20 Chapter One
appearances, but something is missing. You find it hard to care
as much, or as deeply, as you once did about your work. As time
goes by, you realize that you’ve been down so long that it’s hard
to remember up. You feel depressed. That feeling may be fleeting
or it may hang on like a nit to a strand of hair. If your feelings
of depression are ongoing, it is important that you reach out for
the help you need. There is nothing wrong with asking for help
when you need it.
At times the feelings of stress and anxiety build to the point
where you need to take the edge off in order to function at all.
There are times when you simply need to escape from your
its. Methods of escape vary for each of us. Maybe you take the
edge off with chocolate, wine, or exercise. Maybe you need to
veg out with a few hours of Law and Order reruns a few nights
a week. Maybe cruising the Internet helps to clear your head.
Maybe five minutes alone in the bathroom without someone
twisting the doorknob and asking, “whatchadoin? whatchadoin?
whatchadoin?” is your idea of escape. As stress builds, we begin
to feel empty, and escape activities are a quick way to put gas
into our tanks.
Chronically stressed people often rely so heavily on their favor-
ite escape activity that it becomes an addiction. A few pieces of
chocolate now and then can turn into an eating disorder; drinks
after work once in a while can turn into alcoholism; buying a
sexy pair of shoes every few weeks can turn into an uncontrol-
lable urge to shop. Escaping from your stress feels good and you
want to feel good all the time, which can end up in your losing
control over your life.
Tensions WiTH faMily and friends
The tension with family and friends that Tasha and I experi-
enced while we were burning out was incredibly painful and
numbing. It’s sad, but the more stress and burnout increase, the