Here’s something that probably won’t surprise you. I don’t deal with stress well. I have never been able to deal with stress very well. And I’m not even talking about STRESS, stress – the type of stress important people with lots of responsibility suffer from. On a daily basis I give myself a hard time about almost everything – issuing myself with serious mental lashings for even the slightest mishap such as: waking up late or forgetting to pick up milk from the supermarket.
So when I’m presented with something that a ‘normal’ person might find actually stressful, my fragile mental state hits warp speed and I start behaving in slightly peculiar ways. These can include: constantly frowning, crashing into doors, dropping things and being generally non-responsive. My consistent reaction to stress is to start eating. Lots. And often. It’s not so much a comfort-eating thing, it’s just pure, good old fashioned self-indulgence – a non-stop gorge festival of consuming as many calorific items as possible and refusing to feel full.
Sometimes I get a double-whammy of stress, which is caused by a slightly overwhelming fear of failure. This is something that I feel so intensely that I just stop thinking logically – my brain is using so much of its resources to torture myself with feelings of failure that I can’t be practical about the task in hand. It’s like this:
The harder I try to be practical, the more failings I see in whatever it is I’m doing and the worse I feel. Next thing you know I’m in floods of tears, tearing open a third packet of Jaffa cakes.
Stress also affects my sleep patterns. I stress so much that my entire body stiffens with tension until I’m suddenly completely rigid, like a taxidermy version of myself. When I send myself off to bed, I’m still tense and can’t get comfortable, and if I can’t get comfortable, I can’t relax and if I can’t relax I can’t sleep which, I’m told, is pretty normal.
What isn’t normal, however, is the way in which my brain chooses to torment me during those achingly awful moments where I’m telling myself to hurry up and relax so I can doze off. My brain, like demonic version of iTunes, will select an annoying song, at random, to get stuck in my head and loop (continuously) until morning. Recently, these songs have included (but are not limited to):
- Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader.
- Believe by Cher.
- Always by Bon Jovi
- Whenever, Wherever by Shakira
- Bryan Adams entire discography.*
*Best. Video. Ever.
These are not songs I listen to regularly. They are not songs I have on CD or MP3. They are not songs I have even heard for several years (with the exception of today to aid writing this blog post). They aren’t songs I used to like, they aren’t songs
I cheerfully sing along to every day torture my friends with at karaoke.
I feel like I’m subliminally picking them up somewhere, but where? It’s not like these songs are on any adverts or TV shows I’ve been watching recently. I don’t know where they’ve come from, but they get in my head somehow and they do not leave. It’s like I’m being haunted by a poltergeist of crap music. The song starts slow and quiet somewhere in the back of my mind. At first, I barely even notice it:
Then it becomes more prominent and I can hear it in-between thoughts:
Then I hear it more fully, I’m conscious that I’ve got an annoying song stuck in my head:
I try to ignore it as best I can until…
I go to bed. And it’s all I can think of. It’s becoming painful. I might have to start going to bed wearing headphones whenever I’m stressed. Of all my weird stress-related behaviours, this is by far the weirdest.
So, how do you deal with stress? Anyone else suffer from annoying-song-itis – if so, what’s the song that plagues you?