The Move

I remember the first time I rode The Colossus a.k.a Fire Dragon roller coaster at Lagoon. Colossus is a Double Looping roller coaster and to a 7 year old with limited life experience pretty much the most intensely dangerous thing imaginable. I was a daring child. When my family took our boat out to Pineview Reservoir, it was me out there riding the knee board or hitting the wake on the tube all day long while my siblings popped Cheetos and held up the orange flag when I ultimately hit the water. What I remember about that day I rode the Collossus is not the actual ride, but the wait in line. If we had documentation of the conversation I was having with myself in my mind I'm pretty sure it would have gone something like this.

I don't know if I can do this. Can I do this? Should I ask my mom if I have to do this? But what if she says I don't. I want to do this, I think. That girl getting of the roller coaster looks younger than me and she is smiling. If she can do it, I can. It must be okay. But what if it's awful! I can't do this... but I'm going to.

Tragically, there was a mechanical malfunction with a coaster car that day. It severed one of my arms and I had to be fitted with a prosthetic.

Just kidding! Everything was fine and I must have had fun because I have probably ridden that coaster a hundred times since then. But really, for all the stress I put myself through waiting in line, the actual ride was anticlimatic.

That day is the furthest back that I can recall having anxiety.

I don't know if you've seen that antidepressant commercial where this cartoon woman is followed around by this little character she calls "My Depression," but lets imagine that lately I have had a little dude called "My Anxiety" following me around.

My Anxiety showed up and started to pester me about the latest move way before I even knew where I was moving. It would be our first military move. My husband was graduating medical school and was participating in the military match for psychiatric residencies. I knew the locations that would be most likely and was preparing for each by weighing the pros and cons of both. My Anxiety wanted to know how one begins a military move and what being part of the military meant. Where would we live? How would we know where we should live?

I found out my husband matched and I was eager to get started with the next phase in the whole doctor training process, but after frantic google searches and phone calls I learned that until my husband got his orders from the Army nothing was official and the move could not be started. Weeks past and nothing came. I did not know what to do during this period of time. Should I be excited that we had matched and start waving my husband-pride flag with the other medical school graduate's wives on Facebook? Or should I be freaking out that the orders hadn't arrived and begin takeover of my husbands email account in order to set things straight with the military. I did a little of both, but mostly I worried. The absence of this stupid document conjoined My Anxiety and I at the hip and turned me into a ticking time bomb of insanity.

Due to the brain damage caused by going from my human form into a ticking time bomb and back again, I could be wrong about some of the following information but I think things happened as follows:

Sometime in May, I found email correspondence from the hospital stating that interns were to arrive for in-processing on June 13th.

We received our official orders that would start the relocation process on June 8th.
Luckily, within days, we were sent amended orders with a new reporting date of June 20th to accommodate our situation.

The next available date to have the military move our household goods was in August, so we opted to arrange our own move. We chose PODS rather than a moving truck since we did not have housing arranged. We loaded the storage container up and then my husband, sister, My Anxiety and I embarked on the road trip of a lifetime across the U.S.

Although my body was present with my husband and sister, my mind was preoccupied with worries about what would happen when we got to our destination. What if I couldn't find a place to live? What if the place I found was in the wrong area? How would I survive without my families help with my daughter? Would I ever see my husband? Many of the times I interacted with my travel mates I was critical and cold. I was no fun to be around.

Then the most liberating thing happened. The wait was over! We made it to our destination. I sprung into action and with the help of a realtor I was able to locate the perfect house to rent, only problem was it wasn't available till July 19th and it was only late June. Rather than choose an apartment or house I wouldn't be happy with, we opted to wait till the house I liked was available. My husband stayed in a hotel and my daughter and I stayed with relatives a couple hours away for the three and a half weeks. It was no big deal. I even had a good time.

As I reflect on the whole experience, I can see that all of the time up until I actually arrived in the Washington D.C. area was a lot like that wait in line for Colossus at Lagoon when I was 7. I had participated in measure of internal worry and panic only paramount to arriving in Washington D.C. and finding it full of flesh eating zombies. There was nothing about this move that warranted the amount of worry I put into it. Everything has worked out perfectly! We have a great house and my husband is loving his job. My daughter and I are getting along well and have already made friends and have fun things planned for the future. The ticking time bomb of insanity never exploded!

All that mental preparation for the worst did nothing more than isolate me from the people I love and make me feel instable. I am a strong woman, capable of coping with whatever life throws at me. Things have a way of working themselves and I always end up okay. At the resolution of this whole ordeal I can only hope that when I am approaching life's next big roller coaster, I allow the roller coaster itself leave an impression, not the wait in line.


  1. What an adventure. I am sure you didn't call it an adventure at the time...I know I wouldn't. But now that all is said and done it was an adventure. I'm glad you are feeling settled. I was going to get you my Joel's brother and sister-in-law's info--they live in Arlington. We are going out there to visit in Nov.

  2. What a great post! I think you are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Call me more when you need to talk and I'll do the same. I think we can still be great supports for each other, even across the country! OK, now post cute pictures =)

  3. Way to go! Wow you had to wait much longer than us, I don't think I could have done it! I was crossing days off that calendar every day waiting and waiting for the news where we would live! Definitely one of my more anxious moments in life too! Hope DC is treating you well!

  4. This whole process, med school, matching, residency, it's all maddening. Having our lives completely out of our control is something almost unbelievable. Yours even more so, thanks to the US ARMY. You'll make a wonderful Army wife Mel! <3 I'm glad that the waiting was worse than the reality. I'm freaking about matching, and Barry's not even sent in his applications yet! It's so surreal! Anyway, love this post, and you!

  5. I love this post Mel.......so well written. I love a good analogy.
    I am happy that you are all doing so well. Give the baby some kisses for me.

  6. You write sooo good. Wish I could remember and come up with stuff like that! I will be sure to follow your blog :)