Continuous Reintegration Analysis Phobia (CRAP)

We are counting down the days to Husband’s visit home in the single digits now, and I swear, I’m losing my mind. I’m not talking about the to-do list that has lived happily on my white board for months which I am now attempting to cross off in the last weeks of singledom. I mean I’m really going kinda crazy. While talking on the phone with a friend this week I realized I’ve officially become ridiculous. And while I know that this has GOT to stop before Husband gets here, it just ain’t that easy.

Have you ever just told yourself to stop being ridiculous? This is where I am.

I mean I’m mature. I’m smiling. I’m functioning perfectly well. The trash is making its way to the curb. The bills are being paid. My children appear (mostly) at various activities in regular-looking clothes (relatively) after brushing their hair (sometimes) and their teeth (usually). I convince myself I’m doing a stellar job absorbing the thoughts that are whizzing through my brain at light speed. But honestly it’s constant. And every couple of days I buckle under the weight of the unanswerable questions. These queries spontaneously combust so frequently that I’ve just given up on trying to address my brain’s own indolent self-interrogation. My synapses are now solely dedicated to the process of asking questions without bothering to think of a response. And you see, this is where the insanity comes in. Because when you know you’re not going to have to answer the questions, you can come up with some real doozies. Examples? Uh, no. Just trust me on this.

I have now learned not to even hint at the craziness going on in there. Husband and multiple friends all repeat the same mantra … “JUST RELAX. He will be so happy to just be home and see you and the kids …  you’re worrying too much. Don’t worry. Just let it be.” Well, fine. I know that. Thanks for stating the obvious. Great concept. Perfectly good idea.

The actual execution of that brilliant plan seems to be the stumbling block. I stand in the mirror and sternly give myself a lecture. Then I point my finger at myself: “Okay, ready … stop doing what you’re doing and thinking what you’re thinking!” But it doesn’t work.  So I try compassion on myself instead, and I end up crying in the bathroom mirror over the candle shrine erected to count down the months since Husband left. The long line of burning wicks represents the staggering amount of time that has passed since I’ve seen a real live living breathing husband.

Therefore, in an attempt to get control of my phrenia du jour I have taken the first step, and I’ve given it a name. Because let’s face it, “Restless Leg Syndrome” sounds infinitely more justified as a condition. “Fidgety” is just a plain old character flaw.

I’m calling it Continuous Reintegration Analysis Phobia (CRAP).

 The following symptoms of CRAP are commonly observed:

–         Overwhelming obsessive compulsion to scrub, disinfect, polish, repair, replace, and/or re-arrange surroundings that just one short week ago seemed (probably because of delusion) to be completely habitable, but now (probably because of paranoia) appear to be shockingly inadequate by regular human standards;

–         Extremely disorganized thought patterns characterized by incomplete sentences, dangling participles, missed medical/dental appointments (yes that’s supposed to be plural), and a complete inability to finish any of the projects described in the bullet point above;

–         High-functioning mania including but not limited to sacrificing the “Pampered Chef Super-Scraper” to extricate the gunk in the guinea pig cage despite the obvious and impending allergic reaction it will inevitably cause, including but not limited to one eye completely swelling shut, including but not limited to the taking of allergy medication to counteract the swelling, which by the way subsequently induces additional mania and insomnia;

–         Extreme emotional lability expressed as tempered excitement, inappropriate laughter (which does not go over well in court), remorseful screaming, rapid speech with elevated volume and pitch, and excessive use of extraordinarily inane and HIPPOPOTO­MONSTRO­SESQUIPED­AL­IAN words.

Since I’ve named this thing, it’s medical. Which means it’s capable of medication, right? My rigorous Rx regimen for CRAP started with three successive days of (1) Jack-In-The Box tacos; (2) a five-pound box of See’s Candies; (3) an order of not-so-regular fries from Five Guys Burgers and Fries; and (4) A fresh strawberry shake from Burgerville. Yes, three successive days and four food items. I know what that means.

