Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I'm having quite a struggle with stress these days, since I am no longer a moving target. Old strategies aren't working anymore. Keeping on the move was a very good strategy -- the bastards could never catch up with me, and since I moved randomly, they could never get ahead of me to set up an ambush --Ah, no, but I was free, "limpio y soplado" as they say in Spanish, "clean and blown."

Now I have settled into this job and determined to -- not stay forever -- but work my way out of it. Consequently I am encountering a mountain of stress -- every day. My job at the newspaper is not super stressful, just average -- but for me, it's an enormous load, having spent most of my life outside the system.

I am like everybody else now. All this was made far worse because seven weeks ago I abandoned my major No. 1 stress alleviating medicine -- cigarettes. The smoke screeen that I blew up around myself was a womb and protection against social battering -- it's gone now. It was too harsh for the lungs.

To complete the picture -- stressful job, old buddy nicotine sent packing, and holed up in a small town with NO FRIENDS, no pals, no sweeties, no partners -- just me and a lot of people who -- well, there's nothing wrong with them, and they all act really nice to me -- but the gap, the chasm, the enormous canyon between my life and theirs leaves me isolated to a higher degree than I have ever experienced in these United States. I felt more at home in Africa than I have in conservative small town Texas.

Anyhow, stress has expressed itself into a great anxiety manifesting in claustrophobia, the chief symptom being that I can't stand being inside any room except my apartment, and it feels kind of lonely here too. Plus when there are people near me, I feel dizzy and my knees begin to buckle, and I have to grab a hold of the wall or something, lest I fall down.

This is really weird. I've never felt like this before in my life. I am downright certifiable. I went to the doctor -- he was not particularly alarmed or surprised at my symptoms. He just wrote me a scrip for Zoloft. That was two weeks ago. I wanted to avoid this medicine, so I tried a lot of stress relieving activities, such as weekend camping and evening garden work, but that only helped a little bit.

It got down to quit the job and make fast tracks to the West Coast or take the pills.Today I decided to take the pills. If I turn into another person, please let me know right away, because I like myself pretty much the way I am.

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