By Nick Lang
Stress is a terrifying force of mystery and power; it is incredible to see the lengths that stress will go to just to show us that we are in fact stressed. The cold is a virus, and as a virus it has full jurisdiction to physically fuck with our bodies as it pleases – so though it can be just a mere speck of liquid it can make our joints ache, our nose dribble, our throat sore and our brain hurt. Yet we must succumb to this because it is a virus, and therefore a physical force that has inhabited our body. Stress however is not real (in a physical sense); it is a non-entity, but it has just as much, if not more, power to physically affect us than most viruses. People who are stressed about anything from something serious like the loss of a loved one, to something seemingly trivial like what they are going to eat before they go out to avoid having to take a shit in a club toilet (probably with its very own urine lake in each cubicle), can be physically transformed by this mental exertion. The amount of times that I, and many others like me, have gone to their doctor with the thought of only days to live, only to be asked: “Do you have an exam coming up? Yeah, it’s probably that.”
“Let me get this straight doctor; I have been sick every day for five days, I have hives all over my face, neck and back, I have violent mood swings, I feel like I swallowed a cheese grater (and my arse feels like it came out of the other end too), I lose at least my body weight, maybe more, in liquid every time I blow my nose, and it feels like there’s a party in my brain and everyone’s throwing up… And this brutal, remorseless, unquenchable plague that has befallen me and that will undoubtedly soon rob me of my young life is the fact that I have an exam this week?!?!”
The other aspect of stress that makes it such a formidable adversary is the fact that it’s so elusive. You can have puss spewing from your eyes and huge boils all over your body, and yet have no idea that the root of this horrible affliction is simply your concern over meeting your girlfriend’s parents. Why? Because you had absolutely no idea that it bothered you so much, but your sub-conscious knows all, and it is the one who’s pulling the strings. So surely then, in a Freudian way, by realising that this is the case by discussing it with another person you should be able to free yourself from it’s shackles, right? Wrong. It seems so often the case that the only way to rid yourself of stress is for the event at the source of your troubles to come and go. Until that time you are, and always will be, stress’ bitch.
About the author: Nick Lang is a Sociology graduate from the University of Sussex. He is currently training to be a teacher, and lives in London.