Feeling Under Pressure

Andrew Valdez
5 min readDec 18, 2022
Evie S.

Pressure. That’s a word that has been all too common in conversations I have had lately. We are all feeling it and, what’s worse, is that pressure is coming from a variety of circumstances. I’ve spoken with friends who are worried about their jobs. Some don’t even know how they are going to pay their bills or worse, experiencing drama with their loved ones. And worse of all, I’ve heard people express a definite pessimism of the future. Despite Christmas being right around the corner and a new year slowly coming upon us, there just isn’t that same joyful, optimistic spirit in the air that there usually is; despite that being the one thing that may bring any sort of solace. Sadly, fixating on harsh realities is slowly becoming our only reality.

Why are we feeling the pressure all of a sudden? Well, if you’re like me and work in tech, that answer is easy enough. Over the years, tech has become a bit like Frankenstein’s monster. A monster that is influencing just about everything in our culture. Like Frankenstein, it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, it has given many people an opportunity to start their careers, build their own brands, and service communities around the world. But recently, tech has seen itself in the mirror and didn’t like what was looking back. And whenever an industry feels that kind of pressure, people are at risk.

Employees, not just in tech but many other lines of work, are worried about their job, thus a cloud of uncertainty looms over the future. What will my bank account look like next year? Will my family suffer because of my circumstances? Are my kids doomed to a similar fate? Could something worse happen? After all, bad things happen every day; who’s to say some terrible fate won’t befall me? And if it did, is there anything I can do about it?

We live in an incredibly complex world full of surprises caused by a combination of our choices, those of the past, and the ultimate, unstoppable flow of life towards the inevitable death of the universe. Yeah, I would say it’s fair to feel a little pressure.

With so much out of our control; from something as valuable as work being stripped away, to a bleak outlook on the future, we can start internalizing pressure. A complete seclusion into oneself. Of course introspection is a necessary and helpful part of life. But when it is rooted in worry, it can be a long, dark, isolating path. Questions like; what am I doing with my life?, engulf the mind. When it comes to me, this is where I start comparing myself to others despite knowing full well it’s a fruitless pursuit. Quickly, what were external pressures are now seeping into my soul and I begin to succumb to pressure.

Needless to say, I do not recommend this path.

What can be done about it? I mean it’s not like we choose to feel the pressure. Pressure is just a part of life, like breathing, or thinking. Now I don’t claim to have the answer to this question but I have found things that help me.

First is distractions. That word always seems to have a negative connotation toward it. After all, our culture teaches us to stay focused. Production is what’s valuable and if you’re not producing, you’re lazy. This, of course, is just a lie we each have to recognize. Distractions are nice! A great book, dancing to your favorite record, escaping to another world in a video game, experiencing nature on a walk or camping trip, enjoying the plethora of tv shows or movies available to us. Whatever it is for you, let it distract you.

Of course, distractions are only a band aid to pressure. Therefore, seeking a long term solution becomes an all important next step. While a distraction takes me away, for a moment, from the snares of pressure, the next stage is learning how to accept the pressure. To begin to analyze it, ask questions about it, and try to dig to its roots. I begin to work with it.

The acceptance stage is important because it’s a reminder that most of life just happens to you; including pressure. By accepting it, I can experience it positively and allow it to shape me. “Pressure makes diamonds” is the common phrase. Well if that’s true for us as well, it’s in this phase where it happens.

While writing this, I was faced with the reality that although distractions are nice and acceptance breeds growth from pressure, sometimes those things are still not enough. There may come times in life where the pressure is insurmountable, suffocating, and even life-threatening. For many, this leaves them feeling hopeless and at the end of their rope. This is where community is not only helpful, but desperately needed.

Sometimes life is hard. Some have found it to be absolutely unbearable and thus people desperately look for an end. I can’t imagine the emptiness and utter loneliness that one must feel from this type of pressure. If it comes to this point, and I pray it never does for you, community may be the only help.

When all else fails, when you can’t take the pressure anymore, talk to someone. Just reach out. It may seem pointless, embarrassing, or even selfish. It’s not. In fact, it’s the best choice you can make. This is why community, whether it’s your family, friends, and professionals exist. It’s not for the good times, although they make those better as well. It’s for the critical moments in life where the pressure may just be too much.

If you take one thing from my ramblings, let it be this; pressure affects us all. Therefore when you’re feeling it, know that you’re not alone. You have distractions and acceptance as your tools and if those fail, you have a world full of people who are under pressure too. You are not alone. Despite the feelings we all have, they’re just that. Here one day and gone the next. Some seasons may be longer, more grueling than others. It will pass. You, however, cannot. You are loved. You are a crucial part of the world. Irreplaceable.

Sure, pressure may make diamonds. It may be an integral part of diamond creation but it isn’t the diamond. You are.