So back when my offspring was barely over a year old or so there was a Thing That Happened. It was a traumatic thing and not something I’ll talk about a lot here because it is of a sensitive nature to another person, and that person is deserving of some privacy about it. But I will say that it involved a mental health issue, and it turned my life upside down.
For a while the Thing That Happened was very much a part of my daily life, and it was stressful. I am an anxious person by nature and if a Thing happens in the life of an anxious person, that person may not cope all that well. I basically didn’t sleep more than four or five hours a night for years. I still have issues with sleep, but it’s not as bad as it was then. Every light in the house stayed on, the TV was on day and night so that I wouldn’t have to be alone with my thoughts, and I submerged myself in World of Warcraft after my daughter was in bed for the night. I maintain to this day that WoW probably saved my sanity, by giving me an escape and providing me with a way to connect with other humans without leaving my house. My kid was in bed by 7pm and I rarely could sleep before 1am. That’s a long time to spend alone with scary, stressful thoughts.
Sometimes when the Thing was especially bad the person involved would be hospitalized, and this was a huge relief. They were safe and I was relieved of a little bit of responsibility for a few days. Or a few weeks.
Sometimes when this happened I would drive home by way of the take-and-bake pizza chain and I would get a pizza that had all the things I liked (but nobody else did). And maybe I’d get a six pack of decent microbrew, or some sodas. And I’d sit after my baby was in bed and I’d enjoy some pizza and I’d play some WoW and I’d feel relaxed for the first time in probably months.
Nowadays the Thing is not a part of my daily existence. Well, it is in that I work in mental health, but it’s not part of my personal life. I am and will always be anxious, and with a fairly demanding new job and being in school and having kids and being busy and stuff I have a certain amount of stress and pressure, but compared to the Thing That Happened this is kinda small potatoes.
Tonight The Lovely Rhonda is off experiencing things that I’m not interested in experiencing, so I dropped her off with friends and came home. Having an evening to myself is extremely uncommon. What to do?
I thought about going to a movie or something, but honestly nothing appealed to me as much as just being at home, on this rainy, blustery night. On the way back home I picked up a small pizza from the take-and-bake place, and after it was out of the oven I ate some of it and drank a soda while I played WoW. It brought to mind those days of incredible stress and despair, and worry, and I am grateful when I look back at how much relief and solace these ordinary things brought me.