I don't know how normal people deal with stress. I've seen it, of course, being in my line of work I'm in the midst of people's worst times and darkest moments. But I think people deal with things much differently than I do and it is one of the few things I cannot comprehend about other people.
When I am faced with bad news or a crisis or a problem, I immediately search for what I can do about it. I take the problem at face value, search it's limitations and boundaries, and decide on my course of action. I feel the emotion of the issue, but I can set that emotion aside to look at problem solving first. If there is something I can do to address the issue, I do it. As long as I have something tangible to do, it is a situation I can handle. The emotion is a side story that will have to wait.
However, while I am in the process of doing, while I am preoccupied and busy, it is here the emotional aspect can slip in. At first I don't notice it - the twiggling of anxiety or pain as it crawls into my sub-conscious. Of course, I recognize I should be feeling these things. I am, above all, quite introspective, but I rarely know that I am experiencing an emotion until it has fully wound itself into my very core. The worry or panic is suddenly just there - part of my being - having slowly leaked its way into my mind.
When I am finally done the "doing", I am jolted to a rather harsh stop. Suddenly the emotion that has seeped in rears back like a tidal wave and knocks me fully to the ground.
I think it is one of the reasons I have such incredible and constant headaches. The stress of each issue creeps into my head, slowly filling it to capacity. As the stress or worry grows, my mind swells under the pressure until I am in agony. Drugs rarely touch that pain because it is not something that can be affected by over the counter medications. And prescribed meds can only keep things at bay a little longer.
It is worse when I worry about things I have no control and no influence over. Then the emotion and worry work themselves into my mind while I keep up appearances of being together and calm. The mundane-ness of making myself not worry is what feeds the worry here. Contrary, I suppose, but that is how it works. I do my best not to allow it to affect me and it does its best to drop me to my knees.
I am sitting here - the image of composure, trying not to worry.