Saturday, July 3, 2010

Worry Ticks

As I mentioned yesterday I am easing back into my world of work after my week off last week and a handful of days in a totally different work environment.

I have to say my work e-mail alone stressed me out more than I was when I left for my break. After reading a couple of e-mails directed specifically for myself I nearly blew my lid. I was frustrated to learn that a couple of jobs I delegated (due to my absence) somehow got mixed up or left out and now I am left to do some problem solving.

Now as I say this I have to mention that the issues I will have to address next week are not life threatening or earth shattering, there just isn't any reason for them to be issues. However that's just part of being responsible for something right? I just need to get over it, deal with it and relax.

Relax ... that's not one of my strong points.

I always prided myself before on how much I could handle in life: work, family, friends, entertaining, and on and on I could go. I managed two successful businesses at the same time as working for a couple of different organizations during our early years of marriage. Why all of a sudden am I unable to cope with the stress of this new career?

Well probably for a few reasons...

1. It's an entirely different and still a new field for me to be working in. Though all of my other jobs were predominantly with people (as this one is) they were still dealing with many different issues than I'm dealing with now. I think I am still adjusting to a whole new line of work.

2. I am now accountable to an larger body, an agency. Before I was mostly accountable to myself and those who received my services. If things didn't work out I alone was the one who had to deal with it, no worries over dealing with management, doctors, the government.

3. I now work in a team atmosphere. As much as I generally work one on one with people overall I have to make sure to communicate successfully with a team of people: the people I support, my co-workers, managers and any other people involved. Often I find that if someone I am working with or beside is not that great at communicating or perhaps understanding me there is a boat load more of responsibility felt on my part to get things ironed out.

4. Finally ... maybe I was fooling myself all along at any ability to cope with stress and really I'm one of those people that don't have the first clue how to relax and manage myself in stress filled conditions.

Wally and I came to #4 together. Unfortunately I have prided myself in something I had no right to be proud of. Though I have been able to cope through some pretty strenuous situations in life it certainly doesn't mean that I am a pro at managing life.

Clearly as I ponder going back to work on Monday with a fluttery heart I'm no expert on this.

As I finally picked up my planner after giving it a 2 week hiatus, my heart began to pound and my thoughts began to whirl at the schedule I had given myself. Once again I given more of myself away than I should have which left me feeling panicked and dreading the coming several weeks. Why do I do this to myself?!

Part of the reason was because I had offered my services as summer staff BEFORE I had committed to cutting back my schedule. Then I got the summer schedule and it actually didn't look bad, except a handful of shifts with people I am trained with but barely ever see (I hate walking into that situation as you have yet to build a rapport with them and are there telling them what to do and how to do it - it's part of the job, but not my favourite part).

Last night as I went through a couple of my overbooked weeks and noticed that not one e-mail had come in to help with a couple of shifts I needed covered - I began to stress out.

First my heart speeds, then I break into a sweat, then I wonder how I am going to function after the overnight I know I won't sleep during. I look at the rest of that week and worry about feeling stressed then and then I decide I am all of a sudden incapable of doing the job at all and I want to quit.

As you can see one thing leads to another and I get a little out of hand.

You can also imagine that when I went to go to bed I had a hard time drifting off to sleep because my mind was swirling about. Well I ended up getting to sleep no problem but I then woke up halfway through the night wrestling with what I call a worry tick.

Some people have warts. I have ticks.

I wanted so badly to go and check my work e-mail but promised myself and Wally I would stay off of it for the rest of the weekend (no easy task for someone waiting to hear back about coverage). I desperately wanted to check it. So bad.

However my commitment for a work free weekend was more important so I did the only other thing I could think of.

I got out of bed, onto the floor, onto my knees and I prayed.

Now to those of you who are going 'What?! Are you purposefully turning this into a preaching session now Eva?' I assure you I'm not. I'm just sharing what I did.

I have to add that I haven't prayed on my knees ... well in years, even when I was following religious practice (going to church and such). I have prayed of course through the years just not in that sort of way, and even before that I never actually physically got on my knees. But I was feeling at the end of my rope and the only person I knew who had any control over this was my Papa (God).

So in my distressed state I got onto my knees and just asked Him to help. Just like that. Not out loud as Wally was sleeping right there, but in my heart. I talked to Him a bit about the situation but mostly just tried to hand over my worry tick. It wasn't easy as I felt like I could feel the little buggar fastened tightly to my spirit.

I prayed and prayed that God would just take the tick away and let me feel peace. As I tried to release it my mind wandered trying to solve the coverage problem on my own. I was thinking of names of people who supported the people I needed some coverage with. I began thinking of schedules and dates to be worked. I thought again about just going to check my e-mail, but quickly reminded myself about my commitment. Not only to not checking my e-mail but also my commitment to God. I mean if I really believe He is who He says He is I'd let Him deal with it. Loving Him means trusting Him and trusting that when He says He loves me and it means that part of loving me is giving me what I need. Last night I needed rest and peace, but I couldn't get that if I was too busy trying to figure things out on my own.

After a good hour of wrestling with the tick I finally apologized to God and asked Him to deal with my situation. Knowing that two things could happen: I could go to my e-mail on Monday and find out that my shifts were covered and I needn't worry about another thing (my favourite solution), or finding out that I would still have to work the few I have and be given what I need to get through them (I've been surprised at receiving this strength on more than one occasion, but try to be wise enough not to have to depend on it often).

With that I asked God to be with me and relax my body so that I could find some rest and at least enjoy the rest of the weekend with Wally.

I grabbed a couple of blankets and my pillow, then laid down in the spot that I sat (yes on the floor), and closed my eyes.

I'm not sure if I did this because the floor was more convenient (because it definitely was not more comfortable) or if I actually felt closer to God (which also doesn't make sense because wouldn't higher up make more sense as we always look up when we talk to or about Him? Yes I know, He's not actually 'up' I'm just sayin').

For whatever reason I stayed in the place I began my conversation and honestly felt, as I laid there, like a little girl laying on her father's lap being consoled. I actually thought that if I could imagine God there in a physical sense He'd be stroking my hair and gently touching my face as I tried to fall asleep. I did fall asleep.

I awoke to the sound of Wally trying to tip toe into the bedroom but accidentally knocking over the folding chair we situate across the doorway so the dogs don't wander through the night. What was louder than the chair hitting the floor was his frustration over waking me up.

I was still groggy so I didn't say anything. Wally carefully sat down and gently spoke to me as he softly stroked my hair (my heart smiled).

I told him there was a story to me being on the floor. He laughed and said there was always a story with me. He listened as I told it to him.

I am still working on letting go of the tick (or rather letting my Papa get the tick out). I'll get tired enough eventually and stop fighting.

I learned a couple of things last night...

I need to trust Him more. I mean He made cool slimy fish that have wings and know exactly how to survive and reproduce and stuff. If he can create really weird living creatures like that surely He can figure out my scheduling dilemma (which really is me trying to be responsible a little too late).

God is my Papa. He knows how to sooth my heart when I feel itchy with stress.

He meets me where I'm at. Even on the floor.

And ... next time I may try a different location as my right leg is slightly numb from the concrete floor (yes we have carpet but we live in a high rise made of cement, no Sealy Posturpedic in the floor).

That being said, being held by my Papa last night was all worth it.