When I went looking for reasons behind the stress, I came to the realization that some of it is due to a lack of solitude. I've always been a solitary creature. As a child, I dove into books rather than hang out with other kids. I cherish time spent with a friend or two over that spent with large numbers.
The way things are working at the house these days, I have little solitude. I come home, get Ericka her morning medication and go to sleep. While I'm asleep, Ericka's helper comes so any time I wake up, there's someone in my house doing various cooking and cleaning things. When I'm finally up for good, I make Ericka dinner, make something for myself (rarely these days do I eat whatever it is I make for Ericka), feed the dog, feed the cat. If I'm lucky, I get all this done by 7 PM and I've got three and a half hours before I have to start preparing for work.
I usually use that time to watch a movie or some TiVo'd programs or read for a bit. Unfortunately, I'm frequently interrupted. Ericka needs one thing or another. The dog wants out. The dog wants back in. The cat needs petting.
I need to find time to be by myself. To decompress. Relax. My decompression activities of late have been going out to see friends. I miss my friends too, but I may have to abandon that pleasure until I get myself back. Back to center.