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I have recently acted as a sympathetic listener for a friend who has been stressed out by events in her family life. This is not a new activity for me. Over the last three decades or so I’ve often been the one that friends turned to for somebody to listen openly, and advise. My aim is always to find a solution, for any problem, and I don’t like it when friends make lots of excuses not to resolve their problems or attempt a solution.

And yet… And yet today I find myself the victim of my own stifling stress. I’m tired and grumpy and I want to stay in a dark room and just avoid the event that’s stressing me out. But I can’t.

What I want to do is stifle the stress but actually, the stress has been stifling me. It makes me inactive. I can’t focus on work. Household chores are too boring. I couldn’t possibly study today… all because I’m worried about going away for the weekend with my husband and child, to visit some of my husband’s friends. How dumb is that? I’m ready to throw in the towel over a weekend party.

And it is a party, with some lovely people, and I know my daughter and husband will have a great time…and yet.

I’ve been to these parties before and they always stress me out. I have to talk to lots of people that I only see once or twice a year. There will be lots of background noise and distractions because there will be so many children there. I will be worrying about my daughter’s ability to cope with how busy everything is. And I have to stay the night in someone else’s house. If my husband read this, he wouldn’t get it.

Parties are fun!

The kids will have a great time!

They’re being really kind hosting everybody!

As usual, I am the killjoy. Or rather, my Asperger’s is. Anyway, like the friend I mentioned earlier, I really just wanted to vent, so thanks for that!

On Saturday I shall be taking my own advice and going to the party. It’s a small price to pay for my family and my husband’s kind friends. Until then – I hope I can be a little less stressed, and a little less useless because of it.

Do you find stress stifling?

 

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I have realised today that I am incredibly lucky.

For the past week, I’ve been ill. I got a stomach bug that never quite seemed to go away – I even started to get dizzy spells. On top of that, my beautiful daughter got croup again. I was SO stressed, and actually started to get the kind of thoughts I used to get when I first got depressed, about half my life ago.

Today it occurred to me that my stomach pains had made me eat a lot less, which was probably the cause of the dizzy spells. I also realised that my continued stomach ‘flare ups’ were probably still happening because I’d been so stressed.

Today my daughter is much better, and I’ve been eating more. I’ve had no dizzy spells yet – touch wood! I made a conscious effort to think more positively, and I did some yoga. I also realised that all the changes at work that I’ve been worried about, should actually put me and my family in a much more secure, and less stressful, position than before.

I am slowly starting to unwind.

I have often noticed how different people cope with stress. What I’ve seen (in my limited experience) is that non-Aspies, such as my other half, seem to deal with stress a lot better than people like me. I’m not sure if this is generally true.

Something else I’ve noticed is that men seem to cope better than women – but this might be because they have been raised with an expectation of stress, or taught to have greater confidence in their own resources.

Whatever the reasons, I know that my body does not cope well with stress. When I get stressed a whole host of symptoms appear: mouth ulcers, tiredness, sensitive bowel, insomnia, dry skin, comfort eating or loss of appetite. I’m also open to any germs my toddler happens to send my way – mostly colds and sometimes diarrhoea.

This sucks. I am fed up of it.

I have had so many changes to cope with in the last 12 months and no immediate sign of any respite. I always seem to have too much to do.

I suspect, I need to change, rather than waiting patiently for life to ‘calm down’.

So, how do you do that? How do Aspies – or anyone – cope with stress?

All tips (and sympathy) welcome!