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"Not Dead Yet"…*

Please forgive me.

I should have written earlier. Updated you ~ but I’ve been utterly overwhelmed with this downsizing. Dry. Distressed.

It’s no fun. Fun and I aren’t friends, right now.

Between teaching, packing, signing and initialing an unending stream of financial and legal documents plus all the countless details involved in moving, I’ve neglected you.

Keeping up with your comments simply isn’t enough. So here I am to assure you that I’m still here, sort of…

The Stress Scale…

A few weeks ago, Dr. Bob and I were talking about the “stress of moving” and how it’s right up there on the scale of life’s most savage stresses. The scale in question is the infamous Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Everyone talks about it. It’s apocryphal. So I decided to look it up and see exactly where “moving house” ranks on it, in relation to losing a spouse or a child or a parent or a limb or pregnancy or Christmas.

And guess what…

“Changing residence” didn’t even make the Top 10…

There is no designation on this scale for “involuntary shock downsizing” because, as far as I’m concerned, the person I trusted to advise me financially can’t plan what to have for lunch, let alone how to invest my now severely depleted life savings due to utter ineptitude. Plus I can be blindly trusting sometimes.

I’m a severe arithmophobe…

When it comes to anything numerical, especially fiscal, I’m blind. I freeze. I consider myself a complete idiot. This is an exaggeration, I’m constantly told. Who knows? This is how I feel. This is my truth. If anyone else feels otherwise, that’s their truth. There is no one absolute truth, but many truths. We all have our own truths. Though in all honesty, I’m extremely adept at handling what  little money I have. The irony is, the less money I have, the more monetarily meticulous I am. Brilliant, in fact. Go figure.

Through all of this banking business, I have discovered that my credit rating is up in the ether somewhere. Stellar. In other words, I pay my bills. I cannot sleep unless they’re paid. I hate owing money. That’s the problem, too. Sometimes borrowing can be fiscally smart, if money is cheap, I’ve learned. Too late.

Back to Holmes and Rahe and their stress scale…

Back in 1967, when psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed their scale, the world was a different place. For one thing, credit and credit cards as we know them today were in their infancy.

And in case you weren’t aware of it, and I’m sure you are, overspending, going on wildly uncontrolled shopping sprees, is a well-established symptom of bipolar disorder ~ particularly the manic phase. I’m only manic. I do not get depressed. Distressed? Yes. Anxious? Big time. Hysterical? Often. The blues, absolutely. But not clinically depressed. Ever. So for me, spending has been a real problem. I admit this.

Today, however, it’s a societal problem. We are a consuming society. It starts from birth.

Back in 1967, it did not.

So monetary stresses didn’t rank all that high because people simply couldn’t get into that much trouble ~ or didn’t ~ compared to today. So the first mention of any financially-related issue, on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, is “dismissal from work” and it’s eighth on the list with 47 points.

Here’s the point. ..

The Stress Scale isn’t hierarchical. It’s not a ranking of which stress is worse than the other. It works on a cumulative points system. The whole point of the scale is that it’s a predictor of illness. Physical and, especially emotional. And subsequent research ever since then has proven the validity of this test, many times.

Every “life event” on the scale ~ and there are 43 in all ~ is given a points value, with “death of a spouse” on the top at 100 points. “Divorce” is next with 73 points. “Marital separation” is third with 65 points.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you’re are “dismissed from work” (47 points) and then you have to “change residence” (20 points). You would have a total score 67 on The Stress Scale.

So, why am I so wildly stressed? Why am I having to medicate myself to keep my anxiety at bay? Why am I having temper tantrums and driving my husband more crazy than usual.

The stresses of guilt…

Tune-in next time, which I hope is very soon, and I’ll let you know. Right now, I’m going downstairs to pack up my kitchen.

I think of you often and another of my stresses which is not anywhere on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, is guilt over not blogging often enough right now…

*I have borrowed the title of this post from one of my all-time favourite books, the hilarious, uproariously, laugh-out-loud and yet poignant page-turner Not Dead Yet, by my dear friend Dr. Robert Buckman‘s “unauthorized autobiography.”

Though there is no connection whatsoever between his story and mine, right now I feel the title fits. Just looking at the cover of the book, as I am right now (it’s not yet packed) makes me laugh. And I need to laugh. Desperately. As does he, whenever we speak. Which hasn’t been lately. He is also my “spirit doctor” besides being a renowned oncologist and educator. But that’s another story.

"Not Dead Yet"…*

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2010). "Not Dead Yet"…*. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jul 2010
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