The adjustment to a new home did not go well. The first few weeks were fine, as was the case when I moved before. But, around the five week mark, I fell into a deep depressive episode that lasted about a year. I very rarely left the house or even my room. Little, inconsequential things that were different from the home where I grew up would greatly annoy me. For a mentally healthy person, it would appear like a whole lot of whining from an overly sensitive, spoiled brat. But, for a lot of people with certain mental disorders the effects of these minor inconveniences are amplified twentyfold.
Depending on how your mind works, you may be able to relate to many, some, or none of these following examples. I didn’t like that the roads had ditches off to the side instead of only drains. Even though it makes more sense traffic wise, I didn’t like that there was an extra turn lane in the middle of the roads. I hated how often a lane would unexpectedly come to an end and how easy it was to be in the wrong lane when arriving at a particular exit. The wait time at- and not so infrequent malfunctioning of the traffic lights and the low speed limits also added to my frustration. Before, it was no big deal to be 10 mph above the speed limit. Most of the time, you wouldn’t be pulled over unless you got to around 15 mph. Now, people were pulled over for exceeding the limit by 7 mph. The new town was much larger, which meant lots of learning directions was required. I used the GPS on my phone constantly to get around. But, sometimes the GPS failed or malfunctioned. I became enraged whenever it happened. I yelled at the top of my lungs, gripped the phone tightly with both hands, and just barely stopped short of breaking it in half. And, oh, how much I hated the heat and humidity. Before I moved, the summer temperature almost never exceeded the 80’s and the humidity wasn’t that bad. Now, the normal summer temperature was in the 90’s and very humid. I have always been able to adjust to cold better than heat. I am more comfortable when it’s 40 degrees than when it’s 90 and humid. Imagine spending most of your life in Greenland and then moving to Central America. Not so fun.
Before the move, I had the perfect place to do my daily run. It was a path in the woods around a lake. The scenery, the width of the path, the fact that no matter how much it rained it wasn’t enough to make the path unusable made the run blissful. The paths were mostly either low cut grass or beds of pine needles. It was a five mile route, with a place that could be taken around another pond which would make it around six or seven miles. Regardless of which route I took, each run didn’t feel too long or too short. The fact I never had to worry about running across venomous snakes was wonderful. I never had to worry about cankerworms hanging from trees in the spring, maybe because there were no low branches. It was never crowded. On a typical day, you might pass by one or two people. The best part of all—it was free.
In my new area, none of those things existed. Running on pavement for a couple consecutive days gives me intense shin pain, so dirt and earthy paths are needed for me to run. There were some free greenways to use, but those were mostly paved and crowded. There was only one local path that was earthy and free to use, but after it rained it was completely unusable. I did not plan on running for miles in knee high boots. Even after several sunny days there were marshy areas. The other local paths required a membership or a $3 per day fee to use. However, those paths were mostly very narrow, rocky, uneven, unusable for days after it rained, and lacked enjoyable scenery. All paths in the area were susceptible to venomous snakes, such as copperheads, and were littered with cankerworms hanging in front of your face in the spring. I thought maybe if I had some sort of protective shield around me, I could avoid the latter. To top all of that off, every time I ran it felt like I had been running for hours, even though the earthy paths were only three miles instead of the usual five to six I was used to. After all of those considerations, I came to the conclusion that running daily was no longer an option.
Something else that irked me about the new place would be that at my new parish, the priest said Mass quite differently. It seemed more informal and less reverential. He would bow slightly when he should kneel or give a slight head nod when he should bow. I would get heated at certain points when I felt the priest went ‘off script’ so to speak, because I loved how solemn the Mass was at my previous parish. Here, it felt like the priest viewed Mass as social hour. The Mass grinded to a halt during the ‘sign of peace’ because he felt it necessary to walk around and shake everyone’s hand in the first row and chat with them. He also drew out the Mass before the final prayer and blessing to ask any visitors to tell what city, state, province, or country they were from. He’d ask them about the weather, the sports teams, or tell them about his experience when he was there. I rolled my eyes and just stared up at the ceiling a lot of times, as if he would notice my annoyed expression and be reminded to finish Mass.
The annoyances continued closer to home, too. In my former home we had a basement. It was large and even stayed cool during the hottest summer days. I had a heavy punching bag hanging up, which I loved to use. But after the move, I said goodbye to the cool basement. There was no longer a place in which to hang up a heavy punching bag for my workouts. The large appliances were all poor quality. They frequently broke and had to be repaired or replaced. Before the move I had the perfect washing and drying machines. There were never any issues with them. Whenever I did laundry in the new place, my clothes always seemed to come out of the dryer either shrunken or still damp. My old home had a beautiful, green lawn and a shaded place for the dog kennel. The new home had virtually no lawn, yellow grass, and no shade or room for a dog kennel, which obviously meant he became an indoor dog.
Before the move, my home had a driveway, so parking was never an issue. In the new place, each townhome is assigned two parking spaces. The rest is a fight for the few other spaces designated for visitors, but which usually have residents occupying them as well. This leads to my neighbors’ visitors occasionally taking my spots. One time, my less than upstanding neighbor had a less than upstanding guest who took my spot. He was arrested and his car sat in my spot for more than a week, which the HOA refused to do anything about. The temptation to take a bat to the car, slash the tires, and leave the thing in ruins was very strong. I settled for taping a note to his windshield instructing him never to park in my spot again. I probably should have avoided that as well because one of my tires mysteriously began leaking air soon after he came and got his car. On top of that, lots of barn swallows congregate just outside, which means cleaning off bird crap is a daily thing during the warm months. Most of this would seem inconsequential to people, but when you’re in a deep depression and don’t adapt well to change, changes in even small things can be a nightmare.