Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Advice from the Airlines

Print this and post it on the fridge.
Have you ever listened to the safety spiel they give on an airplane as you're waiting on the runway to take off? No, I don't mean taking in every ninth word an you consider whether you should really order the Miracle Tank Top Bra for $75 from the copy of SkyMall you pulled out of your seat-back. I mean really listen (well, at least to one very important statement).

"Make sure to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others."

Okay, if you're anything like me (high-strung,  a "Highly Sensitive Person," chronically anxious or depressed, etc., etc.), you know about this piece of advice. However, when my mom pointed it out to me a few years ago, it actually sunk in for some reason. I'm not saying I follow this principle like I should, but at least I know I should.

Something that happened yesterday morning brought the "oxygen mask" principle back to my front burner. Pie was in my personal space blabbering about robots while Bug was in my personal space, whining about getting dressed. Just as the noise and demands were pushing me over the edge, my husband asked, "what should I do with the clothes in the white laundry basket downstairs?" Unfortunately, I lost it. I had done three or four loads of laundry the day before, the contents of which had all run together in my mind by the end of the day. I don't remember what the hell is in the white laundry basket, so how am I supposed to tell you what to do with it? A sane person, given the same scenario, would have dealt with the kids somehow and thanked the Lord above that she had a husband who helped with the laundry. But I wasn't sane, as my fight-or-flight response was front-and-center.

After things had calmed down (and half of the family had left the house), I sat down with my laptop to research stress management techniques. Since I've looked this up hundreds of times, I knew the drill: slow, deep breaths, meditate, exercise, blah, blah, blah. Why can't I ever take any of this advice seriously? If I did, would it actually work? If I became vigilant about securing my oxygen mask first before helping others, would things get better?

There's no happy ending to this little anecdote. But for good measure, I'll share some of the information I found during my crisis. Some of these things may be worth looking into:

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