At some point over the years in this field I picked up a list of the most stressful events a human can go through as determined by some high-up researchers. The thing that always struck me about the list was that positive events such as getting married ranked just as high as negative events like getting divorced. Thus you might find yourself having a new baby- generally considered to be a blessing- and feeling more stressed out than you’ve ever been. What we know about stress is that it leads to a variety of physical and mental health problems and what this list taught us is that regardless of the cause the outcomes tend to look the same.
This is a lesson I’ve been reminded of (or rather beaten over the head with) over the past couple of weeks. A variety of really positive events- Buddy’s graduation from training class, the premier of the play, a work conference which would have been enjoyable under normal circumstances- have all collided to turn me into a zombie. Like I said, these are all positive events but the stress level is high enough to lead to the same consequences as if they were negative: I’m perpetually exhausted. I’m getting migraines way more frequently than normal. By the time I get home every night my brain has deteriorated into the consistency of apple sauce and I’m mentally incapable of doing the things I’d like to be able to do- like reading the book I planned to finish by the end of this month or writing here.
I’ve actually tried a couple of times over the past week to sit down and write something- about the play, about Buddy, or even to try and coherently sort through the mesh of story ideas in my head to write a new fiction piece. And every time I’ve found myself staring at the screen, drifting out of alertness and then getting confused as to what I was supposed to be doing. It’s like falling asleep- you lose time and then you’re confused when you wake up.