I do something weird every so often. Every so often I get what can only be described as an obsession, which can last anywhere from three weeks or so to three years. It's sort of like bipolar, in that it lasts for a while and then goes away, but it doesn't seem to involve depression or mania.
After the year that Jay (and both of my dogs) died, I got heavily into estate auctions and eBay. I bought stuff. Lots of stuff. The country house is chock full of stuff, some of it lesser junk, some of it very good (from live estate auctions). That's what's so overwhelming about sorting out that house. I understand that part of it then was real situational depression, and an attempt to fill a suddenly empty and echoing house and life with something I could love. That went on for three years.
But every so often, something similar but of shorter duration happens. It might be needlework, when I spend every waking moment knitting, embroidering, sewing, and doing nothing else that has to be done. Or reading, when I feel like I absolutely have to read the entire backlog of books on the shelves. Or the past month and a half, when I started watching videos on YouTube, in particular some expats living in Japan who do videos on the culture, houses, customs, of life in Japan (**see below), and video tours of old Victorian houses - to the exclusion of everything else (including, as has been obvious, the updating of this blog).
But I'm not depressed. I still enjoy stuff. Even after Jay died, I still managed to get out, like I joined the fire department and got EMT training, went to the county fairs and the antiques fairs and the Renaissance fairs, took bellydance lessons, etc., I just don't pay bills when due, or clean the house, or do the dishes or the laundry - in other words, when I'm in the house, it's all obsession. As if I want to escape responsibilities?
I didn't really realize that pattern until now. I've been thinking back, trying to figure out when it started. I think it started when I married Ex#2. The guy who didn't talk to me for weeks at a time, who would go away on business trips without mentioning it to me and couldn't understand why I worried when he didn't come home after work (pre-cell phone days), the guy who wet the bed almost every night and crapped his pants whenever we were in the car going somewhere he didn't want to go, and refused to admit there was a problem, let alone see a doctor. That's when it started. I was so alone, and I read and did needlework to fill my empty days. Projects, projects, projects.
It was just Saturday that I came out of this latest (the YouTube obsession) cycle. I got a bunch of stuff done around the house this weekend; suddenly I wanted to clean up and check things off to-do lists. I wonder if, now that I'm aware of it, I might be able to see it happening and control it.
**On the Japanese videos -
Lots of good things about Japan, like very low crime, beautiful countryside, it's very clean, people respect others, and so on. But there's no way I could possibly live there for any length of time (even beyond the fact that immigration is strongly discouraged).
The houses, even new ones, have no central heating and no insulation! People use space heaters to heat one room, and the space heaters are kerosene so you have to keep a window cracked, and the heaters turn themselves off periodically, so if you don't get up pre-dawn to turn them back on, you wake to a freezing house.
Westerners are amazed by the toilets. They are very fancy, electronic, and have heated seats. Well, yeah! THERE'S NO HEAT!
All social and professional interactions are governed by rank and seniority. You must defer in all matters to those who rank above you, which means that if someone of higher rank than you says you must do something that makes no sense at all, is stupid or dangerous, you must guard your facial expressions and react with enthusiasm. You NEVER correct or criticize the ideas of anyone of higher rank. This is not just professionally - it's socially, too. (Your bosses will expect to sit in the front and at the choice tables at your wedding, for example, ahead of your family.) You never say anything negative. If you want to say "No", you say "Perhaps".
Husbands outrank wives, so a wife is to expect that her husband will have affairs, and she is to ignore it in all ways. Some husbands may never stray, but he's considered a fool if he has the opportunity and doesn't.
You have to fill out pages and pages of forms to do anything if you are more than just a short-time tourist, and there are no English translations of anything, not even the directional signs in official buildings, and next to no one speaks English. Learn Japanese, or starve.
Some YouTube channels: