I’m so busy during the day I forget to pee or eat. Which makes sense, because I can only forget the first bodily function if I’ve neglected the second. I’ve picked up my children later from after school care late three times the last three times I’ve had to pick them up. As a result I’m so stressed about the exorbitant penalty fees that it wakes me up at night. I’m so behind on housekeeping that the dust bunnies of dog hair are the size of large tumbleweeds. And as a financial advisor the insane market gyrations of the last few months have left me feeling like I’m riding the world’s steepest, most insane, never-ending roller-coaster. I hate roller coasters.
This week the perfect storm of stress came to a head when I ended up doubled over in pain. My stomach had had it. Thinking that the questionable hard-boiled egg I had eaten that morning in a desperate attempt to get some nourishment into my body was the culprit I grabbed an empty recycle container and high tailed it home as quickly as I could. The pain persisted but the typical symptoms of food poisoning never manifested. And while I was incredibly grateful for that (really is there anything worse than food poisoning?), I was nervous because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
So I did what you should never, ever, ever do when you are feeling sick – I got on the internet. And while the diagnosis of stomach cancer did make the list of possibilities for a nanosecond it was bleeding ulcers that jogged my memory. While in college working two jobs to support myself and taking six classes to get caught up after taking time off for an internship I had experienced this exact same thing twenty years earlier. I had what was called a “pre-ulcerous condition.” Which basically meant I needed to stop drinking caffeine, alcohol, and greasy pizza at 1am after the bars closed. And I had to do additional crazy things like get enough sleep and eat a healthy food. I also had to take some over the counter medications to reduce stomach acid – but that was a walk in the park next to everything else I had to do.
So here I was a certified grown-up and I was repeating the mistakes of my youth. Am I truly just as clueless and reckless as I was in my early twenties? Ugh. So I’m committing to down-time. Specifically down-time for and with just me, myself and I. Is it possible that Whole Foods, Ambien, and a good masseur can pull me out of my downward spiral? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure – it sure is nice to not have to try to solve it on a starving college student’s budget!