The new normal

I believe that prolonged exposure to a lot of things can normalise them. Over time, we internalise them as ‘the new normal’, and we just get on with it. The ramifications of this idea are huge in general, but I’m only thinking about it on a tiny scale based on how I’ve been feeling recently.

(And the reason I’m thinking about this is entirely not kink related: Kink?! On a kink blog? DON’T BE RIDICULOUS!)

I used to work in a very stressful job. Other than ridiculous hours, lots of long-haul travel, heavy responsibilities, complicated problems, and huge budgets, it was especially stressful for an introvert like me because it involved a lot of ‘schmoozing’. You know schmoozing: when you have to socialise with clients so that they like you and want to do business with your company. Ugh. I was good at it (I’m very likeable you know!), but it was hateful.

My ‘normal’ was just a big pile of stress, all of it, all the time. No big deal.

Now I have pretty much no stress in my life. It’s completely lovely. That’s ‘the new normal’.

But the downside of that is that now when I have some relatively minor stress in my life, it feels like a behemoth and my entire body reacts like it’s the end of the world. I’m a bucket of jangly nerves and distraction. I can’t think about anything else, I can’t sleep, I can’t relax, I just turn it over in my head: over and over and over. It loops round and round, showing slightly different variations each time. And then because I can’t sleep, my tired cranky brain cycles it up. It is fucking exhausting. And wow, does it ever make me boring. Because I can’t think about anything else.

My ‘new normal’ has robbed me of whatever coping skills I had that enabled me to deal with stress. It’s like how muscles atrophy if you don’t use them and after a while, you struggle to lift even the lightest things.

So the catalyst for this post: I’ve been having some turmoil around my living situation. Hopefully it will all be sorted by tomorrow.

But in the meantime, I have been feeling like a spiky self obsessed mess. Those close to me have had a running litany of random blurting and an utter lack of interest in anything to do with anything else. It’s like a rude and distracted and (even more) selfish version of me has been stalking around demanding attention.

I’m lucky, it happens rarely, but boy is it ever a wake up call when it does. I probably need to find ways to exercise those skills or one day I’ll find myself curled up in the foetal position in the corner because I forgot to buy coffee*.


*This, by the way, is a bad example because that seems an entirely reasonable reaction to not having coffee in the house.



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  1. Regarding coffee, yes. I’m in a fetal position merely contemplating forgetting to buy coffee, let alone, actually failing to do so.

  2. I have a different theory. I think if people live under sustained stress for s long time they kind of get do topped out it imprints. So even if you remove the stressors their system remembers. And that’s the level they stay at and then in a more simple life even the tiniest thing triggers them from a peak level. I’ve seen it in two people close to me. I don’t think it’s about just removing stress and the impact goes away. It’s about healing so you are empty of it, and perspective returns. Two different things. This was good writing. You sound an utter horror. I’m picturing Catweazle ;-)

  3. Hopefully you’ll have the strength to put these stressey issues in perspective & be able to tower over them & see the them as malleable little bits of Play Doh to be shaped/discarded as you will. You are greater!

  4. I’m sorry you’re experiencing that kind of stress but perhaps like muscle memory, your ability to handle it will come back quickly.
    What your post made me think of was the normalization of a stressful marriage. It was only after I got out of mine that I realized the level of stress I was dealing with. And now that we aren’t together anymore, at the times when he and I get into an argument I feel that instant bodily reaction – and boy am I glad I don’t have that all the time now.

    I hope your stuff gets sorted soon, my lovely friend.


    1. Thank you, and yes it’s sorted *smile*.

      And YES to the comparison with your stressful marriage.

      I think it’s often not until you are out of situation and you recalibrate that you can see it clearly. I think a lot of those things creep up slowly, so you just ‘adjust-adjust-adjust’ and don’t realise how far you’ve moved. I kind of assume that it’s a necessary human coping mechanism and some people are better at it than others.


  5. Learning to play a musical instrument keeps the mind fit. Workout for the mind, so to speak. Keeps it in top shape ready to deal with anything. If you have time, perhaps include it as part of your workout.

    When Einstein stuck on something he played violin and the solution would come to him magically. All the education he had? Pfftt. It was violin that made him smart.

    Though I don’t recommend learning violin. Keyboard instruments or guitar is much easier to produce pleasant sound.

    Brain is the largest sex organ. So it’s entirely appropriate to talk about keeping it in top shape in a kink blog. I’m not being ridiculous now, am I?

    1. @Her Subject: Ha! Not ridiculous at all.

      I have a theory that playing piano made me better at maths. I can see that kind of brain-exercise being positive in many ways.


    1. Thank you for your fascinating and valuable contribution. It wasn’t boring at all.

      Though with the all caps and three exclamation points, your passionate declaration about how boring it is seems dangerously close to excitement…


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