6 Ways Moving House Triggers My Bipolar Disorder
I don’t know if I’ll be able to make a blog post next week unless I can write an extra one this week and save it. Next week, we’ll be moving from the three-bedroom house we’re currently living in to a one-bedroom apartment, where we expect to stay for three months at the maximum.
The circumstances that led to this situation are complex and the whole process has been feeding into my triggers and issues. No, bipolar disorder won’t stay on hold for even two weeks so we can get this accomplished.
First and perhaps foremost, I hate cleaning, packing and moving, especially when there’s a time limit on them. I even hate packing for vacations. (I’m OK once the vacation has started. It’s just the lead-up to it that gets me.) When I pack, I always overthink and almost always overpack, as if I’m planning for the Normandy invasion. This is exhausting.
I often have anxiety dreams about packing and moving, usually having to do with moving into or out of a dorm at college. This was indeed a stressor for me, as I lived someplace different every year and went home over the summer. Apparently, it has never quite left my psyche. This set of moves will be unpleasantly like those – a massive, frantic rush at the beginning of summer and another set of the same, though one hopes not as frantic, at the beginning of fall.
What happened to us is that our house was destroyed by a tornado a year ago. Since that time, we have been living in a house provided for us by the insurance company. Now, however, they’ve put us up here as long as they care to and our former house isn’t completely rebuilt and ready for reoccupancy yet. We’ve had just over a month to make alternative arrangements. Combine that with trying to get a three-month lease, and a one-bedroom was all we could find. (We call it “The Shack.”)
I’ve had a hard time bonding with places where I’ve lived — they’ve never truly felt like home to me — and I hope that the rebuilt house, which we are completely furnishing, will have that feel of “mine.” But The Shack will feel the least like home since any I’ve lived in since college. Even my study, where I do my writing, will be a utility room with a table and chair rather than a desk. Nor will we have much in the way of furnishings: a bed, a television, two chairs, boxes for bedside tables and not much else. The rest is in storage or not to be delivered until permanent move-in.
It is the one-year anniversary of the tornado and we will be swept up in a virtual tornado of packing and moving. I have already noticed tornado dreams and severe storm-related anxiety as the date approaches. I anticipate being virtually immobilized just when I need to be most productive and proactive. It already feels overwhelming.
And no, there is no one around who can help us move. It’s just me and my husband, with maybe a little help from U-Haul and Two Men and a Truck. My husband lives with depression, and between that and my bipolar disorder, we’ve been isolating so much that even with pizza and beer we couldn’t pull together a work gang.
We’ll get through, I know. And we’ll get through living in The Shack until it’s time to go home at last. I just wish I could see a clear path between now and then.
Getty Images photo via AntonioGuillem