trapped in a really tough/stressful situation that I can't get out of, and it's really wearing me down and also making my relationship with my family worse. I'm going pretty much nuts.

So what do you to do ease the pressure in a tough, relatively long-term situation? How do you keep stress off, and how do you bounce back from it?
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