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    Addicted to Stress We live in a society that makes any choice besides pushing through the pain ve...
Addicted to Stress
by JILL RICHARDSON
Apr 01, 2015 | 21 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Addicted to Stress

We live in a society that makes any choice besides pushing through the pain very difficult.

Jill Richardson

Not long now until freedom — or temporary freedom, anyway.

I’m just one month away from the end of my first year in graduate school. It’s my first year out of a projected six, if I complete my PhD.

In theory, it was a great idea to move from California to Wisconsin to attend one of the best sociology programs in the country.

Five to seven years of sacrifice could mean a lifetime of doing what I want — researching, writing, and teaching — and getting paid well for it, assuming I get a good job. That’s a likely outcome if I finish my degree at the University of Wisconsin, given its outstanding reputation.

In practice, it’s miserable.

I don’t wish to malign my school, my program, or even Wisconsin. I don’t think they’re the problem.

The problem is living 2,000 miles away from my closest friends, a social support network that took years to build up. I’ll find friends in Wisconsin, but relationships like the ones I left take time.

That’s half the problem. The other half is graduate school itself.

Overwhelmed by Stress

puck90/Flickr

As a 34-year old, going back to the classroom just plain stinks. There’s much more to say about that, but no doubt many people reading this already know what it’s like to wake up daily to go to a job you hate.

One part of my brain deals with graduate school rationally. “I can do this,” I tell myself. “Just three more semesters of classes. Two down. Three to go.” And I’ll spend all of my breaks — over four months each year — at home in San Diego.

Why forego a long-term goal because of a little bit of short-term pain?

This is the attitude that American culture endorses. It’s a value I learned from my parents, both by listening to their words and observing their actions. Odds are, you did too.

And when people push themselves, we celebrate them. Nobody ever asks the CEO who worked her way up from the mailroom if she took enough time for herself along the way.

But so much work comes at a cost.

The stress of attending graduate school far from home is physically and mentally breaking my body down.

For me, this reaction to stress is nothing new. It’s just the first time I’ve connected my chronic aches and pains to their emotional sources. I deal with stress by clenching my jaw and tightening every muscle in my head, neck, shoulders, back, legs, and feet.

For decades, I did it without even noticing it. Now that I’m aware I do it, I don’t know how to change. I can unclench my jaw, although I have to continually pay attention to keep it that way. I don’t even know how to relax my legs and feet.

The predictable results are daily migraines, a chronic inflammation of my Achilles tendons, and gastrointestinal problems.

Additionally, it seems my immune system is depressed, as cuts and scrapes on my body aren’t healing and I can’t seem to kick a cough I contracted several weeks ago.

Can I complete three more semesters of classes without doing irreparable harm to my body? I don’t know.

What I do know is that we live in a society that makes any choice besides pushing yourself through the pain very difficult. And that’s not good for any of us.

We ought to congratulate those who take a step back to care for themselves, rather than shaming them. Because if we can’t support people who care for their own needs, we’re not really thinking long-term at all.

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix ItOtherWords.org.

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RYAN MCCRIMMON, The Texas Tribune

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House Approves $503 Million Boost to Current Budget
by RYAN MCCRIMMON, The Texas Tribune
Apr 01, 2015 | 21 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

House Approves $503 Million Boost to Current Budget

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. 

After an 18-hour marathon Tuesday night to sign off on a $210 billion two-year state budget, lawmakers were back in the Texas House on Wednesday afternoon for a bit of unfinished business: plugging holes in the current budget.

First, the House gave final approval to its 2016-17 budget — which won't be a done deal until that chamber finds common ground with the Senate. Then, House lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of a measure to fill unexpected gaps in the 2014-15 budget with excess revenue — a standard procedure every two years.

The supplemental budget, House Bill 2 by House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Otto, R-Dayton, would address more than $1 billion in state needs by shifting funds from one agency to another and providing an additional $503 million for fiscal year 2015, which ends in August. The bill appropriates $280 million from general revenue funds — the part of the budget lawmakers have the most control over — and the rest from federal funds. 

The supplemental budget would provide the state's Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) with $456.7 million for Medicaid services, including $252.8 million moved from the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Department of State Health Services and other HHSC purposes. The original version of the bill would have taken that money from mental health services and health services for women and children — a proposal criticized by several members of the House Appropriations Committee — but that provision was changed in committee. 

The bill also provides an extra $768 million for the foundering health care system for retired teachers and $20.6 million for the Texas Facilities Commission to address major maintenance needs, including $11 million for the Texas School for the Deaf, where buildings suffer from rodent infestations and broken fire alarms

State budget officials told the Appropriations Committee last month that the leftover funds were due to higher federal funding than expected and programs that couldn’t spend all of their money on time. This year’s proposed $503 million supplemental budget is much smaller than the 2013 supplement that passed the House at $875 million and grew to $5.4 billion in the Senate, including $2 billion for the state water plan. 

After slogging through more than 350 proposed amendments to the 2016-17 budget late Tuesday night, House members spent little time Wednesday debating amendments to the 2015 supplemental budget, eventually adding four.

After members voted 148-0 to pass HB 2, Otto, a certified public accountant, said he enjoyed his first time as the House’s head budget writer “like a hog in a mud puddle.”

He has more work ahead; the House and Senate will have to put their heads together to find version of both bills that are amenable to their members — and Gov. Greg Abbott

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/01/house-reconvenes-take-unfinished-budget-business/.

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April 01, 2015
The children are important to stop the spread of homosexuality. Need to be teaching them what is proper in the eyes of GOD. Homosexuality has and is spreading across the nation. It is wrong. It is an abomination in the sight of GOD. Matthew 24:12, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Men will not turn to GOD. They have turned unto fables, unto corruption, and their minds are not on things of GOD. Mens' minds have gone so far that they lust after other men. Women are lusting after other women and committing that which is wrong in the sight of almighty GOD. Let us all determine to stamp out (bring down) this sin and corruption. My Friends, If homosexuality was right, where would you and I be today? If our fathers and mothers had done such things, we would not be here. We wouldn't be here doing the things of GOD. Homosexuality could never be right. What would we be teaching out children if we were backing up this kind of sin? Let us all with one determination stand against this wrong in this country. Let us all with one accord cry out with all our hearts, "We do not desire this kind of lifestyle. It is wrong in the sight of almighty GOD." Let us call on the people, the brothers and sisters, the neighbors, and let them know that if this thing continues, all will be brought to judgment.