9 to 5 Poetry Project, Poem 25: Stress Sick

Hello internet people. I spent yesterday curled up on the couch sleeping off a serious stomach and back ache that was most likely the result of extreme stress. Monday I was in a daze at work, thinking every moment I would go home early and nurse my tummy. I made it through that shift, but uncharacteristically decided to have a sick day on Tuesday. I bring you a poem about the whole experience:

Stress Sick

My stomach churns, rejecting nourishment.
Can’t eat a piece of fudge—a serious sign
That something is wrong with me.
The pain trails up my spine, shooting branches
From psychological roots.

Knowing the source is no antibiotic,
Not a pill I can pop to feel better.
If I sleep through it, then maybe—just maybe—
I’ll wake up and feel okay.
First doused in sweat, then shivering.

Less than two weeks and everything changes.
A new apartment, new job.
Dragging the same old me someplace new,
And expecting new results—
Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Optimism occasionally eludes me,
Slipping through tired fingers,
Like ideas I meant to write down at work,
That fade into the distant past,
Under the hum of sizers and hangers.

Note: As I get older, it gets easier for me to keep my stressed-out thoughts away from the surface. But as a result, I often get sick to my stomach with anxiety that bubbles over, as happened the other day. This poem is about that struggle.

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