Dedicated to Oma.
A dear friend of mine, a sister from another mother in another dimension, recently posted an Insta story.
"A year from now, everything you are stressing about won't even matter."
I replied jokingly to his story, "Well, more likely we will have new things to stress about".
It was an inside joke between us, he's the sane, zen, positive one and I'm the sarcastic, negative one in our sisterhood.
But in all truth, why are we stressing about many things? Now more than ever - and when I said now, it's not just during this pandemic, but I think everyone's been stressing about meek things lately, and it has ruined everything - from our job, our relationship, even our mental health.
I'm no saint when it comes to stressing about things. By nature, I'm an over thinker about everything, and right now, I am retraining my brain not to do that any longer. I had my share of ruined projects, relationships, even small moments in my life because of that bad habit. And when you're depressed with that overthinking characteristic, a fatal combination, trust me, I know it first hand - so does my 'sister'.
It was between 2014 and 2015 when I had the worst depression of my life. I was suicidal, every time I was alone, all I can think about was ways to kill myself. Slitting my wrist, hanging myself, running my bike onto a car's path, jumping off the cliff (although I have a tremendous fear of heights), I even watched something about ways to die on YouTube. My 'sister' came to my rescue when he was in town during his R&R period - from working on a remote island. He saw me in my worst condition and said lots of things that helped me through my depression. He got me hooked on meditation and practising positive thoughts and affirmations. I managed to crawl out of the depression and grow mentally as well as physically - gained few kilos over a few months.
Looking back, I was stressing about a lot of things. Things that now seem ridiculous, laughable, petty. Issues that no longer matter, because now, I have a series of new ones to 'stress'.
When we try to define what stress is, it is the body's reaction (physical or emotional) to changes that require an adjustment or response - even positive changes.
Well, that's fucked up.
I'm not an expert on the concept of stress and change. Based on my personal experiences, I'm stressed when I don't know what's going to happen when I no longer have control or fear of the unknown. Yeah, a control freak - we all are, it's just a matter how far we are allowing ourselves to relinquish control, in my case, very little. And I realize, that was the exact cause of my overthinking process, of my anxiety problems, of my tendency to make bad decisions.
I am a control freak - or in the words of a positive-minded people - I care too much. I found that this was a better way to describe my 'freakishness', I care(d) too much.
So, with the pandemic, the breakup, the new stressors, the having-too-much-time-to-stress-about-shits, I slowly learned to let go - or in my word, to not give a tiny rat's ass about things.
"Care about the important things, let go of the rest", the best advice someone gave to me this year.
If you read my previous post on emoting, you might get the idea.
I started to let go of things, people, events, memories, and everything that I feel has been holding me back. It took some time, but the process trained my brain (and my heart) to address stressors differently, by caring less about everything and in doing so, I react less - sometimes not at all - to stressors.
In a way, my thought process now focuses on a series of simple yes/no questions, like the followings:
Does it bother me?
Can I do something about it?
Can I change what happened?
Is it worth my time and energy?
And surprisingly, most of the time, the answer is no.
Sometimes for the fun of it, I would think back to how I would react to a similar situation before. Fuming mad stressed out about it, ruining my day in the process. But now, I might still react - upset or sad about something - but then move on. It happened, nothing I can do about it.
The best thing is I care less about the shit people do - as long as it does not cross moral boundaries and impact me directly - I give no tiny rat's ass about people. And it's liberating. I sleep better.
Now I can focus my energy and time to important things, the ones that matter, like my mental health and well-being.
So, my dearest sister, Oma, remember what you said when I was super depressed?
"People can say or do things to hurt you, the question is, will you let them?"
My answer to you now, fuck no.
I learn not to stress about things anymore. Some, but not all, because it is so fucking good to let go!
Miss you Sis!