Why do I shut down under stress?
When I first hear any important news, good or bad, I am usually in shock.
People often wonder at how calm I seem. Then later, usually when I’m on my own and have had time for it to sink in, I freak out internally! I may still seem calm on the outside, but my mind is suddenly on overdrive, thinking, obsessively working out what to do, what to change, how to solve this problem, then I go into complete overload and either breakdown and cry, if the news was bad, or that’s when I may finally start jumping for joy!This delayed reaction has been a huge inconvenience that I’ve wished I could change many times! For example when someone was picking on me in school I would completely shut down and freeze, my mind a complete blank! I could not think of a response to save my life! Later that night I could easily think of 20 great comebacks that I so wish I could have blurted out at that perfect moment, now long past! Or when my parents were asking me why I did something and again I shut down under pressure rather than answering honestly. I then find I’m in trouble when I should have been able to explain myself and that I really had good intentions for whatever it was I was doing. This shut down under pressure did not make for good test scores either!
I don’t know how to break this cycle or if it’s just the way I’m wired and it’s about time I accept it.
But it’s come to my attention yet again because I just found out that the school I was very excited for my son to start attending once a week has moved to a location that is just too far for us. First I am fine, I think okay, I will figure something else out. Then, as it sinks in, I am beginning to Freak Out inside my head! The wheels start turning faster and faster and I can’t stop the internal dialog as I banter with myself over what to do! I’m surprised no one can see the smoke coming out of my ears! I had the year all planned out! I wouldn’t have left the last school if I knew this one was not an option! Then some anger kicks in, I knew they were looking for a new building, but why didn’t they warn us it would possibly be in another town?!! I frantically start researching online, asking friends about other programs, checking my email for answers every 10 seconds. Why aren’t people answering right away?! Don’t they know this is an emergency! I won’t be able to rest till I have this settled. Again! Didn’t I just go through this when trying to decide whether to leave the last school? Why do I have to do it all over again?!!
This is where a nice big glass of wine comes in very handy!
I still can’t sleep, but at least I’m starting to relax. Soon there’s room for optimism and productive thinking. Maybe it’s a good thing that he can’t go to this school. There must be some reason. It will free up some time in our very busy schedules. My obsessive searching has not ceased, but now I’m seeing all these other classes, field trips, opportunities that we can now be a part of. I have to reign myself in so I don’t get overwhelmed by the possibilities. I can sleep soundly knowing there are more than enough ways for my son, and my whole family to get a full life, education, great experiences and more out of this one day a week that I was so worried about! A day later, I’m now at ease wondering why I was so stressed out about it! And even excited about the new possibilities! Of course we’ll be fine. We always are. If I have to create my own class, that’s what I’ll do!
And that’s somewhat what I did. I’m now planning an art class for the month of September at the Discovery Learning Center, every Tues at 10:30am. And we may stay for other classes the rest of that day to get a “school experience” sort of day. I may come up with some other classes to do there in the future if works out well for us. I am now extremely glad I don’t have to rush the kids off early on Monday mornings. Monday’s are a good day to stay home, clean the house, work on projects… the rest of the week always ends up busy, running here and there to this great class, that fabulous field trip.. We’re going to need our Mondays! What was I freaking out about? I can hardly remember, but I still have a bit of a headache leftover from the tension in my shoulders. I need a massage!
Originally posted in 2012