I’m reaching the end of a long hard two year grind at work. During that time six day weeks and 55 hour weeks were not just common but the norm. The project involved me being away from home with infrequent visits and frankly stressed my skills past where I thought they would fail: the complexity is way beyond what was expected and past what I ever dealt with before. Results have been good and I’m close to wrapping up and going home. But I’m not sure how tough these last few months will be and, frankly, what I’m going to be and be like when its all over. I should feel great, perhaps exhilarated but I just feel empty.
As you might guess there are several axis of stress at work. The first obviously physiological stress: I’m tired, really tired, I need three weeks on the beach doing nothing tired. There is psychological and intellectual stress of pushing the envelope for so long: this thing has literally taken over my life and I’m nearly always thinking about it. The last axis of stress is emotional: this place has never been home and I’ve always lived with a light footprint. I know I miss my books, my music… my stuff. I also miss my wife or at least the idea of having a normal home life.
Lately I’ve found my emotions are getting harder and harder to manage. My temper is a bit frayed, and I find my emotions in general are oscillating at a level that is becoming a… distraction. I’m getting episodes of despair that can last anywhere from 5 minutes until I can get to sleep. I’ve struck up a friendship with a woman that is not inappropriate but is very intense: a phone call or a visit can elevate my mood instantly. A very empathetic friend of mine tells me that the intensity of my friendship is an artifact of physically and emotionally isolating myself for such a long time from friends, family and the familiar. This is a bit out of character for me: I've dealt with stressful situations before and I've always been able to compartmentalize my emotions and manage them.
The question is for the other NT’s is: have you ever found that deep fatigue can make it difficult to manage your emotions. If so – how do you go about managing them effectively at times of intense stress? Additionally how do you go about recovering and are there are any approaches or strategies you have found effective?