Stress: The Final Frontier

Star Trek, stress, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe movie Alien taught me many things, Modern Philosophers, but one of my most important takeaways was that in space, no one can hear you scream.

I’ve often wondered if the same is true about stress and space.

Would anyone be able to tell if I was stressed out of my gourd?  Would the lack of gravity somehow also mean a lack of stress?

I always hoped they would tackle that question in the sequels, but all I really learned from those is to NEVER mess with Sigourney Weaver.

The reason I’m sharing these Deep Thoughts today is because it’s been a stressful weekend.  There was an issue with the house on Friday that bothered me all day, and didn’t get resolved until Friday night when several of my neighbors came over to help me conquer it with tool boxes and a little ingenuity.

Even though we tackled that, it’s been on my mind all weekend as I keep worrying that our fix wasn’t permanent.

In other words, I really let things get to me.  Once something fails, I’m constantly worried that it’s going to happen again.  Because my pipes froze one winter, I totally freak out that they’re going to freeze again anytime the temperature gets below zero.  Because a ton of snow and ice on the roof caused a leak in the bathroom ceiling one winter, I repeatedly check the bathroom ceiling for leaks anytime it snows.

Alien, stress, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s a never ending cycle of stress, and it’s truly exhausting.  It makes me want to hop in a spaceship, blast off into space where no one can hear me, and just scream until I get it all out of my system.

Sadly, I do not have access to any form of space travel.  In addition, space travel would probably stress me out beyond anything that’s ever freaked me out on Earth.

This morning, I woke up to a cold house.  It was 32 degrees outside, despite the fact that the calendar says it’s still Summer, so I turned on the heat for the first time.

All was well until one of the upstairs smoke alarms started screeching.  Side Deep Thought: In space can you hear smoke detectors screech?

I ran upstairs.  Nothing was on fire.  There was no smoke.  Everything seemed fine.  I took the battery out of the smoke alarm and silence returned.  None of the other smoke detectors went off, but that did nothing to lessen my stress.

So now a million thoughts are running through my head.  Why did it go off?  Is there something wrong with the furnace? Am I going to die of carbon monoxide poisoning in my sleep? Is the house going to burn down any time I turn on the heat?  The guy just serviced the furnace, so is this somehow related?  Is the smoke detector just too old, as none of the new ones sounded?

As you can imagine, being inside my head is no fun.  I can’t stop thinking about the smoke detector issue, even though the battery is out so it can’t screech again.

running, therapy, stress, humor, Modern PhilosopherI went for a run to clear my head, but all I could do was worry about why the alarm went off.  I went so far as to text a friend about it while on my run because I couldn’t focus on the activity that was supposed to take my mind off what was stressing me.

Part of what affects me the most in all this is having to deal with these annoying issues on my own.

While I don’t miss being married, I do miss having a partner to help me make decisions, to talk me down when my stress levels skyrocket, and to take on some of the stress burden.

Sometimes, I just need someone to talk a little sense into me.  There’s a good chance that turning on the heat for the first time set off the smoke detector because a Summer’s worth of dust, or some oil left behind by the service appointment, was burning off.

But since there’s no one here to interject some common sense into the equation, the inmate with the overactive imagination is running the asylum.

I’d like to be able to learn from my mistakes so that I don’t make them again, but I seem determined to dwell on them and fear that I will repeat them for all eternity.

stress, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s a heavy burden to bear, and one that’s getting heavier over the years.  I know I’m not normal in the way I handle stress, and while I know accepting what’s wrong with me is half the battle, I keep getting slain by this issue on the battlefield.

Writing this post has helped, as sending a problem out into the interwebs often clears it from my mind.

If anyone has some Deep Thoughts on conquering stress, I’d love to hear them.  Or if you know someone who’d like to be my partner in crime and shoulder some of the stress burden, that would be even better…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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16 Responses to Stress: The Final Frontier

  1. Glenda says:

    It seems like you’re doing everything you can to combat the stress naturally. Sorry, don’t know of any eligible partners out there. 😔 I would consult a behavioral specialist or see a medical doctor about anti-anxiety meds, because as you know, stress will kill you. Whichever path seems more fruitful, because I get your pain and know you cannot continue on like that. Sending you hugs, Austin!

  2. One of my smoke alarms went off at 3:00 am Friday morning and woke me from a dead sleep. It kept telling me the battery was low. I removed the batteries but the alarm kept yelling at me. As I groggily found replacement batteries, and used a chair to reach the smoke alarm, I replaced the batteries and thankfully the alarm was fixed. Then on Friday night, I was jolted out of a dead sleep by an earthquake. Luckily, the earthquake was under a 5.0 on the Richter scale, so I was able to get back to sleep. Anything over a 5.0 quake, usually causes me a little anxiety. I try not to let these little burps in life get to me. I know that probably doesn’t help elevate your stress, but maybe you should do a daily mediation to relax. If mediation doesn’t help, try putting new batteries in your smoke detector. Hopefully, that will work and relieve your stress.

    • Austin says:

      Yikes. Those circumstances would cause impossible stress for me. I have since replaced the battery and turned the heat on again. No reaction from the smoke detector…

  3. beth says:

    sometimes mine have done that in the past, when my battery is starting to run low. I see above you replaced the batteries, so that should hopefully take care of it. it’s hard when you’re stressed to really enjoy anything else in life, so I’m hoping you find a way to enjoy the present moments and not worry about the potential for negatives that could happen in the future, it caused you to enjoy what you’re currently doing. easier said than done, I know.

  4. markbialczak says:

    When our heat came on this weekend and I began to dicker with the thermostat on Saturday morning, Austin, I first noticed that it would not hold my temperature input and then saw the flashing low battery signal. All was fine after I switched out those Double-As. ‘Tis the season in all sorts of our gadgets, it seems. Yes, the season for stress, too, about the restart of the furnace and things that have been resting all summer …

  5. Pingback: The week gone by — Sept. 27 – A Silly Place

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