Remedy for Stress

Rosa Martinez

Photo: Paco Murillo

HAVANA TIMES – I have read that “Stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century,” on more than one occasion.  It’s so bad for you that it can trigger many other diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stomach ulcers, muscular aches and pains and even death.

They say that nobody dies because of love, but sadness, disappointment and disillusion can kill you.

I am aware of this, so I always try to keep my mind and spirit as healthy as possible, not so much for myself, but for my daughters, who need to have happy mentally available people around them with a positive mind.

However, as much as you can try, no matter how much effort you put into resolving problems you can fix and burying the rest which you know you won’t ever be able to fix, you can still get trapped and you find yourself shouting at your child, your husband, a stranger… in a blink of an eye.

Last Thursday, I had one of those days when even the greatest and most wonderful blood moon eclipses can’t put you in a good mood. I was walking down the city’s streets depressed, searching for something to put on the dinner table when I ran into a very dear friend of mind from my high school days, who I hadn’t practically seen ever since she graduated in Nursing.

My old confidante and study buddy was still as beautiful as ever. Unlike me, her face still looked very young, she was in good shape, not to mention her clothes; she seemed to be at least 10 years younger than me.

However, I wasn’t embarrassed in the slightest about her looking younger or being more beautiful because we aren’t all the same and we don’t all age in the same way. Plus, Giselita always took great care to look after herself, she said she wouldn’t lose her shape even if she had five children, and it seems she kept her promise.

“You look tired, Rosita, in a bad mood,” she said to me straight, “What’s wrong? You are one of the most joyful and optimistic people I have ever met.”

“Well, to tell you the truth, I continue to be very playful. But, I haven’t been feeling so well these past few days,” I told her. A neighbor tells me that I’m very stressed and that I need to see a specialist, I’m very depressed.”

“Ah, I don’t stress about anything. I take life as it comes, calmly, and I also have two children, the youngest is only 4 years old,” she said trying to cheer me up.

“We aren’t all the same,” I answered. “I don’t want to worry or stress so much about the life we have as Cubans, but I can’t help it, much less when you spend two hours in line just to buy these crappy crackers.”

“Ah, my dear, do what I do; pay more and buy them from the resellers and then your problem will be solved.”

We changed the subject of our conversation and began to talk about her, about how her life had been in recent years, where she’d been working.

I was surprised to find out that she wasn’t the nurse that had graduated in 1997/8, now she was a doctor in Medicine and had gone on two missions abroad, one in Venezuela and another one in Brazil. Plus, she had married a well-known orthopedic doctor who had also been on several missions abroad and was still away on one right now.

When we said goodbye, I watched her walk off with her expensive crackers, two cans of Coca-Cola costing 1.50 CUC each, a large bar of butter which God only knows how much it cost, and many other food items she had bought at the hard-currency store and I told myself: “You’ve got to be kidding, Gisela, how in hell are you going to be stressed if you must have thousands and thousands of CUC in the bank. You’ve got more than half your life sorted out…”

One thought on “Remedy for Stress

  • What it appears that Rosa feels is missing from her own life she seems to believe exists in the life of her friend Gisela. That is to say, financial breathing room. What Gisela may lack however, in as much as she acknowledges that her husband is away on a mission to a foreign country, is the company and comfort of a husband at home. In previous posts, Rosa has expressed her contentment with her marriage and the fact that her husband is there with her. Gisela’s outward carefree attitude could be a disguise for her anxiety and loneliness borne of a marriage where one partner or the other is often abroad and the inherent vulnerabilities that come with marital separations. I think Rosa should count her lucky stars that she has a husband to come home to instead of being envious of expensive butter and crackers.

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