The Human Condition: Joy and Pain in the Same Day

sea and mountain

So, this photo above was taken by my significant other in Alaska where he is located right now for work. And I thought you all should know I will be moving and joining him there in approximately two weeks! I am really excited to share this journey with all of you and God knows I have had and am going to have so many things to be anxious and nervous about. The short list is this: being by myself too long, finding a job, finding a place to live, not having any friends, getting homesick, getting depressed in the winter, living with my significant other for the first time, the list could go on and on as long as my brain will let it go.

The first time we discussed moving to Alaska from the east coast I was excited at the prospect of moving and then in literally the next minute was completely terrified. I have moved across the country before and it was very taxing on my mental health. This was when I was fresh out of college and did not even realize or recognize I had anxiety problems. I mean, come on, my first clue should have been when I hid from my roommates and did not come back to my apartment for hours because I knew one of our friends was mad at me that I went and saw a movie by myself and did not wait for everyone else. I was so anxious and guilty about her finding me and hating me that I hid in the basement of the apartment in the computer lab. Damn girl. But I digress.

After deciding I would make the move to Alaska, there is one thing that I am still terrified of…getting depressed in the winter…and it’s not east coast winter, it is ALASKA WINTER. SIX MONTHS OF ALMOST DARKNESS. Some of you can relate to my fear and how completely rational it is for people who deal with anxiety. After this past winter was over I declared I was moving somewhere warm…annnnnndddddd here we are. ALASKA. There is something about winter darkness that seems to suck my soul of any light. Winter is when everything dies, when the world lays dormant and the human race continues trudging through the gross, grey, slush that is January, February, and even March. And even though you know, you know in your biological clock, that spring and summer will come again and you will feel better, it seems impossible.

This anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression cycle is scary, it is a painful place to be. A few days ago, in our community, someone’s pain, someone’s failing mental health, cause them to kill another person and then kill themselves. My family members and I were discussing the death and the suicide and the guns that were used. This isn’t the first time this community has been struck by suicide and it won’t be last.

I had been telling my family members in the same moment about how I would probably get a hand gun out in Alaska to keep myself safe if I went hiking alone. After they left, I thought more deeply about the recent tragedy and others just like it. A classmate of mine in our senior year committed suicide using a gun he had used for hunting while he was growing up. I thought to myself, “What makes me any different? Why should I be allowed to have a gun?” That is the thing, no one knew, no one suspected our classmate was depressed enough to end his life. Why would I put that type of power in my hands when I am fully aware of how depressed I can get? I am not saying, everyone who knows me personally reading this post should freak out and think I am at that point, what I am saying is, why give myself that option? At the end of the day, I texted my significant other and said, “No gun for me. Let’s just give me lots of mace and bear mace”.  As always, thanks for reading,

❤ Rachael

2 thoughts on “The Human Condition: Joy and Pain in the Same Day

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  1. Hey Rachel, definitely get some of the things you’re going through and I understand why things are so overwhelming. I think it’s ok to take baby steps, especially with something big like this when you have anxiety and maybe that means, you spend a week or two in Alaska to start (if that’s feasible) so you can get your feet wet. Obviously it’s gonna be a big adjustment and communicating with your partner is really important, and I’m sure he’ll help you get acclimated. With that said, continue use your support system and I hope you continue to take care yourself. (This is me being concise and hopefully succeeding?) Good Luck!

    – Ian

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    1. Hey Ian, thank you so much for the supportive words. Thankfully I have lived across the country before, once, in Oregon for about a year. It’s nice because I can learn from those mistakes I made then and make a new plan so my anxiety/depression doesn’t get out of control. Thank you so much for the luck! I appreciate you!

      -Rachael

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