Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stress and insomnia...

.. welcome back.  How I've missed you (not).  So I've been in la-la land for the past year or 2 with only child minding and housewife duties to contend with, along with a few minor bits of pressure in getting my MA topic approved, proposal written and data collected.  All very manageable.  Oh, and that bit of emotional energy I've been putting into removing booze from my life..! Yeah that.

The past six months especially since I removed my beloved wine I've been sleeping the blissful sleep of the .. of the .. sleeping the blissful sleep of the ... I can't think of a clever metaphor. Sleeping the blissful sleep of the blissful sleeper I suppose.  Long and heavy and restful and wonderful!

Now "BAM" I'm stressed and not sleeping.  I'm writing my thesis, I've got to deliver the first draft of my first section to my new supervisor this Friday .. it's supposed to be 9000 words and I've only written 4000-odd and while I think they're a pretty good 4000-odd, well formatted and flowing coherently, it's not even half what it should be!!!!!!!!!!!  And I'm nervous that my writing is too colloquial and not 'academic' enough (reading academic texts is enough to make anyone feel like an inadequate dunce) and ... I'm just bloody stressed.

And this is a first for me in sobriety.  I've had to deal with boredom, sadness, low-level anxiety etc sober.  And I've had to be dry at booze-soaked functions and through traditional heavy-drinking times (like Christmas and New Year).  But stress?  Stress I've not really had to contend with.  And, as we all know, alcohol is a fantastic stress reliever.  Want to forget your worries and concerns for a while?  Here bend your brain with this lovely liquid.  Sure, you'll wake up with a sore head, the guilts, and the realization that your stresses haven't gone away, but wasn't it fun forgetting them for a while??!!!

I need new stress relievers.  Seriously.  I need advice.  My sister suggested listening to meditation tapes at bedtime, a calm voice telling you such things as "Listen to your breath. You are not your thoughts."  Last night I tried to imagine myself floating on a lovely calm serenity pool (nestled at the foot of the garden at my palatial mansion/dream home).. and that sort of worked .. but not really.

My wick is much much shorter and the smallest frustrations can set me off and I feel the stress rising in my belly.  I am yelling at the kids more and that's making me feel terrible.  It takes me ages to wind down to go to sleep at night and I'm waking at the smallest noise and taking ages to get back to sleep. Aaaarrrggghhhh! Stress!

Phew.  Breath Mrs D.  Friday's deadline will pass. You will get through this.  In fact, while you're talking to yourself here's a tip.. STOP BLOGGING AND GET BACK TO WRITING!!!!!!!

Bye xxx


  1. I wish I could offer you advice . . But I also need a stress reliever.
    Your last but one paragraph sounds exactly how I feel (one month and a bit off H, after 12 years). When I asked my eldest lad (16) how different I was without gear he said . . you snap more! O dear.

  2. It's a cliche but put everything down and go for a walk\run - if in Auckland don't forget your coat.... Sometimes it works for me when i feel i am going to explode....

  3. good luck with your thesis :) I recently created a "sanctuary" in my bedroom to relieve stress before bedtime...some lit candles and reading help me. And, when my mind is really racing a good ole' Tylenol PM (just one!) helps....also, the smell of lavendar is great....

  4. This might seem a bit crass...........but Im gonna go "there" anyway......

    SEX!! lol
    Great stress reliever.... great boredom buster....... Great time waster!!! and ooohhh so much fun!! lol

  5. well...I don't have any new great ideas that your other commenters haven't already mentioned...but IMO stress is just one more damn emotion we were used to tamping down with booze. And, as you know, having to deal with all those emotions in their full strength can be a pain in the ass!

    I suspect that, if you're short of you 9K a bit, you won't be the first person to do that. And I suspect that if your thesis is not as stiff and academic as a standard one, I suspect that your advisor will weep with gratitude and forgive you the low wordcount.

