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Remember That One Time I Wanted to Be a Hobo? | Wilson WritesThis summer, I wanted to be a hobo.

Not only because “hobo” is a fun word. Yell it out, right now. See? It’s hilarious. Mostly I wanted to follow the hobo life because I felt so incredibly crazy. I can say crazy because I have legit mental health diagnoses: PTSD, depression, and anxiety. All mixed together in an insanity-inducing cocktail.

Some days are harder than others concerning my mental health; this has always been true. But I’m talking the entire summer. Day in, day out. Every morning when I woke up to sunshine and blue skies. Each evening as the sun set. Through camping trips and movies and snuggling and hiking.

I just wanted to get away.

Why a Hobo?

In the middle of June, I got really bad news. Devastating news. I cannot talk about it. Everyone is safe, but it is not my sole story to tell. This news was a catalyst for the worst of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, by far the hardest and longest (twss) triggers I’ve ever dealt with.

Remember That One Time I Wanted to Be a Hobo? | Wilson WritesTwo weeks after the news, we went on a previously-planned vacation. One day while on vacation around Yosemite, I needed to renew one of my library books. I can do that electronically, this is not a problem. I had a spotty internet connection, but it could be done within five minutes. Right?

Right. As long as you can remember your library card number. I could not. I have had this same library card number for 13 years. I use it in place of my library card, lost by my children long ago.

Thirteen years. I could not remember the 8-digit number. I could remember some of the numbers, but not in the right order. I tried for days to plug in the right combination in order to renew my book. I’m sure the panic that I felt did not improve my memory. I knew, deep down, that I wasn’t losing my mind. But in a very real way, I was kind of losing my mind.

I was exhausted, and it was only the beginning of July. The rest of the summer stretched out before me, an arid desert with no relief. Working while everyone – both kids and Husband (a teacher) – were home, with their tornadoes of energy sapping the life out of me. Routines destroyed. It sounds really dramatic, but every single self-care thing I was doing to help my brain simply did not seem to work.

What My Therapist Said

I was restless. My brain was a washing machine full of cotton balls, churning nonstop but producing nothing of clarity. I had nightmares. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t finish a trip to the grocery store. All of the usual PTSD stuff.

I went through my list of self-destruction possibilities, because, really, what was the point? Self-care was a stupid waste of time and I thought maybe trying something different would help. Maybe an addiction to drugs or alcohol or an affair would work, I’ve never tried those before.

Remember That One Time I Wanted to Be a Hobo? | Wilson WritesBut they seemed like way too much work. I just wanted to get away, to run away.

“I want to be a hobo,” I announced to my therapist, Hannah.

She considered me for a moment. “Well, pack toilet paper,” she said.

“WHAT?” I said. “That’s it?”

“I just think that toilet paper is probably the hardest item to come by when you’re living the hobo life,” she answered.

And this is why I love her. I felt a little less crazy. And I came home and wrote about it for my column over at Sweatpants and Coffee in the article called, When Self-Care Seems Like a Stupid Waste of Time.

It’s definitely worth a read. Go here for more.

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