I don’t deal with stress particularly well. I shrink away.
I don’t eat; simply unable to stomach the thought of food or drink and getting through the day with water and gagging on whatever I force down.
I also go to ground, staying at home, not wanting to engage with anyone, switching off online, not blogging or posting to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
Recently, I caught up with one of my best friends after a (very unusual) three week break. ‘What happened?’ she asked. ‘The last time we saw each other you said you weren’t feeling great and then I didn’t see you for three weeks and you didn’t respond to my messages.’
I stopped and thought about it. And realised it wasn’t her that I was trying to avoid – why would I? She is nothing but supportive and wonderful and lovely. It was me.
‘I’m sick of myself,’ I heard myself saying. ‘I am sick of what’s going on. I’m sick of the diabetes burnout I’m experiencing. I’m sick of it all. I just want to disappear.’
I wonder if that is what I am trying to achieve when I am dealing with a stressful situation.
I stop eating and see and feel myself shrinking away.
I stop standing tall, instead wrapping myself in blankets and jumpers, folding into myself and taking up less space.
I stop seeing people so I don’t have to hear myself talking.
I limit my online presence, making my cyber-self withdraw.
Am I trying to make myself disappear somehow? Shrink away from the world and my problems?
I want to take up less space, not fill a room, curl into a corner of my bed. I want to be small. And insignificant. Because what I am dealing with seems so big – too big – and momentous. I want to be less weighty because the problems are bearing down on me.
I see this clearly when I emerge from the fog. As I stretch and look for sunlight and see people and engage again, I find my voice and start to feel bigger. Literally and figuratively.