Sometimes three years can seem like an awfully long time. Sometimes you’re not quite sure where those three years went. Sometimes you just don’t know how you made it through those three years.
It’s been three years since everything went pear-shaped and you know what, I’m going to tell you a little about it. I know that sometimes it seems like all I do is whinge but I need to get this off my chest. Bear with me.
Here are some of the jolly little hiccups that have happened during those three years:
Husband lost his job. Husband got very ill. Nearly lost husband at one point.
Father died suddenly and prematurely.
In our immediate circle there’s been two marriage breakups (one especially nasty) with all the associated fallout plus various feuds and falling outs which have made life particularly difficult for everyone else.#
An assortment of rumbling family problems.
Lost two dear friends who were like parents to me.
Financial problems due to husband losing his job (naturally in very stressful circumstances) and having to live on benefits (don’t let anyone kid you that this is an easy, comfortable lifestyle). The threat of losing our home has now been over our heads daily for two and a half years.
Applying for and living on benefits. Don’t go there.
The boiler has died on at least three separate occasions. I think in the last three years we’ve probably been without hot water for about half that time.
Unfinished DIY projects due to a painful combination of lack of finance and motivation and our helper going AWOL.
Another relative, in their teens, dying suddenly and tragically.
I don’t do status symbols but our van was probably the closest thing to one. Giving it up meant losing freedom, independence and being able to help other people.
My own ongoing health problems.
Hmm, what else.
Well, I think that comes to about 700 something on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale * so that really should do it. But it’s not just the amount of stress that’s difficult to live with but it’s constancy. It’s feels like that the carpet is about to pulled out from under your feet, again, the whole time. You’re on edge. You can’t plan ahead. You dread tomorrow.
* I’m not a big fan of the stress scale, it’s a moderately useful tool but it does seem a little bit dated especially as there seems to be a very suburban, white, male, 1950s bias to it. Divorce is a pretty big number two and I have a sneaking suspicion that some people might actually welcome that event in their lives. Foreclosure is about halfway down a list, presumably because it just never happened back then in that world. The fact that pregnancy only happens to the other spouse definitely suggests that male bias. Or shock horror, your wife going out to work. Other quirks include less arguments with spouse being as stressful as a lot more. Oh and what happened to things like exams or other tests? Much less racism, sexism or any other form of bullying. How about being an immigrant or refugee? The chart deals with nothing like that. Besides which, stress like pain is a very subjective experience. You can’t guarantee that two similar people are feeling the same pain or the same amount of pain due to the same experience. I’m sure if you read through the list, you’d reorder the thing quite quickly and add a few of your own too.
|Death of spouse or child|
|Detention in jail or other institution|
|Death of a close family member (eg parent or sibling)|
|Major personal injury or illness|
|Being fired from work|
|Major change in health or behaviour of family member|
|Pregnancy of spouse/partner|
|Gaining a new family member (e.g. through birth, adoption etc)|
|Major business readjustment (e.g. merger, reorganisation, etc)|
|Major change in financial state (e.g. a lot worse off or a lot better off)|
|Death of a close friend|
|Changing to a different type of work|
|Major change in the number of arguments with spouse (e.g. a lot more or less)|
|Taking on a significant (to you) mortgage|
|Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan|
|Major change in responsibility at work (e.g. promotion, transfer, demotion)|
|Son or daughter leaving home (marriage, college etc)|
|Outstanding personal achievement|
|Partner beginning or ceasing work outside of the home|
|Beginning or ceasing formal schooling|
|Major change in living conditions (e.g. new house, renovating)|
|Revision of personal habits (dress, manners, association etc)|
|Troubles with the boss|
|Change in residence|
|Changing to a new school|
|Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation|
|Major change in church or spiritual activities (e.g. a lot more or less than usual)|
|Major change in social activities (e.g. clubs, dancing, movies etc)|
|Taking on a small loan (e.g. purchasing car, TV, freezer etc)|
|Major change in sleeping habits (e.g. a lot more or less)|
|Major change in number of family get-togethers (e.g. a lot more or less)|
|Major change in eating habits (e.g. a lot more or less food intake)|
|Holiday or vacation|
|Minor violations of the law (e.g. traffic or parking infringement)|