Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Yes, my sweet little digitized denizens, you get a twofer today!  Well, that’s not entirely true, yesterday’s edition was mostly done– I just didn’t finish the edits before midnight.  So, is this going to be an issue about dental hygiene?  Nope.  This one’s gonna be devoted to the funny shit that the human body does to cope with stress.   I’m not talking about things the human psyche does to actively mitigate the desire to indiscriminately wring necks– at least not this time.  I have enough posts dedicated to alcoholic avocations…

For years, I’ve been a compulsive knuckle cracker.  You know the type, the ones that sound like a walking Rice Krispy Treat and they aren’t walking across bubble wrap.  Bored?  Crack each individual knuckle, sometimes twice.  Stressed?  Crack-snapple-pop.  Idle hands?  Not now!  Granted, as my age has advanced (much to my dismay), I’ve also moved on to popping my neck/back/elbows/wrists/knees/ankles…  pretty much any joint that can garner temporary relief (often at the disgust of those in earshot) is fair game to me many times over during the course of a normal day.  I haven’t had a “normal” day since June 4, when I signed on to this company.

Become the Gear...

Welcome to the Machine…

So yeah, I’m no stranger to stress.  I’m no stranger to being under pressure.  I can handle my body’s usual responses to being on the verge of channeling Wayne Brady to choke a bitch.  In the past, shit, here’s a short list of common and/or bizarre stress reactions I’ve dealt with:  migraines, insomnia, hives (that one was a bitch), gastrointestinal “issues” (too damn early in the day for poop humor), depression, anxiety, facial/ocular twitches…  so far, fairly standard stuff, right?

Here’s where shit gets twisted:  I’m developing nervous tics, well above and beyond the knuckle cracking.  First and foremost, I’ve developed this weird thing where I’m constantly sucking at the backs of my teeth at a particle of food that I know full well isn’t there.  This isn’t intermittent either, on the hour drive to Edinboro for Homecoming–  Cortana thought I actually got some of dinner stuck in my teeth.  No, sweetheart, that’s just my arthritic grip on sanity holding on like a boss.  As for the rest of you, kindly keep the oral fixation jokes and the suck jokes to yourselves–  I’ve already thought of them and laughed at my own expense.  On the upside, I never do have anything stuck in my teeth anymore… well, except for leftover sarcasm.

I’ve also taken to digging a nail into my right thumb.  Now, this may seem fairly innocuous compared to the rest, but I’m apparently picking and digging to a point where I have a callous right along the inner crease of the joint.  One that I repeatedly have to cut off or tear off.  As if the constant cracking and sucking (that sounds so wrong) wasn’t annoying enough, I have this tertiary little gem.  Here I thought I was a stress machine, one that I thought ate stress for breakfast.  Apparently it’s lunchtime and stress is back on the menu, ladies and gents!  Who wants seconds?  And don’t get me started on how stupidly fast I’m going grey– and we’re not talking 50 Shades of Giggity kind either.  I’m gonna look like a curly-haired Anderson Cooper before I’m 35.

All of this I can deal with, but the newest reaction is dangerous: hallucinations.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no–  I don’t need a nap or a rubberized room.  I would totally like both, in case you were wondering.

Winter attire?

And no, I don’t have one of these…. yet.

There are positively no hallucinogenic compounds in my system, and I swear I’m not inordinately sleep depraved.  Yes, I realize exactly what I said there, it was intentional.  In college, I’d once gone 67 hours straight without sleep.  Believe you me, I know what hallucinating is, and the best way to shut up the auditory ones is to crank up your music louder.  The visual ones though…  Those are a different beast entirely.  In fact, these things I’m seeing actually qualify as beasts.  Oh the entertaining ways your mutinous body can force synapses to misfire, causing you to trip balls….

Let me back up– the last few times I’ve gone into sleep deprivation to the point of seeing things that I knew full well weren’t there, I’ve seen shadows leisurely skulk across the wall with nothing to cast them, and other (more textbook) hallucinations of shadow people.  Granted, the first few times I saw those things– even knowing they were a direct result of boycotting sleep– they freaked me right the Hell out.  As in so freaked out, I immediately jumped into bed, flipped off the offending imaginary friend, and covered my head like a 5 year old hiding from the monster in the closet.  Yes, I’ve been sleep deprived enough times to not be tweaked out by such things, so don’t judge me.

These things I’m seeing–  yeah, far more dangerous because I’m on the road, all the damn time…  I’m seeing shadow deer.   I am also getting 5-7 hours of sleep per night.  Usually.  And noooooo, I’m not on any fun drugs.

Anyone wanna start a pool on how long it takes for me to dismiss a shadow deer, only to realize that my front bumper has discovered that it’s real?

Unplug.

