Posted: 7 July 2011 in observations

You guys, we are doing so great.  According to every stress score/therapist/person with common sense everywhere, my wife and I should have crumpled under the weight of our own lives lately. No, not even crumpled, steamrolled by our life.  But you want to know if you’re also doing exceedingly well, right?  Well here you go: Misters Holmes and Rahe have a scale that will tell you just how dangerously you’ve been living.  I know, just look at that*.

Here’s how it works, you get a point for every major life event you encounter and as your points rise you are considered at greater risk for stress-induced illness.  I am in fine health for a person who has racked up 358 points – well into the highest bracket – for the year. And, since I’m a person who has 453 points for the last two years ( the time which some interpreters of the scale allot) I’m doing fucking awesome.  Let’s break it down:

I’ve earned points for:
Death of a close family member (Well, two but I only gave myself points for one.  I was being generous.)
Personal injury or illness (I suppose cancer and subsequent surgery gets full points here)
Change in health of family member (Check.  My mother’s mental illness has spiraled out of control but I didn’t count my sister’s regular calls as she copes with infertility, the arthritis suddenly crippling my father’s hands, my wife’s root canal and other dental work and my mother-in-law’s stroke and heart attack.  Don’t worry – I included that in “trouble with in-laws”)
Sexual difficulties (Let’s be honest, having a kid cramps your style but what they don’t tell you is how difficult it’s going to be to get back on the same page)
Change in financial state (All of our savings?  Funeral trips and major home repairs)
Trouble with in-laws (Mother-in-law’s health, sister-in-law’s criminal behavior both actually and in her relationship with my wife)
Change in social activities (Yep, having a baby makes this automatic)
Change in sleeping habits (See above)
Change in number of family reunions (See death, illness, dying, and so forth)
Change in eating habits (See baby)
Vacation (One week from day.  You wouldn’t think this causes stress, but believe me)
Christmas (Well, yes.)

Here are the things that didn’t get me points, just for the record (THANK GOODNESS) –Death of a spouse, Divorce, Marital separation, Imprisonment, Marriage, Dismissal from work, Marital reconciliation, Retirement, Business readjustment, Change to different line of work, Change in frequency of arguments, Foreclosure of mortgage or loan, Change in responsibilities at work, Child leaving home, Outstanding personal achievement, Spouse starts or stops work, Begin or end school, Change in living conditions, Trouble with boss, Change in working hours or conditions, Change in schools, Change in recreation, Change in church activities, Minor violation of law.

And I think we can get a hallelujah for all that.

And if we take in the last two years like some folks do, I “get” to claim these extras –Pregnancy (wife’s, check), Gain a new family member (RR, check), Death of a close friend (in the past year, two folks that have had a significant impact on my life), Major mortgage (gorgeous, if rotting, house), and Change in residence (see gorgeous and rotting house).

Amazingly, this doesn’t mean there haven’t been 500 points of average, non-stress causing happiness and success.  In fact, I’m pretty damn lucky.  However, at this point I’m wondering if I need to be a little LESS lucky.

*Frankly, I’m disappointed by the lack of a Foreign Service-modified scale, since every single last one of you is living hard and fast in the scale, but we’ll just assume you get extra points just for staying alive.

  1. Patience says:

    I’ve done that scale before. The year I got married, I think I checked every box except “jail” and “divorce.” Right now I score a low 123, but the nature of my job ought to earn me 500 points a day. I guess it’s all about coping mechanisms. If you’ve got those lined up, you’re in a lot better shape than people who don’t. I hope some of the things stressing you out get better.

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