Friday, July 26, 2013

Stress and Asking for Help

Work stress and physical Fibro stress.

Work is very stressful for me at the moment.  There is much to do and so many people counting on me and my team to do what seems impossible.  A coworker called me "Superman" when he felt the stress of it all.  Although it came up when he confessed that everyone relies on me to understand and explain everything we work on, only because I didn't have an answer this particular time, I am flattered by the sentiment.  I guess I already knew I was secretly super.

Anyway, back to work stress  There are just so many factors - multiple projects, tight deadlines, new problems to figure out, new people involved, an extended absence from a key colleague - that make this a very difficult  and stressful time for me at work, even if I didn't have the additional burden of my chronic health problems to top it all off.  As we all know, I'm sure, emotional stress leads to physical stress on our fragile, fibro bodies.  I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night and could not stop thinking about work.  I felt worn out and down in the dumps about my inability to keep up with the crazy workload.  I must have sounded more upset than usual, as several, concerned coworkers noticed today and offered a kind ear.  No time for venting, though.  I had to press on.

Something I did learn today, though, is that it's really okay to ask for help.

When I finally accepted help with my top priority work today, I felt a lot better.  I mean LOADS!  Until then, I had dreaded having to admit that I needed help on this project that I was entrusted to wrap up rather quickly.  I imagined the worst-case scenarios, over and over in my head.  When emotions occupy my mind, I know from past events, that my logic degrades sharply.  The fatigue from too little sleep and pains that arise from that, also fog up my brain, preventing me from thinking clearly.  Can you relate?  I heard myself answering questions incorrectly, then correcting myself incorrectly.  I ended up sounding like I was lying, but I just could not find answers to the questions being asked.  It's a mess.

During the collaborative process, however, I felt my stressful feelings were validated because it was obvious that others realized just how daunting my task really is.  And, of course, the joint effort was also very helpful in getting me going in the right direction. We made progress figuring some of the challenges out together and forging a more specific plan for me.  After that, I was much better able to focus on the task at hand, rather than being distracted by the downward spiral of worrying and physical symptom flare-up.

I know it's difficult for some of us Type-A personalities to admit we need help, much less actually ASK for help from others when we really need it.  However, it's probably worth the risk of asking if you feel stuck in that ugly spiral.  I was lucky that help was being foisted upon me, despite my unfounded resistance.

I will work on recognizing the signs before it's too late, and remind myself that it's okay to ask for help.  Even Superman can't always do it alone.  That's why he's got Super Friends to help him out. ;)