By Nancy Virden (c)2022
What a hypocrite. Me.
I am sitting here with a swollen jaw due to the drama of the past two days. TMJ reacts to stress. The bigger the swollen area, the more stress caused it. Today, my jaw is puffed up enough to cover the sight of my ear.
I talk and write a lot about how to lower stress and maintain peace in anxious moments. Today I failed to practice what I preach. It is not that the tools did or did not work, but that I did not use any! Yep, hypocrite.
My car stopped working three weeks ago. Yesterday it was towed and dropped off at the wrong place. Finding this out two hours later, it took some phone work to get it from a Mazda dealership (I do not own a Mazda) to an Infinity dealer who has worked on it before. Turns out the problem with my Sentra was a recall issue and Infinity was not allowed to fix it. It sat overnight with the keys in it for a tow to pick it up this morning. Finally, my car and I were at the right Nissan dealership together.
I thought I was fine despite these events. After all, my car was being fixed, my house did not burn down, and nobody died. Everyone who has an anxiety disorder knows that comparing one’s troubles to the world’s and deciding one has no right to be stressed, DOES NOT HELP. Sorry for the shout, but this is #1 on the stress relief do-not-do list.
The 2nd warning on that list might be to try to stop worrying. That makes matters worse. Without my mental health tools in use, I was dramatizing the drama.
Intending to speak with a salesperson, for twenty minutes I waited. Never before have I entered a car dealership showroom and not been instantly swarmed by potential salespeople. Annoyance at being ignored piled on the denied frustrations of earlier and began to explode in my jaw.
“Do you have anyone selling cars today?” I asked the manager.
Rob came over, taking my snarkiness in stride. I complained. Rob just spoke softly and asked what I wanted. My thoughts were angrier. No apology? Not even a polite one? Why is his voice so soft- is he trying to pacify me?
If my car had not been in service I would have left. He explained that the reason I could not have the car I wanted at the price I was asking is because of the car shortage. In other words, supply is lower than demand. That is what shoots prices way up; maybe it also makes salespeople slow on the showroom floor.
My weekly conference meeting failed tonight due to technical difficulties. There are new people to meet tomorrow. Amid financial decisions and family issues, was it too late to stop this stressful reaction?
What I could have done earlier that you can do
I began to practice what I preach:
- Long, deep breaths
- Focus on breathing
- Place attention on something pleasing
- Talk to someone
Yes, it works. Prayer helps too.
Next time (because there is no end to dramatic stressors), I am determined to remember my mental health toolbox. I am going to place keywords around the house, on my phone, on the laptop, and in the car. You can do this too, and perhaps we can keep the anxiety, stress, (and TMJ) to a minimum.
Today’s Helpful Word
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -Jesus
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, COPYRIGHT © 1996, 2004, 2015 BY TYNDALE HOUSE FOUNDATION. USED BY PERMISSION OF TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC., CAROL STREAM, ILLINOIS 60188, PER BIBLE GATEWAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.BIBLEGATEWAY.COM/