Hidden sources of stress

I accidentally, unintentionally slept for about 14 hours last night. I have no idea why that happened and I suspect that I’m under some kind of stress and my body’s trying to repair itself.

It’s kinda funny because if you asked me, I’d say that I’m not under any kind of stress. But my body is clearly telling me otherwise. Sleeping an excessive amount like that is almost always a result of physical or mental stress.

I mentioned it to my husband and he thought that maybe the stress could be related to my daughter coming out. Even though that’s ultimately a positive thing, it is a very big and honestly unexpected thing (though as I mentioned previously, it really shouldn’t have been so unexpected. My oldest daughter says she knew two years ago but wouldn’t tell me how she knew.)

My husband just finished another cycle of chemo this weekend and had an especially rough day at work on Monday. He’s now back in the office full time and his boss and someone in HR are the only two people he works with who know that he has cancer.

To be honest, I really don’t know how he does it, but I’m so grateful that he does. In many ways, though, it also makes me feel like I should be able to buck up and work. I’m not the kind of person who can hide my illness like he does and I don’t know if that’s a personal failing on my part. I truly can’t even imagine going through chemo and trying to hide it from my coworkers, let alone being able to do that successfully.

I guess I’m stressed about other things, too, though. Like how much fear I have about having two trans daughters. My oldest has always been so independent and she has a really good long-term boyfriend who looks out for her, so I still worry but it’s more abstract. My middle daughter, on the other hand, seems much more fragile to me in many ways. I feel more of a need to actively protect her.

In a weird way, I even think my excessive sleeping last night might have been caused by my own stress related to my husband being on chemo, though that doesn’t really make sense, either. I’m not the one on chemo, so how can it be stressful to me?

Then that gets me to thinking about where I’ll live when my husband’s gone (which is another source of stress, I guess.) If my middle daughter is still living with me, it might still be a good idea to get out of the suburbs and move to that LGBT-friendly neighborhood in Dallas after all. But then I start worrying about how I would afford that.

In truth, I guess I’m more worried about my future survival than my conscious mind lets on. On the surface, I’m very good at trying to block it out. But I don’t actually know what I’ll be able to afford or when I’ll have to leave the house that I’m in. I’m still inclined to ask my landlord if he’ll sell it to me after J’s gone and I get the life insurance money but I also strongly suspect his answer is likely to be no anyway.

As I mentioned previously, I’m really caught between my present life and what comes after J’s gone, like I’m suspended between life and death. I don’t want to be in this state of mind, either; I want to be enjoying every moment that I have left with him. But I also seemingly can’t help but worry about what comes next and if I’ll even be okay.

My middle daughter says she’ll contribute to expenses if she’s still living at home at that time. My youngest son is going into a very good career field and would probably help as much as he was able, especially if I’m drowning. But I don’t want to drown. I want to give my kids a safe place to land for as long as they need it. However, it’s completely impossible to make projections about the future. I just know that it potentially looks much scarier than I used to allow myself to think.

I also know now that I really can’t work, which is taking a lot of adjustment. All this time, ever since I first got disability, I was 100 percent certain that I’d be able to get off of it. I believed it was only a matter of determination and when I decided to kick ass, I would fully be able to. But that actually doesn’t seem to be the case at all.

I’m taking all the worries about my future on my shoulders now, trying to figure everything out. I’m even trying to think of non-traditional ways to make a living, like getting a substantial online following or starting a business, but those ideas just exhaust me at the moment. I already feel like I’m carrying as much as I can possibly hold.

But for right now, my husband’s still got my back. He’s the one who’s actually carrying that heavy responsibility to make sure that we’re all okay for as long as possible. I can’t express the depth of my gratitude for that.

So why can’t I stop thinking about what I’ll do when he’s no longer around to have my back? Yes, I’m incredibly strong and resilient, but I’m also really scared and I don’t have as much control over my future as I thought I did.

3 Comments

  1. Positive events are also stressors. And uncertainty is a huge stressor and you’ve multiple reasons to. Concern over how you’re able to support yourself financially and cope emotionally etc after J are incredibly intense because they’re survival worries. And of course the ongoing pandemic.

    Hugs if wanted. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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