the aftermath

Stress

Image from Anyhooo…

In the wake of last week’s migraine, I’ve been thinking. As far as I can tell, the headache was brought on primarily by stress. Or, more accurately, the mismanagement of stress. I mean, everyone has stress. We’re not all walking around feeling like our heads are about to burst open.

But Friday of last week, that was me. If someone had hit me hard enough, a physical mass of worry would have oozed out of my ear, dripping down onto my shoulder before slithering away. It was unpleasant in the extreme.

In addition to being a creative type, I’m also kind of analytical. I can’t have an experience like that and not wonder what led to it. In this case, root cause is relatively easy to determine. I freaked the fuck out. I allowed manageable levels of stress to careen out of control, leaving me feeling like I was adrift in a sea of shit, carried by a current that led to even worse places.

None of that was true. I had stuff on my plate, yes, but things weren’t that bad.

So I’ve been thinking about it. The stress wasn’t the issue, per se. Like I said, that happens. I just didn’t react well. I don’t know if that’s a writer thing or a me thing or what.

However, I have a few writer friends and, at the risk of offending them, I’m going to say I think we all struggle with stress management at one degree or another. Maybe there’s something about the creative process that lends itself to that particular brand of cynicism. I don’t know. What I do know is this: you don’t want to let things get to the point they got to for me last week.

That sucked.

If you’re feeling stressed, find a way to turn down the dial. Meditate. Do yoga. Go for a run. Read. Watch some bad TV. Listen to some angry music. Do something to create a release valve and bring yourself back to a better place.

I have no intention of replicating the experience of a stress migraine. Once was enough, thank you.

I’m not too proud to admit I did that to myself, and I’m smart enough to recognize there are changes I can make to keep it from happening again. Consider this a cautionary tale. If you let that shit bounce around in your head long enough, it will find a way to get your attention.

Don’t let that happen. Instead, tame it. It’s totally worth the effort. Trust me on this.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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