Under pressure

On Saturday night Dan also asked us what our reaction is to stress and pressure, or more precisely

“When I am squeezed, pressed, crushed – what comes out? Examples?”

Once we got past the blood and guts jokes it was time for some serious soul searching . . .

You may never have been unfortunate enough to see it but I have a real temper on me. It’s something I do my very best to keep under lock and key. I don’t like being that person, who lashes out and says horrible things and lets the anger get the better of her. I remember reading Matthew 5:22 and being scared that that was me, and it’s a fear that remains with me: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Ever since I’ve been doing my best not to get angry and, at the very least, not show it when I do.

So, nowadays, stress and pressure generally lead me to seclusion. It’s safer that way. I get a kind of tunnel vision, becoming obsessed and determined to overcome whatever is the cause of the stress. People and normal life are forced to take a back seat. It’s safer if I ignore you because I don’t have time to care and don’t want you to know it and get hurt. Harsh right? Told you it was safer for me to withdraw.

I’m also aware that my problems are nothing by comparison so I do my best not to complain too much (though I usually fail epically) and I certainly won’t admit to needing help or not being able to cope until the very last minute: “This is my problem, I’ll deal with it, I can’t burden you with it too”. Fun times, trust me.

And if something does make me angry, rather than stressed, I’m most likely to not say anything for fear of saying something I’ll regret. Quite often I’ll have to walk it off – spend some time pacing or walking whilst ranting at myself/God. When I’ve worked out all that angry energy I’ll return and perhaps be able to articulate better what I’m on about.

This is the best way I have of dealing with stress/anger. I’d rather it didn’t get to this stage but I think it’s better that when it does, the only people to see it are me and God.

How do you cope?