Everyone gets stressed out at different times in his or her lives – it’s part of being human. Sometimes stress can be a minor thing, sometimes it can have a major impact on life. This Worldview takes a look at stress in The Tribe – what causes it, how it affects different characters – and how stress can be overcome.
STRESS IN THE TRIBE
Stress is similar to anxiety – it is when a person is bothered or upset about something so much that it may cause them fear, tension, nervousness. Everyone has sometimes had the feeling of having “butterflies” in their stomach as they worry about something or are nervous – this is stress. But sometimes stress gets extreme over something and a person can suffer so much unhappiness that they have a nervous or mental breakdown – or get into depression.
But what causes stress? People are different first of all. So one person may be stressed by something – but another person may not be stressed. For example, some people have phobias about spiders (arachnophobia) – and if you encounter an 8-legged hairy creepy-crawly with fangs then this may cause you stress. But if you don’t have arachnophobia and instead might like spiders – then you wouldn’t be stressed by meeting one in your home.
Stress broadly is whatever causes anxiety to someone. In the world of the Tribe the disappearance of the adults due to the virus was something that caused considerable anxiety to the children and teens that survived – and stress to them. As the amount of anxiety increases, the amount of stress will increase.
WHAT DOES STRESS DO?
Stress operates on three main levels – it affects the mind, the body and people around the person with stress. Let’s take a look at these three levels with the help of two Tribal examples – Ellie in Series 4 and Zoot in Series 1…
– The Mind
Ellie in Tribe 4 is stressed out because her sister, Alice, has disappeared (due to the Technos). Her boyfriend, Luke, went off with the Guardian and the Chosen Tribe at the end of Tribe 3. And her ex-boyfriend (whom she still cares for), Jack, has also been captured by the Chosen. These three situations are not ones that would cause Ellie happiness. Instead her previously happy and contented frame of mind has been replaced by feelings of sadness, unhappiness, fear about what has happened to those she lost – she misses them and can¹t stop thinking about them. Ellie is not in a good state of mind – she is stressed out.
Zoot in Series 1 was not a happy bunny. He used to be known as “Martin” but it seems the advent of the virus and death of his parents, the loss of the girl of his dreams, Trudy, to his elder brother Bray – these events conspired to make “Martin” feel unhappy, sad, angry, resentful, frustrated – basically, these were the feelings in his mind. Far from contented, he was passionate and furious. He was stressed out and became “Zoot”.
– The Body
Stress also affects the body. Ellie in Tribe 4 is at a loss in her mind. She doesn’t know what to do because of her stress, she is babbling and cannot think through things properly. This affects her body. Since she is tense and uptight, she feels this way physically and suffers fever symptoms, cannot sleep at night and gets tired in the day, she is thinking so much of those she lost that she loses all interest in eating and she is losing weight – and falling into ill physical health. Stress has done this to her.
Zoot in Tribe 1 was also not totally well in his physical health. Due to his stress and the turmoils and anguishes in his mind, it is likely that he too would have found it hard to sleep at night (as images and thoughts swirled round his mind) and maybe that explains his tired look – remember his eyes? He always had black “panda” type marks on his face which must signify a lack of sleep and physical ill health. It is likely Zoot didn¹t care about a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet. He was in no frame of mind to think of that.
– Affecting others
When a person is stressed out over something it doesn’t just affect them – it can affect the lives of those around them. In Tribe 4, Ellie is so upset and “stressed out” that she has adopted a negative outlook and is slightly obsessive – all she talks and thinks about is Jack, Luke or Alice. When others may ask Ellie what she thinks about doing, she focuses entirely on the subject of her stress. She is also bitter, sad, hysterical – angry at times – and this has an affect on those around her.
Zoot had a big effect on others. He was so stressed out – so angry inside that he was not kind to those he met. He was only interested in doing what he wanted to and lost a sense of compassion, fairness or “love” of his fellow human beings. Instead, he was vengeful, people were expendable to him – he harbored hatreds and nothing would stand in his way. Trudy, his ex-girlfriend, was in fear of Zoot finding her again.
A LITTLE BIT OF STRESS
The example of Ellie and Zoot is stress at the “deep end” – it is when someone is so stressed out they suffer a mental or nervous breakdown. This is similar to a “post-traumatic stress disorder” when somebody witnesses a horrible event or is subject to certain conditions that give them so much stress they suffer mental and physical consequences.
The opposite end of this spectrum is a little bit of stress – this is when you still remain “you” and are in overall good mental health (and physical well-being). Whatever is stressing you is only stressing you a little bit and it is manageable – you can overcome it. This may be nerves about taking exams, stress about a driving test or lesson, stress about a bee flying near your head. This little stress is just that – little – instead of a big impediment to everyday life.
So we all suffer little bits of stress sometimes – but there are occasions when sometimes a person may suffer major stress over something. But the picture is not bad overall. Stress can be overcome and turned around.
Even when people suffer major post-traumatic stress disorder, the stress may not necessarily last forever – it can be a temporary thing. Time itself can be a healer. As each day passes since an incident or cause of stress, a person may be less stressed after a while.
People with stress can find help. There is an old saying that a “problem shared is a problem solved” and instead of keeping secrets or stress inside where it is trapped, sometimes the best thing is to speak to parents, brothers, sisters or close friends to get advice on what to do. Sharing a problem and getting advice is a way to manage stress and sets you on the path to overcoming it.
Professional counselors or therapists can also help with stress. In addition to giving advice, they can often help reduce or eliminate the cause of stress. For example, a person with arachnophobia may be gradually exposed to spiders so they eventually become familiar and comfortable with them – and no longer have a phobia or great stress. Therapists can help a person in their understanding of what has caused stress. When you know for a fact what has been stressing you – when you know what the problem is – then you can work out a solution for it.
So stress is a part of everyday life and a part of The Tribe – from little bits of stress like nervousness or arguments about something to major stress like breakdowns or periods of depression. But the picture is positive and good in the long-term – stress can be overcome and turned around with time and help.