Have you ever seen one of the checklists for determining whether you are at risk for depression? They include things like recent moves, job changes, chronic pain, family history, etc.
As someone who has suffered with bouts of the Big Suck for most of my life, I have run into lists such as this multiple times. I always check off more than half of the list. I’m just one of those people that perpetually has a lot of stuff going on. In fact, all of the above apply to me at this very moment.
In my experience, stress is a precursor for depression. Sometimes it overwhelms me, sometimes not.
I’m fighting stress off with a hammer.
In the last 18 months, I:
- had a cancer scare, twice.
- found out that my father is terminally ill (includes major surgeries, recovery, etc.).
- purchased a home.
- found out that my home needed new everything, to the tune of $15,000+.
- moved in with my romantic partner.
- helped my partner work through her mother’s serious illness.
- dealt with major work turmoil.
- got engaged.
- got a 12-week old puppy (read: stopped sleeping).
- lost all but six weekends in the last four months to obligatory events that I didn’t want to go to/have happen to me.
I could go on but this is enough.
Not all of these things are bad. Some are fabulous, actually. But, together, they account for an amazing amount of busy and stress and sleeplessness.
Recently, mostly due to the amount of time away from our home, I’ve been having a harder time centering myself. I’m a die hard introvert and a typical Cancer: I require time to be alone and I want to be in my own home. If I don’t get “me time,” it makes it harder to find the energy to do simple chores, share space with other people without feeling claustrophobic, and feel normal and/or happy. Combined with life stresses, no “me time” can have serious consequences.
Long story, short:
My life has been absolutely crazeballs lately and I have been struggling to cope without going completely crazeballs myself.
The good news? Something changed two days ago. My partner, Caroline, and I sat down and figured out our honeymoon plan. We’re going to Croatia and then Paris. It looks something like this:
Amazing, huh? If I stare at the pictures long enough, I actually feel lighter.
I was so excited after Caroline and I had our little planning session that I called my dad and made him look at Google images for every step of the journey. But, as quickly as my mood lifted, it came right back down. It doesn’t take me very long these days to whip out a big shot of reality and stick myself right in the ass with it.
After walking him through the whole thing, I told him that this is the A plan but that we’re going to have to have a B and C plan because of the cost.
My dad’s answer? ”No. It’s your honeymoon. Do it right.”
I think that this time I’ll take his advice. (Don’t let it go to your head, Daddy.)
Sometimes crazeballs situations call for crazeballs overcompensation.
My lesson for the week?
Sometimes, life is awful. Sometimes, it’s so busy that you can’t even enjoy it. And, sometimes, if you’re lucky, something so good happens that none of the rest of it matters.
This year was easily the happiest year of my life, despite all the pain in the list above.
- Because I’m in love and she loves me back.
- Because I’ve worked really hard on my first house and that shithole is mine to come home to at the end of the day.
- Because we adopted the best little monster in the whole world.
- Because Buffy and Xander still cuddle with me in bed every morning after Caroline leaves for the gym even though they’re mad at me for bringing a puppy into the house.
- Because my dad had a terrible surgery, a worse recovery, has made it past his doctor-stamped expiration date, and now feels great.
- Because I live to tell the tale.
Everyone needs to take time to breathe. To celebrate. To fight stress off with a hammer.
Making the decision to take this trip, the way it should be taken, is just me constructing next year’s hammer.
I’d max out five credit cards to take this trip.
It’s our honeymoon. We fucking deserve it and we’re gonna go.
Take that, life.