Mind Probing Bob & Marge – Stress

November 9, 2015,  77th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Seems a good time to write on stress. Kristallnacht unknown.? Google it. Kristallnacht,  a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish policy culminating  in the Holocaust–the systematic, state-sponsored extermination  of the European Jews. A terrible day not to be forgotten. Imagine yourself there, synagogues burning, Jews rounded up, beaten, murdered, broken glass everywhere.

The dreaded knock on the door. Fright, fearfulness,  alarm, panic, agitation, consternation, dismay, foreboding.  The knock leading to terror, the terror perhaps to a horrible death.  Talk about stress!!!!!!!

Today’s Mind Prober Post, Coping with Stress.

Stress  is the brain’s response to a demand. Many things  trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term.  Changes can be mild and relatively harmless; winning a race, watching a scary movie,  riding a rollercoaster. Some changes are major;  marriage or divorce, serious illness, or a car accident. Other changes are extreme, possibly leading to traumatic stress reactions.

Dealing with stress: the nerve chemicals and hormones released during  stressful times, prepares the person to face a threat……fight or flee.  If possible, yes. If not, headaches, sleeplessness, depressed mood, anger and irritability. Leading where? Depression and anger leading to violence. Violence leading to harm. Harm to death, personal, or to others.




“Pressures of everyday living probably weigh heavily on Mr. R.F,  He is likely to worry that a great number of things in life could and probably will, go wrong, Even everyday complications are seen as insurmountable problems.”

“If there is no let-up of pressure, he may resign himself to difficult situations with an attitude of helplessness.  During these times, you are likely to see him withdraw from others.  Although he needs support, he may be unable to ask directly for help.”



“Pressures and disappointments are deeply felt by Ms. M. F. Expect to see her making her distress known to everyone around.  She is likely to respond with emotional outbursts that come on like  a storm, and dry up soon afterward.”

“After her emotional bluster is over, she’ll be back to her normal self.  But be prepared for a rerun next time she feels pressure.”

Analysis and Commentary

True confession time for R. F.  Strain from living leading to stress in life and curling to a fetal position? Hmmmmmmm… Somewhat true, neither fighting nor fleeing but worrying about a great number of things?  I think, rather wobbling and indecision  at times of uncertainty and unease caused by difficulties, both at home and work. I think Mind Prober is on the track but is not as severe as it seems.  Perhaps I am in denial, I don’t know.

Back in the 1980’s, I began having recurring chest pains, so something was going wrong, I knew not what. What would you do?  Likely, see a doctor.  Exactly!! I did that and the appointment led to a referral to a cardiologist. This led to me wearing a Holter heart monitor for a day.  This in turn leading to, a cardiac ultrasound exam.  All this data funnelled to the cardiologist.  Finally, an appointment with the cardiologist reviewing all this data.  The outcome? There was nothing physically wrong with me, and next a referral to a psychiatrist. I was pleased that I did not have a disease but uneasy about a psychiatrist.

This person, a woman in early 60s at least, diagnosed me as being depressed and prescribed Prozac, a new drug then.  I had a month’s supply and my reaction was terrifically terrible. I became very agitated,  upset, approaching a manic state.  So, naturally I quit taking Prozac. In retrospect, I should have tapered off, not quit cold turkey.   Something else had gone wrong; I had it with psychiatrists.

No problems are insurmountable, there are always alternatives.  My next alternative was daily consultations with my old friend Jack Daniels.  Jack and my new  large screen TV were very helpful companions.  Old friends…….best friends.  Nothing is forever and eventually I said “So Long” to Jack.  Probably best.

Enough, I don’t like stress, but don’t give in to it either.  Some people do like stress, stress charges their batteries.  Not me.  I like to feel in control, have a plan and follow it until it needs changing if new data emerges.  I do seek opinions and ideas from others whom I value and trust.  I am an engineer, and stress can and will lead to data gathering, analysis,  an action plan, finally ending in action.  Time consuming? Yes, but it works for me.

How about Marge?  Personally, I think there is much validity in the Mind Prober report.  I will be as objective and impartial as possible. Marge left in her files enough psychological reports to fill a notebook.  While not exactly aligned with the Mind Prober categories, there are similarities.

I quote from an unidentified  source document in her files with references to DSM-III.  The DSM-III circa 1980. I copy some useful information about this document.

“In a very short period of time, mental illnesses were transformed from broad, etiologically defined entities that were continuous with normality to symptom-based, categorical diseases. The third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) was responsible for this change.”

Marge’s diagnosis included having a having a marital problem. The DSM code for a Marital Problem diagnosis include:

“a. Recurring arguments and conflict between two individuals which cause preoccupation and/or distract from activities of daily living.

b. Lack of communication and/or withdrawal between the individuals which results in frustration and/or anger.

c. Inappropriate kinds of communication between individuals which can include unrealistic expectations, withdrawal, or criticism.

d. Avoidance of the individual who is felt to be causing the stress. Individuals can spend too much time at school, work, or friends’ homes to avoid contact with the other person .

e. Stress related to threat of separation either by ‘running away’ (for a child), or marital separation (for adults).

f. Increased irritability, sleeplessness, depression, and/or social withdrawal.

g. A pattern of angry responses towards a third party, which appears to be displacement of the primary relational conflict.

h. Tearfulness, low energy, withdrawal related to concerns about the relationship.

i. Arguments which never resolve due to insufficient conflict resolution strategies.

j. Over-protection or over-involvement in another individual’s life activities secondary to a mental or medical condition of the affected individual.

k. Arguments with spouse that cause preoccupation and detract from work performance.”

Marge’s diagnosis included having an adjustment disorder.  The DSM diagnostic criteria are as follows:

“Emotional or behavioral symptoms develop in response to an identifiable stressor or stressors within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s) plus either or both of

(1) marked distress that is out of proportion to the severity or intensity of the stressor, even when external context and cultural factors that might influence symptom severity and presentation are taken into account and/or

(2) significant impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.

The stress-related disturbance does not meet criteria for another mental disorder and is not merely an exacerbation of a preexisting mental disorder.”

This text includes much impartial psychiatric verbiage. I agree with both analyses about Marge. Stress was part of our lives for a long time. This condition was not all unabated, it was similar to background noise with random occurrences of noisy outbursts. We eventually got through it. 


About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
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2 Responses to Mind Probing Bob & Marge – Stress

  1. Allan T says:

    Wow, I can see a lot of Margery’s mind prober in Janice. She tends to stress out on most things. She gets worked up, expects the worst will not un stress until “it” does not develop into anything to be stressed over. I on the other hand tend to not stress out about anything. Well, except when Janice starts to stress out on something. then I get excited, blow it off, and it is gone.
    I have developed a trash can on my shoulder; garbage in, garbage out. I do have trouble when Janice can’t find her way to doing this. I tend to feel all things that happen in life is BS.
    So wow, writing this, I guess I do stress out a lot, over Janice stressing out.
    Robert, I know you are doing this to better yourself, and put all your life down on “paper” to lay it all out. I am thankful for that, because I am using your “blog” to relate my life to myself.
    Thank you for doing this for yourself, I am making good use of it.

    • R.J.F. says:

      Thanks Allan, yeah, I am doing it for myself and it is nice that others can relate to it as well. So, worth the time I think. People have a lot in common, even if it isn’t pretty and calm…

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