I had a kind of break-through into figuring out why I am stressed out. I believe it goes all the way back to 25 years ago when I was suffering from depression. It was a situational depression, although possibly triggered by pregnancy hormones. Once I was through the depression, anything that reminded me of the situation made me feel very anxious. These things included being over-scheduled and losing my identity in the rush of duties.
Sure enough, these are the same things that trigger it now. If I have a conflict between things I need to do for a family member and things I'm expected to do for greater society, or between school and church, or teaching lessons and doing things that would make home more pleasant, I begin to feel anxious.
And if I spend too much time doing duties and not enough time knitting, reading, and stuff like that, I start feeling anxious.
Back then I was so busy being mom, wife, missionary, and community member that I lost track of who I was. Writing was part of my therapy, and so was my dip into the world of computer programming. Today my therapy involves getting a degree in music composition and knitting. And sometimes schoolwork makes me feel anxious, too, because once you've paid that class fee, that becomes a duty, too.
So now I know what I'm afraid of, when I begin to feel anxious. I'm afraid of letting people down. I'm afraid of losing myself.
The next step is to decide what to do about it. I kind of like the idea of babying myself and avoiding the stress-producing situations. For right now, I might just do that.