Sunday, 26 April 2015

Stress and bleh...

Stress does crazy things to people.

Some people suffer physically, you know, with insomnia or acne. Others suffer emotionally, experiencing frequent panic attacks and in some extreme cases, depression.

I am a strong person… Or I like to believe I am both emotionally and physically resistant to stress.

However, over the years and recently, I have come to realize that I am neither.

Try as I might, I will never be able to win the war against stress physically. In this area of life, I fight a losing battle.

Being under duress for extended periods of time throws my body clock way off schedule. Often, for many nights in a row, I would lie WIDE AWAKE in bed, listening to the steady hum of the fan.  “What-if’s” and other pointless questions would plague my mind, chasing every bit of sleep from my body. Many times, it would be past three in the morning and I could still be wondering what life would be like if I scored a five on the APs or if I should learn how to play the accordion. Of course, the next day, I would suffer from headaches and restlessness because of the lack of sleep. I would feel sick and lethargic for the entire day.

This, sadly, isn’t the only physical stress-related problem. Stress gives me eczema, crazy, violent bouts of eczema everywhere – my face, fingers, toes, elbows, ankles, arms, legs. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. Dealing with this is a pain, literally. But I’ve learnt to control and rise above it. Regular ointment application helps to relief the discomfort somewhat. And, most of the time, it you don’t think about it, it wouldn’t bother you. Most of the time…

So yeah, stress does that to me… and more…

I like to believe I’m emotionally strong. I am relatively resistant to other’s feelings and I make a huge effort not to be easily swayed by emotion. However, something happened, and now, I just think I am a silly, immature little goose… Gah, it pains me to admit that...

My major exams are in May. As with most people, I begin feeling the stress about a month to the exams. But, as I mentioned before, I (wish I was) am an emotionally strong person and I (wish I had) have great control over my feelings.

But, for a while, I was doing fine. I hadn’t snapped at anyone or had a temper tantrum. I was fun and jovial towards most people. I could smile and laugh as if I had nary a care in the world. All this was before a month to the exam; I hadn’t begun feeling the pressure. Gradually, as the exam dates drew nearer, the pressure began to increase and I became more and more emotionally stretched. But, being the goose I was, I assured myself I was fine… until a simple, harmless game of reversi…

*flashback to my family having breakfast in McDonald’s earlier today*

If there’s one thing you need to know about me is I strongly dislike losing, especially to family members, especially my mom. Initially, I didn’t want to play because I KNEW I WOULD LOSE BIG TIME. My mom enjoyed reversi and she was admittedly pretty good at it. I, on the other hand, disliked such board games and had hardly any experience in playing reversi. It was plain to see who had the upper hand. But, after some persuasion, I STUPIDLY accepted her challenge.

I began the game marvellously. My mom was impressed, I was impressed. But, you see, that was the problem. Now, I saw that I had a chance of winning. Instead of just playing for fun, I began playing for LIFE. Whenever it was my turn, I took forever. I planned and calculated. I tried multiple different ways to trick her and trap her. What I didn’t know was that every move shaved more off the patience and control I had over the exam stress. Midway through the game, I began experiencing heart palpitation and even felt faint. I was that bent on winning and that close to snapping.

I’m sure you all know how this story would continue. I was one move to winning. I had to make the decision between two moves, both of which seemed to offer the same advantages. My father and brothers peeped over my shoulder and began “backseat playing.”

“I would move that,” my dad said. My brothers agreed.

I stared hard at the board. Which move should I make???? I resisted the temptation to throw the board out the window. Just make the silly goose move already!!! Swayed by my father and brothers’ advice (and my desire to end the game as I was DYING from the pressure), I placed my piece. AND INSTANTLY REGRETTED IT. You have no idea what I felt. The world became silent and everything happened in slow motion. My stomach dropped and my heart squeezed. I had lost, not because of me, but because I listened and took someone else’s advice.

**note: I am actually tearing up from annoyance right now as the memory is still fresh in my mind...**

Just like that, the little walls of happy feelings and “all’s right with the world” thoughts began to crumble and fall away. I could feel the stress seeping out through the little cracks. I put my head in my hands and actually cried. For the first time since I was three, I cried in public because of a game. But that didn’t relief any of the stress. Oh my, there was more to come, way, way more, tons, tons more to come.

I was stony silent on the ride home. When we arrived home, I stormed up the stairs and locked myself in my room… and exploded.

I literally just fell to the ground and cried my heart out. The walls of happy rainbows my heart busted right open, unleashing all the stress and pressure I was feeling. After about 5 minutes, I calmed down. Then began freaking out again. I threw stuff across the room, I kicked the trash bin, I shoved books of the shelf, I even flipped the study chair upside down. After about 20 minutes (not kidding, I nearly lost both my eyeballs from crying so much), I calmed down and spent the next 10 minutes surveying the mess I created with a tearful eye.

During that ten minutes, I wondered what caused such a reaction. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have reacted this way if I played the game in normal circumstances.

Well, I guess I just have to admit that I am yet but a child. Such a reaction is actually quite unforgivable by my standards and I actually would love to be rid of this dreadful memory. But I wanted to remember this lesson by typing it out and since I took the trouble to type this out, I might as well share this entertaining little tale of mine.

In conclusion, stress is dangerous. Do your best to control and stay away from it, please. But the most important lesson to learn from this post is to never EVER EVER challenge a person whose exams are in less than a month in a one on one game that they don’t care about.

Please, just don’t.