I don't deal well with stress. At all.
Probably because in my almost 26 years, I've not been in many situations that involved a lot of pressure.
My childhood was idyllic — even in divorce, my parents made things pretty easy on me — and school was largely a breeze. I skated through auditions for Chamber Singers and still scored amazingly high on the Chemistry AP test I studied, oh, not at all for.
Deadlines in the journalism school never fazed me; I could fall back on my finesse as a writer to make up for gaps in my research or paraphrase shoddy interviews. The jobs I've gotten since I graduated from college have practically been presented with a flourish and a doily on a shiny silver platter. And while my love life has been bizarre, often strained and recently rife with heartbreak? Easy come, easy go. Like recovering from a common cold, so a friend said.
I have led a charmed life.
So when I feel the least bit of pinch now, I snap.
I forget how to deal with people. I eat like it's my job. I cry. I want to sleep forever.
And my work ethic can go either way: fight or flight. I buckle down and work harder than I've ever known myself to, or I seize up and become totally immobilized. And write constantly in my blog or send inane IMs to people I haven't talked to in months.
I have a massive project at work that I present to everyone who's anyone in the company next week. My boss tossed it at me unexpectedly about a month ago — normally he presents the editorial audit for both our major publications — and paralysis set in until the beginning of last week. And now I'm in full-on panic mode.
Twenty pages into my write-up, I assume I still have about 10 more pages to write by next Friday, as well as some math, six or seven complicated Excel charts, collecting my verbal thoughts to convey to the powers that be, and collating and compiling my printed presentation.
Apparently we publish magazines, too. One of which is due on Monday. There's a stack of articles about eight inches high that I need to edit before the end of today.
But the weekend will pass and next week will happen whether I fight or flee. In seven days, I will be the light at the end of my tunnel; the magazines will be put to bed, and I'll be up in front of management in my suit, doing what they assume I do best. (Whether that's true remains to be seen.)
In the meantime, thank goodness for: Netflix, therapy, friends with massage tables, tanning beds, actual beds, take-out Thai, departed threats, the promise of spring and glimmers of self-confidence that take me completely by surprise.