Dancing in the Moonlight…

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:

Is this shit

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):

*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?

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Comments: 12

  1. Steven Chapman May 16, 2012 at 11:39 am Reply

    …and now you’ve passed on the song to everyone reading this post…evil, evil woman.

    Just for that I’m going to tell you that big bags of Maltesers are only a pound at Morrisons at the moment and now you’ll gorge feel bad and gorge more – mwuahahaha!

    For some strange reason when I overload at work and my brain fizzes a horrible death I seem to reboot humming/whistling the Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune – which is equally scary and embarrassing.

    Oh, and it’s totally Ted Danson.

    • Jo and the Novelist May 17, 2012 at 8:46 am Reply

      That was my plan. Like Prince, I’m a musical genius. But evil. Mwahahahahahaha…

  2. The Suniverse (@TheSuniverse) May 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm Reply

    I deal with stress poorly.

    I tend to run away and hide, even if that means spending my day avoiding the big stressor thing instead of doing even the smallest step to deal with it.

    I also get super, extra chocolate sauce cranky.

    And say horrible things to myself.

    I’m a mess.

    • Jo and the Novelist May 17, 2012 at 8:48 am Reply

      We’re all a mess. I should really do the world a favour and go and hide instead of inflicting my rage on unsuspecting passers by.

  3. alonewithcats May 17, 2012 at 3:26 am Reply

    Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, I sing “Your Song” in my mind. Elton John is a comfort to me. And also my gay husband. You might want to add him to your repertoire. You’ll thank me.

    • Jo and the Novelist May 17, 2012 at 8:50 am Reply

      This is better than the time you told me how to finish my novel. Best. Advice. Ever.

  4. Nick MB May 17, 2012 at 8:22 am Reply

    I left this blog post open in a tab before going out last night, and only just realised why I’ve spent the hour since getting up humming that moonlight song.

    And yeah, I have been known to hum songs from my childhood. Often with the wrong lyrics. Won’t be admitting to any of them.

    • Jo and the Novelist May 17, 2012 at 8:52 am Reply

      You can’t escape it. It’s like when someone says ‘It’s The Final Countdown’…

      Also, you’ve totally boosted my ‘average time on site’ statistics, so thank you.

  5. iampisspot May 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm Reply

    When I’m stressed, I run.

    Or cry.

    Sometimes both.

    I wouldn’t recommend the cry/running option though.

    People tend to stare.

    • Jo and the Novelist May 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm Reply

      Cry-running is difficult. Especially as it leads to blurry-vision running. Which usually leads to falling over when running.

  6. Kellie May 25, 2012 at 1:47 am Reply

    I tend to wake up with strange songs in my head. This morning it was All Out Of Love by Air Supply. I’m beginning to suspect my neighbours have their alarm clock radio set to an easy listening station and it’s just quiet enough to creep into my subconscious without me realising I’m hearing it.

    • Jo and the Novelist May 30, 2012 at 7:57 am Reply

      I have contemplated similar. I’ve also contemplated that I might have a metal plate in my head from a secret childhood injury no one has ever told me about and be tuning in to some terrible radio station every night.

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