Because of the destructive nature of this particular form of medication and its ability to counteract Operation Reclaim the Booty, I moved on quickly to something slightly less calorie-laden but infinitely more compulsive: Retail Therapy. I purchased a pile of expensive new undergarments with sparkly things on them in a moment of weakness. Later I stood horrified looking into my bathroom mirror, wondering why normal people would pay so much money to highlight such areas, let alone allow them to be voluntarily emblazoned in sparkles, particularly after consuming an entire brown bag full of greasy french fries.

So in my last-ditch effort at sanity, I have now turned to the only therapy that has ever offered me any true form of respite: writing and praying. I decided to start writing down all the questions I have, not because they mean anything, and not because they will ever be answered, but because somehow, getting them onto paper takes them out of my head.

Not only that, as an additional phase of therapy, each night before I go to bed and say my prayers, that infernal list of questions gets destroyed. I thought about ripping them up into tiny shards, but honestly that just wasn’t violent or permanent enough. So I’ve decided there’s only one way to truly and appropriately dispose of these unanswerable queries:

relationship shredder

Sharp. Steel. Blades. And, there’s a bonus: by the time Husband comes home for good, we will have a full ticker-tape parade at the ready.

The jury is still out on whether or not this is truly beneficial. I secretly fear that I’m actually writing the same questions over and over again. But even if I am, I’m shredding them over and over again. And that my friends is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Like I said, CRAP!


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenschwab
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 20:59:13

    AHHH! I needed this! I have CRAP too! I think I’m still lingering in Stage 2: Retail Therapy. Because how could my husband possibly come home to a disorganized shoe area!? We must have a shoe rack! 🙂

    Thanks for the reality check!


  2. Athena
    Jun 18, 2011 @ 20:47:54

    Praying for you! So glad my mind came back after R&R. Or at least I think it did… Bonus, the house had never been so clean. I don’t think it will ever be again (since I will probably be in straight jacket when he comes home for good).


  3. Maureen
    Jun 18, 2011 @ 11:41:22

    What is it about that awful last few days/weeks that just unhinges us?! I’m in teh same boat…waiting the ‘real” homecoming and after numerous delays I’m just over it. I swear I’ve eaten at every fast food joint in a 3 mile radius….
    Can I link to this on Facebook? You describe it so much better than I ever could!


  4. Marika Benson
    Jun 18, 2011 @ 09:27:27

    I love you friend! You are an amazing beautiful wife, mother and mostly woman! Give yourself grace, you are doing an incredible job!! love and prayers, Marika


  5. Qwrgrl
    Jun 18, 2011 @ 00:39:12

    Once again wickedly amazingly enjoyable piece! First thing I noticed from the To Do list is the Spa panel repair. Laughed instantly as that too is on my list! I too am hating how the belief that they’ll be happy to see me is supposed to outweight the realistic worries that I haven’t accomplished those important things that if it was them at home, they would have gotten done. Some say paranoia, I say reality! And the guinea pig…had to put one to sleep this week due to a kidney stone. Vet said it would have been like a golf ball if in a human! I cried horribly & since they aren’t here to say their goodbyes, it is nicely placed in a shoe box, wrapped in plastic, & on ice for a future burial. The strange things one ends up doing during long distance separations…when does the 12 Step C.R.A.P. treatment begin? lol Much thanks!


  6. Annoyed Army Wife
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 17:57:29

    That super-scraper is seriously awesome – I have like 18 of them that I use for various things around the house. Thanks for participating in the Roundup!


  7. Kathy
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 15:37:58

    Hang in there. Have a glass of wine. And I won’t even comment on some of your questions, even though I really want to. 😉


  8. Kelly
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 09:41:35

    I take issue with your assertion that you are mature. 😉


  9. James Falkner
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 07:40:39

    Erma Bombeck has met her match! Love ‘ya – the Dad. P.S. Just RELAX!


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