Moving, moving, always moving

I’m moving house again.  Well, not really house, as one generally thinks of a house.  It’s a sheltered space, yes, and it even has a brand new deck overlooking a rushing river.  What it does not have is a bathroom, or a kitchen, or a bedroom, or a closet.

It is the shell of my father’s ceramics studio, that he is no longer capable of working in.  I have spent most of a year making it structurally sound: decontaminating it of poisonous chemicals (lead and other heavy metals, solvents), replacing sections of floor, painting, rewiring, fixing leaks, and more.  Now it’s time to give up the sweet little cabin I’ve been renting, and move myself into the studio.  The day after tomorrow.

Half of it is still full of Dad’s potter’s wheels and other stuff that we haven’t had the heart to sell yet.  I think that is coming to a close, though, as Dad’s condition continues to deteriorate and as I told my mother yesterday, if a miracle occurs and he wakes up one morning cured of his dementia, I will buy him a brand new wheel to celebrate.

But what this post is really about is moving.  I’m sick of it.  I have moved so many times I can’t even count them.  Three times in the past year and a half, eight times in the four years before that, fourteen times in the ten years before that, and that’s where I lose count.

Going the opposite direction, nineteen times by the time I was sixteen, and then I ran away from home and until I got married at age 28 I was constantly on the move.  Even after I got married we moved a lot, being students, and after we divorced I kept going. 

I don’t know whether the instability of moving is a symptom or a causative factor of my illness. Maybe both.   I don’t know what it would feel like to be secure in my sense of place.  I suspect it would have a stabilizing effect on me.

I had a sample of that feeling of stability in Israel, where after a furious spate of moving (house sold out from under me two months after moving in, house flooded from roof leak, series of temporary room rentals while searching), I finally hit upon my dream house right in the middle of the most wonderful neighborhood in Jerusalem.  I had an infinitely renewable long term lease.  Three years into it, my father got so sick that I felt compelled to return to

America to be near him.  I kept the house in Jerusalem, sublet, in hopes that I would be able to return.

The sublet didn’t work out, and I had to give up the house.  It was then that I realized how the house had symbolized a solid stability that I had tasted, and had snatched away from me.

Now, in two weeks, I’m going back to Israel for two and a half months.  My Beloved and I are going to live together for that time.  Our aim, aside from enjoying being together, is to determine, if we can, whether we can make a life together as husband and wife.

I tell you, dearest readers, that if we can make it together, I only want to move one more time:  into OUR house.  Wish us luck.

Copyright 2012 Laura P. Schulman all rights reserved

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  1. I hate moving, too. Good luck in Israel!

  2. I hope you have a wonderful time in Israel. I hope you can both have a happy future together.

  3. I am certain that you and your husband to be will be together in your own little sanctuary for a long, long time. Hashem wills it.

  4. My parents used to move us all the time, so I certainly appreciate the glory of stability. Best of luck to you and your beloved. ❤

  5. I wish you the best of luck, my friend! I’ve had to move several times myself but not nearly as many as you. I despise moving and I wish for a forever home for myself too.

  6. Good Luck! I hope everything works out with your Beloved and you never move again!

  7. I hope you’re able to maintain some stability through all these changes. Making a major move was one of the last events that really unhinged me, and is definitely something I don’t handle well. Sounds like you’re a pro at it, even if you hate it!

    • Thanks, Dee Dee. Moving, as I’m sure you know, is one of the top ten things on the Life Stress Scale that are more likely than anything else to tip a person over the edge. At least this time I’m not combining it with too many other life stressors…oh wait, overseas travel, new relationship, worried to death about how my parents will do in my absence…cancel that.

      I tell you what, when I was living full time in Israel within a supportive community, I was stable on 150 mg of Lamectil a day. Now I’m taking five different meds! It’s keeping me right-side-up, at the price of my memory. That’s how I’m getting through this. Moving doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times I do it; in fact, there’s a real trauma to it, like I have no place in this world to call my own. Just a wandering soul. I could get really dark about this, so I’ll stop now.

  8. Hello – I am a 42 year-old single mother with bipolar disorder. Your story resonates so deeply with my own experiences with moving.

    I have moved Sooo many times in my single life and been through years of homelessness
    Before and after the birth of my daughter. Since the birth of my daughter I have yet to find a stable loving relationship with a partner. Things have been really stressful with being in and out of jobs. While trying to cope and manage my disorder and stay clear of hospital stays. Here it is after two years in an apartment and we are moving again.
    At times I feel like I’m never gonna find a place to call home and I have let my child down.
    Hopefully this upcoming move will provide a new chapter of more peace and even longer stability.

    Thanks for reading this post.
    Retina M

    • Hi Retina, thanks so much for sharing this with me. I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with the terrible state of instability that many of us with bipolar seem to get stuck in. It’s especially bad when we have children, because, as you say, we feel like we’re letting them down.

      Quite recently I’ve had some thoughts surface that have shed a bit of light on this particular darkness.

      We do the very best we can for our children, even in our worst times. Yes, there are times when we feel like we didn’t, or couldn’t, do better. This will happen. It happens to all parents, maybe more so to us. Certainly more so to us, because we’re always feeling bad about not giving our kids a normal childhood.

      While this is certainly true, I think it’s also true that our extreme emotional sensitivity gives us the opportunity to be even more amazing parents, within our limitations. We can give our kids an understanding of how the world works that the normal”muggles” can’t even see.

      Be sure to take really good care of yourself. That is not just everyday good advice, when you’re a bipolar parent. It’s a teaching tool. Your child sees you doing self, care stuff. She hears you talking with your care team on the phone…she asks “who were you taking to?”

      “I was talking with people who help me stay healthy,” you explain. Then you have a conversation about our bodies, minds, and souls, and how we are the caretakers of those things, and how we show love for ourselves and our kids by taking good care of ourselves.

      I’ve thought a lot about what I would have changed as a mother. I started out having these good conversations with my son, but as time passed and things got more complicated, I let my own self-care and communication go by the way. I regret this.

      Keep the communication channels going with your child. Don’t let the shame monster drag you down. Keep writing!

      All the best,



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