How Not To "Cope"

I’m overwhelmed. Slowly sinking. And over the past 32 years have developed frighteningly inadequate coping skills. Who knew trying to buy a foreclosed house in Tennessee owned by a bank in Texas which hasn’t been occupied for two years while trying to secure financing through a non-profit advocacy organization would end up being a process that closely resembles a full time job?!

Never mind that I already HAVE a full time job. A job that requires my nearly undivided attention at least 8 hours every day. And while some may be operating under the misconception that architects just sit at drafting tables drawing pretty pictures all day, my job is actually fairly demanding, and often stressful enough to warrant alcohol... or tears... or oreos.

In addition to my full time job for which I am paid, AND my new full time job dealing with bankers, realtors, contractors, inspectors, and NACA every goddamn hour of every goddamn day of the week, I am also trying to help a friend rent her house out here in Nashville. Under normal circumstances, this would not be a big deal. However, responding to emails and phone calls and requests from interested parties and then trying to schedule a time for those parties to view the house while I’m simultaneously responding to phone calls and generating emails and creating project scopes and trying to schedule times to meet with contractors and inspectors, and wading through the murky swamps of not only NACA red tape, but foreclosure red tape, trying desperately to meet our inspection deadline and our closing deadline, while trying to competently coordinate with structural engineers and fire safety code professionals and making sure proximity cabinets are shown on the plan the way the hospital wants them, and taking conference calls with elevator construction vendors and preconstruction managers and hospital equipment vendors while trying to help design a building that functions safely and efficiently and looks halfway fucking decent…

and that’s when the drowning sensation swirls around me and I panic and start gasping for air.

Believe it or not, in person, I’m not much of a complainer. I’ve always been of the opinion that my stress, my problems, my busy-ness is no worse than anyone else’s. Right? I mean, we all have shit to deal with and my shit isn’t any more important or special than anyone else’s shit. Which is why I don’t complain. Which is why I complain here instead. If I didn’t do it here, the consequences of keeping this stuff to myself could be catastrophic.

I’ll keep treading because I have no other choice and because I’m just being a big whiny baby, and what the hell would I do if I REALLY had stress? You know, the serious kind of stress that people everywhere have to deal with everyday. Like losing my job or losing a loved one or not having clean water or enough food or a safe place to sleep.

You would think that putting my piddly problems into perspective like that would snap me out of my navel-gazing stress, but oddly it doesn’t. Instead, it makes me feel like a horrible person. Like, how dare I complain about the stress in my life when, compared to A LOT of people, I have it really good. So then, in addition to the stress that has not dissipated, I berate myself for being so ungrateful, so self-important, so grossly self-absorbed. Yeah, it’s vicious. And totally unhealthy and unproductive. And the kicker is that I realize how stupid I’m being, so then on top of the stress and self battery, I further chastise myself for being so self indulgent as to even waste the time and energy berating myself about something so completely inconsequential. And then I feel insignificant and inadequate and want to crawl under the covers of my bed and devour 3 pints of ice cream.

Coping skills? What coping skills?


Mars Girl said...

Awww, Cathryn, if it's any consolation, house buying is a really stressful, demanding process even when it's going smoothly. You're constantly called by the realtor and you have to fax about fifty forms 100x times because things keep changing. It's just a big hassle, which is why everyone you ever know who was buying a house sounded like, for a month or two, they were going to pull all their hair out or jump out a window... It's one of the most stressful things you do... A wedding is the second most stressful thing, just to warn you, unless you are going to elope... (I wont even delight you with woeful tales of relative stress that occurs ON the days leading up to the wedding... man, I've got stories about that stressful nightmare and had I to do it all over again, I would have eloped).

But, anyway. Dont beat yourself up. Your stress may not be that of someone elsewhere struggling to sustain an existence, but it doesnt make it any less valid. And it's good to vent. I've suffered the loss of a loved one and I dont feel you are selfish or self-centered. ;)

boty said...

it's funny because if you didn't have all this stress, you wouldn't know what to do with yourself...you would be paranoid as shit! We thrive on being overwhelmed!

Gibbarella said...

i am sorry! I love you....I know when it rains it pours...I know that half of that stress is my fault....Let me carry it cafra.....please dont feel obligated to anything....if you cannot answer the phone or email or cannot show the house dont...i promise I will not be upset.....My dad will be available to come up all next week so he can take the load off of you....I feel like a big shit putting this stress on you....If I can ever help you in any way let me know

mom said...

Here's a big hug just for you.
Love you.