Howard and I have both been pretty stressed lately. I’m not sure whether that has been clear on my blog, because I am very careful how I write about stressful things. This is not due to the need for a cheerful front to present to the world. It is a little bit due to knowing that the things which get written get remembered, and I prefer to remember the nice bits. The big reason I’m careful when writing about stress is to avoid negative feedback loops.
My stress makes Howard more stressed, which makes me more stressed, which makes Howard more stressed…etc. It gets even more complicated because each of us feels guilty if our stressed state increases the stressed state of the other. We want to defend each other from stress by taking care of more things solo. When we are both stressed, we step carefully because we know that the slightest nudge can upset the teetering emotional balances of the day. Keeping balance is critical to get the work done, which is the best path toward being less stressed. So I don’t vent on my blog about about my stress. Howard might take a quick break from work, read my blog, and then be derailed from his task to come help with my stress.
When the emotional balances become too teetering, we’ll find ourselves talking it out. I’ll tell Howard all the stuff I’ve been trying not to bother him about. He’ll do the same for me. Then we realize how silly we’ve been and re-sort the responsibilities so that everything balances better. Of late we’ve been having re-sorting conversations about twice per week.
We had one this morning. It was my turn to spill a pile of things which I was worried about, but which I was not saying out loud in a vain attempt to prevent Howard from feeling stressed over my worries. This hiding of worries thing doesn’t work so well when Howard has 17 years experience interpreting my moods. So Howard listened and assured me that it will be okay. This makes a nice balance for Friday and Saturday when I was the one doing the assuring. The depression we predicted for him last Thursday arrived a day late and in a different form than expected. What we forgot to predict was the effect his emotional downturn would have on me. Which explains this morning.
The only way out from under the stress is to keep going through. So onward we go.