    I found your blog off of another blog...I'll need to start reading it. I'm a little over 15 months sober so I'm in that middlin-early sobriety stage with you...it keeps getting better and easier, but I'm still figuring this whole sober-life thing out.

  6. I recommend something physical to relieve stress. A beginner's yoga class is nice if you have time. Taking a 1/2 hour walk is great medicine. I run now and feel physically buzzed afterwards, plus it helps me sleep better because I'm exhausted by nighttime.

    That being said, I occasionally have an awful night's sleep due to stress or the kids waking me or who knows what. Can you nap during the day? When I lack sleep, it makes me an emotional mess.

    I heard once that the lows are followed by equally high highs. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's been true for me, and that gives me an odd sense of peace these days.

    Good luck to you...hang in there.

  7. Physical activity is great. For me, I find that I need a few different stress relievers. If I'm unable to sleep (I hear ya these days!), I'll try to read a bit, but if my mind is too active to do that, I'll get up and walk around, or sit at the computer and write, or wake up the boyfriend and bug him. Eventually the brain tires itself out.

    In fact, I think I've been treating my anxiety just like a rambunctious kid (I've never been a parent, so maybe not...): for now, the anxiety has all this energy, but if I find constructive things to do and have the patience to wait it out, it should wind down.

    ANOTHER thing that helps me with my social anxiety (I have social anxiety!) is to take some time to really examine what the cause of the anxiety is, and then to look at its results. What I mean is, if I'm anxious about a social function I will ask myself what, specifically, I'm worried about. I'll use a notepad and write it down if need be. Then, I think about different actions I can take and imagine the consequences. Unless you're a brain surgeon or air traffic controller, usually the consequences are not as dire as the anxiety would have you believe. We all know that sometimes papers are short, sometimes they're late, sometimes we get stuck or need extra help. Even though this situation is new to you, people have been writing theses for generations, and there is probably a process already in place to resolve whatever roadblock you have.

    One more thing: the bigger the challenge, the better the emotional pay off will be when you come out of it having resolved it while being sober. You are going to feel awesome once it's sent off and is out of your hands, especially knowing that you accomplished it without chemical help.

  8. I don't have a magic potion either and the thought of exercising is even more stressful. I do find that the stress builds the longer I put off doing the thing that is stressing me so my advice is to sit down and get that thesis done. Period. That is the only thing that is going to relieve the stress. I would assure you that your writing is not too colloquial but I'm going to have to look the meaning of it up first. Get your bum back to work.

  9. I think stress and anxiety is what led me to my problem. It helped me to slow down my thoughts at night ...there are always so many things to do esp with 3 kids and a house and a husband, etc. I called my wine...my liquid Prozac. But we have to find a way to deal with it. For me, just being organized keeps stress down and also, just digging in and dealing with whatever is stressing you..such as your thesis. Just tackle it and be done with it. That is what would help me but we are all different. I'm not a big exerciser but I have a friend who is a yoga instructor and I have taken her class twice and its very relaxing. I may consider taking that class if I have trouble dealing with the stress instead of guzzling wine. Hang in there!

  10. I'm on day 15 no alcohol, I'm in my final year of a degree in theology, I too have a similar writing style to you and yet I have yi pretend I'm an academic thrologian!! On top of this I leave my assignments until the last minute (I tell myself 'I work better under pressure! !)

    Today I only just handed it in on time, it's the first essay I've done since being sober, usually I'd have a celebrate bottle of wine or two. ..! Not this time! I found that when my stress levels were at their max I became anxious and couldn't even sit still to write.....instead I told myself "worrying does not achieve anything, in fact itsjust like alcohol - every body does it, it affects sleep, we inflict it on others and makes everything worse! The brain can't function properly. So why worry?! You know and I know that if it means an all nighter, it will get done. Always does. do it, finish it, move on (easier said than done, but like you tell yourself you're not going to drink, tell yiurself not to worry