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My life is naught but an endless series of WTF moments strung together (seriously, nobody could make this shit up).  I’ve come to accept and acknowledge this, and realize that this storied history has landed me where I am now.  Seriously, not even the crushing weight of collective societal stupidity can make my head spin anymore.  That said, there are still things that boggle my mind– and they usually surround my existence and nobody else’s.

For example– for years, I’ve clawed and scratched to better my position in life.  I wouldn’t be where I am now if I wasn’t a 21 year old dumbass who thought that it was sheer brilliance to stop going to school full-time… because hey, part-time classes and full-time work means more money in my pocket, right?  BZZZZZZT!!!  Wrong!  Try again, dumbass!  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but has made my variegated path infinitely more complicated and difficult.  I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and become an hero from time to time, but a healthy dollop of booze and misanthropy always screwed my head back on straight-ish.  After all, that’s what cynicism’s all about, right?  Just when it seems like things can’t suck any harder than a hooker running a 2-for-1 Saturday Special– find some derisive/inappropriate way to laugh it off.  Try it sometime, I highly recommend it.

Come to think of it, that whole twisted mindset (that gave me a reason to keep fighting with Sisyphean tenacity) kinda reminds me of someone…

Some people just want to watch the world burn...

Let’s see… twisted and driven…

Oh the resemblance...

Check…

Only I don’t have The Goddamn Batman on my case trying to toss my happy ass into Arkham.  Some may argue that he should.  Now that I’ve successfully put myself on pretty much every governmental watch list there is, let’s bring this tangent back to the original topic– endlessly fighting to better my situation.  Right?  Yeah, I think that’s where we were.  Don’t judge me, stress and sleep deprivation have caused me to be more scatterbrained than usual.

Here I am today, trying to build a career serving people– helping them to protect those they care about.   There’s a litany of hurdles in my way, some bigger than others.  By far and away, the most annoying is the inherent stigma associated with being a life insurance agent.  I already bitched about that at length in the past two entries, so let’s skip the recap.  Total strangers, however, automatically come with the instant wall.  They don’t know me from a can of paint, and I totally understand why they’re assuming that this guy is another one of those situationally-scrupulous douchebuckets packing a high-pressure pitch.

I hate that shit.  I refuse to “close” anyone, because decisions about protecting yourself/family have to be fully voluntary– because they understand the numbers, concepts, and information that I’ve explained.   If they like me, and like the product, great… if not?  Well I’m not going to sit there and spit back canned rebuttals, and strong-arm someone into a deal.   I loathe salespeople of that ilk, especially bulldog “closers.”  I don’t care if you’ve got the best shit on the planet (and the company I work with, especially the product, are top notch)– strong-arming is bullshit. However, in this business….  *sigh*  Anyway.

This brings me to the paradoxical dichotomy mentioned in the very title of this diffuse… rant, if you will.

I proudly identify myself as a cynical misanthrope with a profound distaste for society’s ways in general (even though on an individual basis, I tend to be very much of a people person).   Those of you who’ve been with me since moment one are nodding your head, snickering in agreement, and also appreciating my penchant for mocking myself with the entire mix.  Take that personality, along with my profound distaste for “sales” in general, and now look at what I do.

I am fighting to build a career as an insurance agent.

Let this sink in for a moment.

Brain hurt yet?

And while that’s sinking in… this.

If you haven’t figured out that there’s a never-ending episode of Celebrity Deathmatch going on inside my head… yeah I can’t help you.  I really wish I could put these mirror-matches up on YouTube, because they’d go freaking viral.   With all of the associated stresses with being a 1099 “employee” that works solely on a commission basis (read: essentially self-employed), I’ve had to shoulder a stupid level of stress.

So let’s tally up the opposing things here:

  1. When you boil it down, I work in sales.  I despise salesmen.
  2. I hate people in general, but I generally love people individually.  (No double-entendre this time.  Kudos if you went there.)
  3. I am constantly stressed out, but I usually maintain a relaxed/amusing demeanor.
  4. I relish opportunities to deliver linguistic lambastings, but I refuse to play hardball with a client.
  5. I’ve been known to be…  colorfully reckless– I now work with life insurance.
  6. I don’t gamble because my luck sucks… my ability to get appointments often relies upon a certain degree of luck.
  7. I have a degree in writing.  I work with financials and numbers.
  8. I get distracted by shiny objects… yet I…  um…

Diametrically opposed traits?  Check.  Boatloads of stress?  Check.
Still fixing what my dumbass younger self did?  Check.

Small wonder why I’ve developed several nervous tics (that’s the next issue).

In other news, this weekend’s Homecoming… and all I can do is go through the motions, because I can’t sacrifice two potential days in the field.

Damn it all to Hell.

Unplug.