This time last week, I was arriving in Aruba. I was meeting a dear friend and her mom down there, and we were staying with a friend of theirs from when they lived on the island. I met up with my friend in baggage claim, and from there, we waited on her mom and their friend. We waited. And waited. And finally found them 30 minutes later (they were late, because they had to pick up a car, and my friend’s mom got lost following our hostess [because as we would find out later, she drove like a madwoman]). Then we did the standard rental car paperwork, and asked the Budget guy if we could go to lunch, then grab the keys from him so we didn’t have to repark the car. “Yeah sure, no problem.” Then we went to lunch. Well, we went, then decided we didn’t want to eat there, because it was a by-weight buffet, but our hostess insisted it was good, so we all took a look at the food, still didn’t want to eat there, really, but acquiesced. So we just had a little salad. It was fine. Not a lot, but we figured we’d go get pizza later. We went to go pick up the rental car – an electric blue Nissan March that we subsequently named Meep Meep, whose brakes sounded like he had baby seals being beaten under our seats – but the guy we’d talked to had disappeared with the keys. Uhhhh….
So two hours after arrival, we left the airport. This is pretty much how the rest of the trip went.
Also, we didn’t get pizza later.
Before I left on this trip, I had somewhat of a breakdown with numerous panic attacks, tears, and monstrous self doubt. Ok, not somewhat of one, I had a breakdown. There were a couple triggers, but in general depression is akin to one of those kiddie dragon roller coasters at a county fair: you’re “normal” for a period, stable, and good, on the way up, and then it drops, then you climb back up. Even on the correct medication, the emotional ups and downs are still present; the medication seems to, for me, temper the down, the vacuum of emotions. Allie, over at Hyperbole and a Half, still has the best post on depression that I’ve ever seen.
When you’re out of it, in a stable period, that initial drop seems like a slapstick comedy, or a dramatized teenager meltdown, because it’s so exaggerated. Some things that went through my head:
- Oh my god, what have I done with my life? 6 years of higher education and I’m unemployed again, and I am the worst investment my parents ever made
- How did you screw up so bad? Every decision you’ve ever made has been wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong!
- I’m going to die and my cats are going to eat me.
Except it’s not funny, really, because at the time, you believe it; the desperation, the feeling that you need to do something, to pick yourself up and accomplish some things but you physically can’t, the fear that you’re going to stay this way.
Then the Effexor finally showed up to the party, and I started to climb my way out. Then I thanked the universe for drugs that mitigate this disease. It’s still not fun, but instead of descending into an extended period of time where quite literally, I can’t, I can emerge soon after the down.
So that was fun.
In that side trip of crazy, though, I did come to some conclusions about my life. I have been a passenger, waiting for others to recognize and ascribe my worth. Well, that’s a shitty place to be. Then, I had a brilliant idea.
What do I do well? Write and distill information (this is one of the things my old boss told me I did best, so I have outside verification. See? There it is. I need other’s validation. Ugh.). I’m also an in-the-weeds policy nerd.
So I am going to write. In June, I’ll be launching Policy Sophisticate, a place where you can find info on all sorts of industries and businesses, how they operate, and how policy affects them. For example, Uber and Lyft, the ride sharing services, are largely controlled by public utilities commissions. What the heck is a PUC, who is on those commissions, and how do they get there? How do Uber and Lyft, and their competitors, influence the decisions coming out of one? And why the hell should you care?
Really, it’s an extended love-letter of a blog to the importance of voting for down ballot candidates and initiatives. The blog won’t be beholden to the news cycle, but it will enhance your understanding of the headlines. Obviously, I’ll start with issues of relevance (uhh, I believe the kids refer to it as “click bait”), but there’s some weird stuff out there that affects us that we’re really not paying attention to.
As soon as I started work on Policy Sophisticate, it was like my soul chilled the eff out. It was with this zen state that I boarded the plan to Aruba.
Thennnn one of my horses, Parker, colicked in the middle of my trip, and I totally lost my shit. Again.
(The woman who owns the barn where he lives is a wonder woman and took fabulous care of him, and my friend kept me plied with martinis and tissues during the ordeal. He’s fine now.)
Now I’m home, covered in mosquito bites (seriously. I keep finding new ones. How does this happen?), with a faintly visible tan, and the saltwater washed out of my hair. I’ve already started on a pre-launch piece for Policy Sophisticate on this whole debacle with Douglas County School District, the spring and summer horse shows start next week for me, and I feel better than I have in months. Minus the damn mosquito bites.