By J. G. Martinez D.
The different events one has to endure when facing a difficult and prolonged situation usually take a toll on our body, and of course on our psyche. I have changed, had some noticeable declination in my health, and although have been able to deal with it, I don´t feel the same I used to be. There are plenty of reasons.
And maybe exposing my personal experience, I can help someone else to avoid a negative change. It is complicated and quite uncomfortable to do it, but maybe it will be therapeutic, somehow. (I hope so!). I know there are plenty of readers supporting me and my family. Or what´s left of it though.
Stress will challenge you.
It will make your mood to be…swift changing, at best. It will make you get emotional in the less expected (and awkward) moment, making you feel uncomfortable as a minimum, and making your decisions much harder to take. If you allow it will erode your relationships with all around you: spouse, children, parents, friends, acquaintances. I never was a talkative guy at the beginning of any relationship with someone, friend, nor anyone, though. A lot of trust and knowing the other person was needed first, for me to talk with confidence and fluidity.
Constant worrying about many things has such an effect on your character. It affects you deeply, and those effects remain for too much time. I´ve been feeling them for quite some time. The effect I hated the most is in the relationships with our children.
Being constantly irritable was never common in my life until the effects of collapse started to be evident all around us, and the alarm clock started a regressive counting. I was aware, and even so, my then-partner told me to cool off a little bit. And I think I´m a good dad, after all…Unless you´re gifted with exceptionally good parenthood skills, your patience will be tested, once, and then again, and again. It will make your nights long and your sleeping time short. Every symptom you could have researched, you will have it. There is no way to escape unless you´re exceptionally strong and resilient. Which I am not. I like to think as being a regular middle-class professional Latin guy (not too Latin average) with hopes and dreams like everyone else, nowadays living a bad season.
There are ways to mitigate the stress of being in a potentially stressful situation.
The most common method, and the one that has worked for me, is acceptation of facts we can´t change.
Assimilating what happened, once and for all, and accepting that everything I´ve done and will do, is for the good of my family. Much reduced now, though.
I found that hand washing my clothes while listening to some music in my headphones is helpful. Getting our minds occupied with simple manual labor seems to do something soothing in our brains. I have never been anxious, but sometimes I feel I just need to do something. There is a feeling of being powerless because I can´t do anything else but to rack my brain out trying to find ways to find some money to keep my son well-fed, and buy my medicines, his vitamins, clothing, and school supplies…you get the picture. The political situation is nowadays more complicated than ever. It´s hard to foresee what will happen in my country. I believe many readers sympathize with me, as they analyze as thoroughly as I do. Those are the reasons that have been affecting me.
I want to make this point very clear. Maybe you will have lived in complicated situations. Perhaps some of them really hard and some can think than even worse than what I have been facing. But you will have to believe in my words when I tell you that having to bug out or flee will raise your standards for the definition of stress to a level as you will never have experienced before.
It’s hard to imagine stress in my secluded and peaceful cottage.
Even though with all the political climate running in Venezuela these days…I believe it could be bearable. That will be resolved sooner or later. But in the meantime, things we stopped living and the lost years, seem to be a price too high. Borders were not closed, as I once feared, and was the main reason to flee away, looking for greener pastures that were not as green once we arrived…because of the millions of other Venezuelans who did the same. Good paying jobs were not available to foreigners in the place we arrived.
And the worst part, the stress of having so far away home, without any possibility to improve a declining financial situation. This year was awful for the local economy. Had I had some vice, it would have been a serious impact on my health, just to make things worse. But God has been so good with me, that I consider my body a temple, and try to keep it well maintained to be a good example for my kiddo. And I mean TRY.
I have read something about stress management. Most of that material is written for job-related stress. I´ve been there. It has peaks. It has constant pressure, but you can learn to relief it upon arriving home. And pick it up back the next morning, usually.
I want to issue a warning.
I am not a guy prone to depression. Or I don´t think I am. But if someone reading this has had issues with it, you better collect your stuff together. It´s going to be much easier to suffer depression once something has happened. A few months after you have been out of your regular routine is all that it takes.
Anyway, all of this has come to shake me, and the self-knowledge of my strengths has taken a new dimension. Handling all of these emotions and feelings, being powerless…I would feel much better in a country where the language was not my native. You may ask why. Easy. Because of the feeling of being treated as a foreigner (not exactly bad, nor with disrespect, on the contrary, but I must add…for those who haven´t seen my videos, as far as I don´t speak too much, I can blend in here) for someone who understands me perfectly. It´s much easier being treated as a foreigner without speaking the native language of the place. Much more…comprehension of the circumstances perhaps? I can’t tell.
On the other hand and under the light of the recent events and setbacks in my life, suddenly the idea of planting tomatoes for sale in the town market and some chickens start to look better and better. I know exactly what conditions I am going to find. I´ve done extensive research for several months with friends all over the country. It´s another way I found to mitigate the stress, as I can sketch some plans to overcome obstacles.
There is no toilet paper or is this too expensive? There are plenty of people trading hand-made soap, and we have plenty of space for storing rainwater. Use your imagination. There´s no shampoo nor money to buy it? Nature provided us in the tropics with several bushes and plants with roots that can be used for that, much more natural and without harming our skins nor contaminating our soil.
We can use that greywater to irrigate our garden. No money for laundry detergent? I spent some quality time on the internet with my kiddo, and we discovered a tree, widely spread across Venezuela, including our home state, which provides small nuts that can be used for that because of their high “saponin” content. You should have seen the smile in his little face when we were reading about this. He´s happy because despite his age he KNOWS this sort of stuff will allow him to come back home. The home he misses so badly, where he used to grill sausages in a small fire under the clear, pristine, clear sky, hearing the wind blowing within the trees.
I have a strong feeling you´ll find the next articles (hopefully written from my cottage) quite interesting.
And I want to tell you, how happy to have you here with me on this journey. You´ve been great readers, with all that support and encouragement you show us.
Someday my kiddo will be able to read it and will be grateful too.
Thanks for your attention, your reading, and all that love, comprehension and solidarity you show. Truly appreciated.
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations: paypal.me/JoseM151