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Two weeks until Move-Out Day. We’ve found a place to live (Roscoe Village!) and gotten moving estimates, but we have yet to actually book movers. We’ve started packing and we have our plane tickets, but we still need health certificates for the cats and we have a ridiculous amount still left to pack. We’ve given away multiple carloads of clothes and towels and random odds and ends to Goodwill, but we still have a house so full of stuff that it will never fit in our new place. I could go on, but you get the point. Moving is hella stressful.

This week — when we were waiting to find out if we got the place, had multiple movers in the house doing estimates, had the carpet cleaners over, and were trying to figure out the logistics of getting us, our car, two dogs, and two cats back to the Midwest (thanks Mom and Dad!) — I had two near-panic attacks. I couldn’t stop my heart from racing, I couldn’t breathe, I felt like my skin was crawling… If I hadn’t experienced panic attacks before and known what was happening, I probably would have succumbed to the full brunt of it. Instead, I asked David to hug me and I cried in his arms. More than that, though, I’ve been using some novel coping mechanisms to deal with the stress.

In particular, I’ve found myself eating comfort food, drinking wine every night, and doing some therapeutic shopping. Awesome. I know these are pretty typical coping mechanisms, but they’re new to me. I think it’s because I’ve spent years leaving behind even more unhealthy coping mechanisms and I’ve finally succeeded. Which has left me vulnerable to the ease of eating one more chocolate chip cookie to make myself feel better.

On the other hand, maybe I’ve been doing it all along, but now I’m just more aware of it. Instead of mindlessly drinking, I think to myself, “You know what, I really need a glass of wine to calm down a bit and I’m just going to go ahead and do it.” It’s not as though I’m getting wasted every night, just a glass or two of wine.

And when I’m in the grocery store buying greens and salmon and organic peanut butter, I pass by the fresh-made cookies and say, “I deserve a cookie. This is really hard.” And I don’t eat an entire box of cookies, just one. Or maybe two.

photo credit: nytimes.com

And when I was in Target — the day after we got the offer in Chicago and the day before we went to Hawaii — and I passed by the swimsuit section and eyed a particularly cute blue bikini, my first instinct was to keep walking since I already had three swimsuits. And then I said, “F*ck it. I’m stressed and anxious and confused and I feel a bit miserable. I’m buying myself a $20 bikini because it just might make me feel better for 20 minutes.” And it DID.

I briefly considered calling my psychiatrist for an increase in my Zoloft, but then I figured, this will be over soon, and in the meantime, chocolate chip cookies and Sauvignon Blanc are doing a pretty good job.

What’s your favorite coping mechanism? Am I rationalizing or does this sound relatively ok?