I was among those weird individuals who loved stress. While most people wanted to run away from it, I ran after it and welcomed it into my life. I did that by multitasking all the time. I was not great at that activity, but getting everything done often gave me immense pleasure.
Because of that, my friends said that I was an adrenaline junkie. I did not dabble in drugs or extreme sports, but I enjoyed stress a little too much. And if I didn’t feel pressured enough, I tend to be sluggish and bored.
I must admit that I was guilty of all that and more. If I was not dealing with a stressful situation, it felt like I was doing something wrong with my life. It was as if I was breezing through everything, and that was not okay. I had to do more things to stress myself out so that my accomplishments would be sweeter.
In Pursuit Of Stress
It all started after college. I snagged an incredible job at a multinational company as a financial consultant. I was a fresh graduate, but they gave me a chance to prove my worth after seeing all my awards in college.
The new job put a lot of activities on my plate. There were training, seminars, practical exams, etc. When the actual job started, I also talked to clients left and right, going with only a few minutes of break. My supervisor told me not to overdo it, but I insisted that I loved eating stress for breakfast.
After a short while, though, my daily activities felt a little monotonous. The number of people I met did not wane, but I had been getting used to the job too much. I felt the itch to multitask again, so I decided to open a small restaurant nearby.
Didn’t I know that being a restaurateur was a demanding task? Yes, of course! That’s the primary reason why I chose to venture into this business. I could have opened a café, which was not too busy, but I had to go big to feed my stress hunger.
When Stress Became Too Much For Me
There were so many things I could have done to make my life easier as an entrepreneur. For instance, I could have rented an establishment in good condition. I could have bought ready-made tables and chairs. More importantly, I could have hired a manager to help me screen the people applying for jobs at the restaurant.
But no – I opted for an establishment that needed a lot of renovation. I also asked a company to customize the furniture that would go in the restaurant. And I did all the job posting and hiring myself instead of asking a friend or relative to help me with that. The result was that my stress level became too much before I could even launch my new business.
How did I know that it was too much, you might ask? Well, I developed acne again, for one. I thought I was over it when I went past 18, but it returned with a vengeance. Aside from appearing on my face, pimples also appeared on my back and chest, which was both painful and embarrassing.
My headaches were on another level as well. I used to get them before, but they would go away once I took a nap. This time, though, I could take a pill and sleep, and then I would feel it again as soon as I woke up.
Worse, my immunity level went down. I was not quick to catch the flu in the past if I ever got rained on or soaked in sweat. However, most likely, I would cough or sneeze due to stress, even if I only stayed under the sun for less than an hour.
When I went to our family doctor, I told her every symptom I experienced. After giving me a flu shot, she said, “I need to be honest with you. You have way too many things on your plate, and I’m worried for you. Would you mind seeing my daughter, who is a psychologist and therapist?”
Who was I to say no to that? In truth, before contacting my doctor, I thought of doing the same thing. I could no longer justify my need for stress since it had affected my health adversely.
The mental health professional informed me that stress – like any substance – could become addictive. That’s what I had been dealing with, but no one might have thought to give me an intervention because it was not a common form of addiction. Still, it was damaging me from the inside, so I should treat it at once.
I stayed in therapy for a year. I knew it would seem long for some, but loving stress was a deep-seated issue that I could not let go of overnight. There were times when I did not think it was even possible, but I was lucky to have the support of my therapist and family.
I eventually left my corporate job and focused on my restaurant. It was still somewhat stressful, but I could handle it now.