The bigger picture

Utterly Alone
Image by Michelle Brea (busy-away) via Flickr

One of the ways in which I found D to be so healthy was that he was a firm believer in the “the bigger picture.” When we obsess over the little things in our lives, he’d say, we tend to lose sight of the bigger stuff: the roof over our heads, the beauty of our children, our health, the food on our table. Of course, he never said it as preachy as that. But you get my point. For him, it was always important to remember what really counted.

I agree with him, and yet, right now, I cannot see the bigger picture. I can only feel the discomfort of sleeping down the hall, in a single bed with a bad mattress, in  a room piled high with temporary crap. I can only react to the complete loss of privacy that I now have with 3-12 men running through my house all day long, building an addition. I can only hear the noise. I can only tell you how impossible it has been to relax. To go to the bathroom in private! To flop down on a sofa to watch TV. To sit at my desk in my room and write in my journal. All those favorite things of mine have been stripped away and I resent all the people who have taken them away (mind you, I agreed to an addition because the bigger picture is that after its built, D can move in.)

And then there was last night. My son came home and mentioned that he “only had to study.” What he didn’t mention was that he had to study for EVERY SINGLE CLASS HE HAS and that inevitably means I have to sit down and help him through it all. I resented it because I wanted to take the boys out to dinner last night and couldn’t do it. So, I yelled at him, and it almost came off as sounding like I was blaming him for ruining MY life. Well, the more I thought about it, I WAS.

Again, I was unable to see the bigger picture.

And there’s s myriad of other  things I resent….but the biggest one is that I have been having serious issues with my stomach again–complete IBS, like the old days. And it’s all due to stress. The thing is, it’s putting a wedge between D and I. And that’s its main purpose– to isolate me. When I have stomach issues, I want to be alone. I do not want to participate in any activity. I don’t even want to have sex or be close to D. And I cannot see the bigger picture. I can only see the trouble my stomach is going through and how to run away from people and be alone.

I guess this bothers me so much because I thought those days were over. I thought I had my stomach issues under control, but I guess I don’t. More disturbing, is that I see all this inability to deal with stress as a reflection upon my success, or lack thereof, in recovery. All these stressors are having the effect upon me of wanting to BLAME outside sources for my discomfort. It’s my son’s fault for screwing up my night last night; it’s D’s fault for upsetting my stomach; it’s D’s and the workers fault for putting me out like this and inconveniencing my life. It’s everyone else fault for making me miserable because I am incapable of adapting to this stress on my own.

I’m not hiding behind a man anymore; I am hiding behind my physical, mental and emotional response to stress.

I need to find that happy, positive place back, and sadly, I feel as though I can only make it there ALONE. This in turn makes me believe I cannot last successfully in a relationship. But it’s been over TWO YEARS OF BLISS! Am I just not seeing the bigger picture? Oh wait…I’m not.

Ugg. I need to work this out. Somehow. Or, simply, I need to remember one of the most important lessons I ever learned in recovery: nothing lasts forever. This too shall pass. Maybe that will help to put things in perspective. WHatever the case may be, I need to face the stress. Here’s a good website to start. I definitely react to stress by:

  • Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
  • Sleeping too much
  • Procrastinating
  • Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
  • Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Off to read and learn! Ironically, or is that coincidentally, one of their methods of adapting to stress is to “look at the bigger picture.”

Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.

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