Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Title with apologies/thanks/credit to Douglas Adams, who’s dead anyway and thus probably not using the title right at this minute, plus I’m super-stressed and can’t think of my own title, so he’ll just have to posthumously forgive me this one.

Who doesn’t love insomnia born of soul-crushing doubt and terror at 2am? Good times. I laid in bed for awhile, but between hearing Alex’s breathing (which my fear-soaked senses have heightened to sound like Darth Vader in a wind tunnel) and trying to remember how to breathe myself, it was pointless. Might as well check for any Craigslist emails and write an amusing blog post about freaking out over all yet to be accomplished, that I fear there won’t be time for between now and our departure Friday morning. (Not to mention the freak-out about MOVING. TO. UKRAINE. Breathe.)

We enjoyed a lovely Fakesgiving meal (early Thanksgiving and father-in-law’s birthday) at Alex’s parents’ house (soon to be Our Temporary DFW Home whenever we’re in the states) last night. I started a mild panic attack after dinner, the kind with the throat constriction and trying to remember how to breathe, although there was a tad of feeling light-headed and wanting to throw up (I had a little more of that last Wednesday morning). This was definitely an attack of the Holy-Crap-We’re-Moving-to-Ukraine variety, primarily because I haven’t allowed myself to think much about this during the past two weeks with all the packing and logistics I needed to be doing instead of freaking out. Outwardly I was able to handle it pretty well, and the distraction of family in the room talking was super-helpful. And making self-deprecating jokes about the panic attack as it was happening helped, which makes sense because humor’s my inevitable response to anything.

Now as I write this, I periodically pause to remind myself to breathe, literally, because for some reason my brain keeps failing to do its job and regulate this subconsciously. Woke up probably half an hour ago and immediately a list of All The Crap We Have Left To Do began scrolling across my brain, like Asteroids but without a helpful ship to help me shoot down all the scary aliens. (That’s a good metaphor, right? Or at least amusing? I’m sorry, I can’t tell at 2am.)

So I’ve traded the fear of moving/acculturating (for the moment) into the fear of not getting things done, which is at least a comfortingly familiar fear, if not usually near this level of intensity. Trying to grasp to my faith in moments like these is like trying to hold onto buttered soap. I’m okay for a few seconds, I think I’ve got it, I’m calming down and handing my fears and inabilities over to God, and then WHOOPS! there goes that soapy faith again and I’m here realizing I’ve been holding my breath for twenty seconds and maybe it’s time to exhale now. Ah, the joys of being human, neurotic, controlling, and perfectionistic (to be redundant).

So I’ve been blazing through Friends episodes while I packed for the past few days–watched most of seasons 1-3 this weekend as background noise–and it’s how my brain is responding to all this, by picking quotes and scenes that seem appropriate. (Remember to breathe, oh right.) Right now my brain keeps playing Rachel’s freak-out in the season 3 episode, “The One Where Rachel Quits,” when she’s scary fake-laughing at Chandler because she’s mad he convinced her to quit her waitressing job and apply for a job in fashion, which she’s always dreamed of. Appropriate, no? Especially this quote (video linked here):

Hey, that’s FUNNY. You’re funny Chandler, you’re a funny guy! You know what else is really funny? …Weren’t you the guy that told me to quit my job when I had absolutely nothing else to do? HA HA HA, HAAAA?

I feel you, Rachel. Preach it. Or… freak it out.

Yep, I’m similarly doubting my leap of faith, both of quitting my job and moving out of the country. Like Rachel, I know that it’s time to move on, and I know what Alex and I ultimately want for our lives is only possible by quitting my job and making this move. I’ll no doubt come back around to excited again, and back to freak out, and cycle through these several times before we even hit the airport this Friday. In TV-land, Rachel did get a job in fashion–although initially one she hated, which she then traded up for a great job …that played a part in the ruination of her relationship with Ross, and then her promised promotion was squashed when her boss Joanna was run over by a taxi, and she (Rachel, not the deceased Joanna) was demoted to personal shopper before ultimately getting her dream job at Ralph Lauren… but really that’s all a long story you didn’t come here for. (Breathe.) The point is, she ended up better off for taking the risk. 

But right now, it’s 2am. (Breathe.)


4 thoughts on “Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

  1. Jared says:

    Asteroids really is a good metaphor for that. If you do manage to shoot one, it just makes more. 😀

    I don’t know how much a comment on a blog can help, but here goes. If I know anyone who could accomplish this, where “this” is defined as a list of chores with a deadline, acclimating to a new culture, or fulfilling your dreams, it’s you. As both Bob Ross and that guy from The Waterboy always said, you can do it!

  2. Claire says:


    I know everything seems chaotic and impossible right now, but just take a few moments and think of how much you’ve gotten done, and how relatively little remains to be done. You have been working SO hard, and this time next week, the bulk of your remaining tasks will be taken care of, one way or another. And, yes, moving to Ukraine is scary (breathe), but let’s not forget that you are intrepid and resilient, and once you get settled over there and start getting used to the change, you will have the time of your life and start accomplishing things you’ve never had the time to accomplish.

    P.S. For the next few days, if you have more 2:00 a.m. freakouts, you can always wake me up for a hug ‘n’ chat. ❤

  3. Rebecca TH says:

    Catching up on your blog posts. Girl, I hear you. I read this and glad I read it today because this morning I had doubts and fears about my leap to move back to RI but then I felt fine and know its all worth it and the fear is normal. It is in God’s hands but it is also our choice and what an adventure it will be!

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