Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Internal Monologue

It is no secret to this blog that I struggle with depression and anxiety. Some days are worse than others, of course. As of late I have been feeling a lot of anxiety over my decision to move out west in the near future. It is like a constant tug-of-war in my brain, with one tugger telling me how great it will be, and one tugger telling me how scary it will be. 

It is so strange that when I was younger I used to be so fearless. I lived on the streets as a teenager and was never homesick. I was fiercely independent. I made a lot of friends, soon good and some who turned out to be assholes, but I was primarily on my own through all of it. Months and months would go by without my seeing or speaking to my parents, even though I was usually in the same metropolitan area as them. This was mostly before cell phones... at least, before cell phones were accessible to everyone... so the only way my parents had to get in touch with me was to page me, and wait for me to go to a payphone and call them back. Except half the time I had lost my pager somewhere! So it is weird that, as of late, the thought of leaving "home" is so scary and sad to me. 

I've mentioned before that I've moved in and out of here multiple times. The last time I lived on my own was a few years ago, when I lived with some people I vaguely refer to as my roommates now. Someday I will have to tell you that complicated story. The short version is, my best friend at the time asked me to babysit her kids several days a week, as a job. It worked out well because I could watch them on the days that I wasn't in school. They would often ask me to stay for dinner and then later ask me to watch their kids for the evening so they could go out, so I would frequently spend the night, more and more often as they grew to expect me to stay and watch the kids. To help me earn a little more money, the dad arranged for me to also babysit the child of one of his friends, and since that was going to be every single day, I ended up living there full time, at one point even having my own bedroom for a while. The family was having trouble making ends meet and were no longer able to pay me, but I was still living there full time while watching the children during the week and also frequently on weekends. At the time I considered them to be like a family to me, but now looking back it seems like I was more of some sort of indentured nanny. But I digress...

Anyways during that three years or so, I rarely saw my parents or other family members at all... I was too busy caring for three young children! I even spent some of the holidays with their family instead of mine. As things got harder in the house I was living at, I started coming home to my parents' house every few weekends, for a break. And eventually I moved back in completely, as things got complicated at the other house and I just couldn't stand to be there anymore. At the time, I was about to start student teaching, and it seemed like I was going to need a quieter and more stable place to stay so I could focus. 

I went through a brief period of time where I got really nervous and sad when my parents went out of town... I'd have panic attacks and everything. But then I got back on my meds, and that disappeared. 

Still, in a way it is like I stopped living when I moved away from my friends' house. For the three years that I lived there, those kids were my life! I used to spend the majority of my free time planning activities and outings for them. We used to go somewhere just about every single day... to the nature center, the library, museums, parks, wherever. I was able to sniff out every free or cheap activity available to kids, especially in the summer. They got to see magic shows and bubble shows, have animal encounters, take free classes at the library, etc. We'd do art projects and science experiments at home. 

Since moving back here to my parents' house, it is like being a different person. I used to almost be a parental figure. Now I'm just a lump. My whole life consists of the Internet, and watching TV with my parents in the evenings. If I go to Wal-Mart with my mom on a Saturday, it is the highlight of my weekend! It was better during student teaching and at my summer teaching job, because I had a lot of things to plan for and think about. But subbing doesn't carry much responsibility outside of the school day. And I know that is no way to live. But for someone with anxiety, it is a very safe way to live. 

So on one hand I am desperate to move forward with my life. I want to get my own place, make friends, and eventually become an actual parent instead of just a cheap imitation. Moving to Oregon would help me to do all that. And I'd be able to see Auntie M and Uncle J on a regular basis, and be within driving distance to see Bro, Sunny and Squeak. 

But on the other hand, when I try to picture life without my parents at least being near by... I start feeling panicky. What would I do if I could not see them every day? If my mom and I couldn't go on spontaneous trips to Mariano's, or if my dad and I couldn't watch Family Guy and go to Denny's? 

The tricky thing is, even if I were to stay here in Illinois forever and always, I would not want to live in the same house with them forever. I do want to be back on my own with my own things. I want to get a cat, and I can't get one here. And if I lived near by, but not in the same house with, my parents, we probably wouldn't do that spontaneous stuff anyways. 

I tell myself I would be able to come back and visit frequently. Maybe even every six weeks or so! I know airline tickets are expensive, but I've started racking up frequent flier miles on a survey taking site, and I could keep my eyes open for low airfare prices, and save up my money. 

I really don't know what I'm scared of. I like the idea of living in my own place, but I hate the idea of coming home every day and being alone. 

And then there is Trixie... she will stay with my parents when Lily and I go to Oregon. Leaving Trixie will be the hardest part of all. Because I can't email or Skype with her. I mean I guess I could, but she'd have difficulty understanding it. She already gets really bad separation anxiety. Every time my parents go out of town, she skulks around like she's been whipped. Even after Bro and Sunny and Squeak were here for a week and left, Trixie acted like half of her family had been ripped out of her arms... which was weird because she's never actually lived with them, yet she just sensed that they belong to her. And it will be hard to take Trixie and Lily away from each other. Lily has never been an only dog before. I don't know what she'd do if she had to stay home alone in a new place without Trixie to babysit her!

It is so hard because I want to go to Oregon so bad... I know things will be better for me there... but at the same time, I don't actually want to leave home! 

I wish I was as brave and tough as I was when I was a teenager. 


  1. I get it. It's really hard moving out, especially when you are moving a fair distance away. I moved away twice, once with my old friend (we are no longer friends) and then right before I got married. Both times I was absolutely terrified, but at the same time I knew it was something that I had to do. Both times I was in an unhealthy space where I was not doing anything with my life. Like you, I'd get home from work, go online, watch tv with my parents...hang out with my Mom on the weekends. I was working jobs that just were not doing anything for me on any kind of level. So I moved and the first time didn't work out, but I moved back home for awhile...regrouped. Fell in love and moved out again and this time I'm really really satisfied with how things work out.

  2. I have moved many many times. When I moved to California, I wasn't sure it was going to work out, and turns out it didn't. I hated it in fact. But it showed me what i DID want, and it led me down the road to where I am now. Which is right where I need & want to be.

    So taking a risk may be scary, and maybe your first choice won't work out exactly as you planned or imagined. But you never know how it will help you grow and where it will lead you!

  3. I love your blog

  4. I am so sorry that things have been tough lately. I will definitely be praying for you as you make your decisions about whether or not to move. I hope you have a restful and peaceful week.

  5. I've been on high alert lately too, for other reasons. My advice is to move, knowing that you can ALWAYS move back if you need too. :)

  6. I remember being pretty fearless myself as a teen. I would jump on the back of a motorcycle without a second thought. But as I got older it got scarier because I started actually thinking through the impact of my actions.

    You sound like you're probably starting to move into the same space. Decisions get harder because you have more to consider. The good thing is, you don't have to be in a hurry. You seem like you've spent enough time away that maybe for a little while you need the comfort of home. Just remember that whether you decide to leave or stay, your decision doesn't have to be permanent. You can always change your mind.

  7. You mentioned in this post that you want to be an actual parent, not a 'cheap imitation'. I'll bet that you had a greater impact on the children you cared for than you think. They were safe with you, they were well cared for by you, and while the bad days may stand out in your memory, I bet that they were happy with you. Children need to feel safe and they need to feel loved, and if you accomplished that then there was nothing cheap or fake about their experience. Try to change the way you think of that time - you were parenting them, plain and simple. Not an imitation of love. The real thing. Well done my dear. :)


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