Coping with Stress and the Fears it Brings


It used to be annoying.  Now?  It's fucking terrifying.

In the past, when life was "normal," stress was just aggravating.  Annoying.  Stressful.  Now, in a world where fear of recurrence tortures my brain at least 100 times a day, stress is a goddamned nightmare.

At the moment, I have stressors coming out my assssss:  Ryan being on tour is stressful for me.  And the stress and upset it causes him ALSO stresses me out further.  Dealing with three dogs on my own when I am gone 11+ hours a day is stressful.  Worrying about my father's ongoing health issues is stressful.  Figuring out budgets and how to survive financially is stressful.  Sorting out how to manage what little free time I have is stressful.  Only HAVING a little free time is stressful.  Certain aspects of my new job are extremely stressful (although, overall it is surprisingly less stressful than my old job).  Worrying about things my friends are going through is stressful. Worrying about Ryan is stressful.  Worrying about his health is stressful.  And most of all, worrying about my own health is stressful.

And then add the fact that I am now terrified of stress because stress is a major factor in cancer growth and recurrence... well... you might as well just put me in a padded cell and call it a day.  Because there are moments, pretty much daily, now, where I just cannot cope.  And in those moments, the reason I cant cope is because every little bit of stress is just magnified a bajillion times because my brain is turning every instance of stress directly into imaginary cancer.

A month or so ago, I asked my oncologist to call me in a Xanax prescription, but at this point, I am considering going back on full-time anti-anxiety meds.  I'm almost afraid of the Xanax.  Just because of what it "means" to me.  Needing Xanax "means" that things have gotten to a point of stressfulness that I can no longer manage.  And then feeling like I need one - well that scares me - because that "means" that I am full of evil, cancer-causing stress.  And so on and so on and so on.  It's all so viciously and cyclically exhausting.

Before I turn to meds, though, I am going to work on getting back into my exercise routine.  My morning bouncing.  My evening gazelle or bike or run.  And now that I have signed back up for, I am hoping that will help as well.  And maybe getting back into a regular writing routine might help as well.  Lord knows it's been a hot minute since I was actually posting in this blog with ANY regularity.  Yes.  Maybe... HOPEFULLY... all of these things will help.

Because, good fucking grief, Charlie Brown!  I need to chill the fuck out.  I wonder what my coworkers will think when they find me doing chair yoga or alternate nostril breathing at my desk during my breaks...

Does anyone have any other suggestions for those overwhelmingly stressful moments?  The ones where you fell like you just "can't".  Can't deal.  Can't focus.  Can't move forward.  Can't fucking function.  Please.  I am open to ANY ideas you might have.

Tonight, I am getting a massage.  Could not have ended up landing at the end of a better day for it.  I have not looked forward to anything this much in a while.  Fingers crossed that it will help.  I have great faith in my friend, Jennifer Choltko at Essence of Tranquility Massage.  She's awesome.

Wish me luck.  And good health.  And send me your de-stressing tips.  Seriously.

Love love,


Anonymous said…
There are only a few things that help me with stress and they're not guaranteed to work all of the time: walks in the woods, fishing, sex, red wine and writing (which can lead to more stress if I'm not writing well). A hot bath and a t-bone steak work wonders though red meat elevates my blood pressure and that stresses me out. I believe in shedding our twenties we have assumed more responsibility and have yet -- in our mid-thirties -- learned to manage it appropriately. So, I say, fuck you stress! All of that said...the best relief for me is being outside, away from industry and machines, and seeing the other lifeforms struggling, truly struggling to survive, makes me feel a little better. That and friends who know how to smile.
Diane said…
Oh Phoebe...I wish I could give some wonderful words to you...sadly I am where you are also. And deeply into taking the prescription shit that have been pushed at me by drs. for years. Fighting it off by doing the 'right' things.. ..yet I finally gave in to them. Now life is really fucked up at, most of the time. Advice from your Aunt.....keep up the fight I see you are taking on. You can do it.....Go girl! (enjoy that massage) xo
Jennie said…
This helps me with anxiety:
1. Little rituals throughout the day - to give points of peaceful predictability where you can relax (reading a bit before hustling off to work, a fancy cup of home blended cocoa, evening harvest in the garden, hugging the dog, etc.)
2. Identifying what in my list of worries I can take action on and change/make a difference - focusing my energy there leaves me less time to dither on things I cannot change, and taking action has a healing quality of its own - you feel good about what you do.
3. I avoid recreational drugs and alcohol since they can make brain chemistry issues worse.
4. That bio-feedback program I did when we lived together was actually pretty helpful in getting me to identify an escalation of anxiety before it became debilitating. Self-Talk can be helpful to - little check ins to catch yourself early.
5. Happy little daydreams - give yourself little imaginary vacations throughout the day, or 're-do' conversations or interactions in your head to give more satisfactory endings.

Keeps me in check. Thinking happy thoughts for you.
Anonymous said…
Responsible marijuana use. Seriously.

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