Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is the grass always greener?

I happen to be married to someone who has the best accent in the world. With me being a shut in and he being a video game nerd, we found each other over the vastness of the world wide web. Once we met and knew our relationship was a done deal, we had to make the big choice of living in America, the land of opportunity, or Down Under, the land of snakes and vegemite and the best accents in the world. I had wanted to live in Australia since 2005, when I was lucky enough to spend a week in Melbourne (!) and was immediately smitten. We listed the pros and cons of either country, and America won out due to my job as a restaurant manager and my life experience. Don't get me wrong, my husband isn't a child, but he is five years younger than me and comes from a town of around 10,000.

We got married in America, and all was right with the world. For about a month. After that, anxiety and depression slowly crept in and eventually tore my world down. We have been getting by on his part-time job and my disability checks, but just barely. Also, my checks run out in about five months at the most, and I don't see myself working as a manager anytime soon with my social anxieties at an all-time high. The end has been looming around us for awhile now, and we have been trying to figure out what we are going to do very, very soon. In the midst of all of our worrying came a break in the clouds: My husband's parents offered to move us to Australia and live with them until we get situated *cue the "Hallelujah!" song*.

I don't know about most people with depression, but I tend to run. All the time. Having a hard time at a job? Quit and get another one. Bad boyfriend? Quit and get another one. No consequences. You start fresh with a clean slate each time, and when the going gets tough, run. I had to look at myself in the mirror before I got married and tell myself that marriage is a run-free zone, and even at my last job I stuck it out because the good outweighed the bad. Now we are given a choice: stay where we are and suffer, maybe fail, or move to a land of milk and honey and start fresh with a clean slate. Where's my luggage again?

Of course, whenever I am faced with a big decision, I call on wait, I call on my best friend S. He sees me as transparent. I can't hide my true, bare self from him, and even if I tried he would see the real me anyway. So I call S, and tell him about my options. He tells me everything that I have tried to keep locked away in a box in the back of my brain: You're running away from your problems, what if your depression is just as bad there as it is here, do you want your husband's parents to live with the you that you are now, etc. He always makes sense out of everything. It's almost like he lays an outline down of an idea and we work on it together. Of course this drives my husband crazy, as he doesn't understand the bond I share with my best friend. Sometimes you need someone out of the box to look in with an objective point of view, you know? Everything he says make sense, and of course I fall into more despair because I am secretly convinced that no matter where I live I am going to be miserable. My brain will always be my brain even if I lived on the moon.

So now I have to get out of bed and really figure out my life. And it's not just my life anymore, I have a better half I have to consider. Moving to another country is a HUGE undertaking. It's not just BAM! plane ride g'day mate, it's selling my assets. Figuring out what to sell and what to keep (I'm a girl! I have knick knacks from third grade I can't bear to part with!), and then figuring out what to store in the U.S. and what to ship over. What about my cats? They are my children. What about my actual child? He would be staying in America, obviously, but what if something happens to him? Could I afford to come back? And my family? My friends? A lot of these thoughts I have to cancel out, as my husband left his friends and his family when he chose to move here. His grandfather passed away just last month and he couldn't be there. Will there be resentment if the same happens to my grandfather? *knocks on wood* I'm not too concerned with leaving my friends and family because I rarely see them now anyway due to my social anxiety, and there is this wonderful invention called the Internet. In Australia I will have to rely on my husband to take care of me. They drive on the left. They use the metric system and add "u" to all of their words, like colour and neighbour. They don't have Mexican food. Or In-N-Out. OR IN-N-OUT!!! But...they do have a universal health care system and they take care of their own people, and their economy isn't in a hole like ours. Lastly, there's that part of me that cares so much about what other people think of me. I would be living in Australia. Here's what I am imagining in my head:
Jane: "so, what's new with you, Hed?"
Me: "oh, I moved to Australia last month."
Jane:"no way! I'm so jealous! I'm stuck here in CALIFORNIA."

Forget the fact that I'm severely depressed, 100 pounds overweight and poor, I am living in Australia. That's the first thing people will see. I even think of it as a plus for my family, like when a friend or co-worker of theirs ask about me, they can say something decent about me like, "she moved last year with her husband to Australia", as opposed to, "oh Hed? Yeah, she's doing okay". That fact alone is making me scramble to get a plane ticket. So what am I to do? Live here and pray my depression will go away and we will eventually prosper here? Or live there and pray my depression will go away and we will eventually prosper there? This truly is a win-win or a lose-lose situation no matter how you flip the coin. If I could choose anything, I would choose to live. Happy. I don't care where that would take me.


Terry said...

I'm posting through my hubs Terry's Google account so don't get confused here.

I must ponder this deeply. I think you have laid this out incredibly clearly and I can see how huge it is. First thought: can your husband get a good job at home in Australia? You can get help for your depression anywhere that you have medical insurance. I am way overweight too, and that sucks, but we both know where we stand and how to get to the end of the tunnel, its just getting up and doing it that's scary. What if we change our lives lose the weight, and things are still awful? What then? I feel your pain and fear girl, but I also know you inherited a backbone of stainless steel. Your great great great grandmother moved to Indian territory and didn't see a white woman for a year. She was caught in a flood, lost almost everything, lonely and probably miserable but she did it and because of thathere we are, you and me. Thank you Rachel Fowler, you can do this, whatever it is. I'm with you, I wish I had gotten to know you many years ago but maybe the universe saved the best for now? Yes! Choose Happy! Love you, Auntie R.

Hed said...

Just to elaborate on the job situation, J has a better chance of getting a better and higher wage job over there than over here, but it's still a "I'm pretty sure". Also we would be living with his parents until that time, so our bills would be decreased until the time he does get a job. Depending on the visa, I would be able to at least get traveler's insurance if something dire should happen until I file for permanent residency. So yeah. And I'm very aware that if it wasn't for my father's side of the family, I wouldn't be the (crazy) person I am today :)

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