My family is packing and unpacking all of my belongings when I move because I am much too sick to handle it myself. I’m coping with other people packing for me much better than I expected. As family members have come to absorb the fact I am letting them pack my belongings, many of them have assured me, “I’ll be careful with your stuff” or “We’ll pack it really well, don’t worry about a thing”.
The thing is, the reason I have always been so resistant to people helping me pack isn’t because I think they’ll do a bad job and ruin my belongings. The issue is that I’m used to being able to pack everything how I want without requiring any help. My OCD preferences when it comes to packing don’t impact anyone else because I’ve never let them pack anything. I pack everything like it is a puzzle. I have a plan in my head of the order I will unpack things, and keep that in mind as I pack them. I’m pretty sure the fact that I am not unpacking my belongings has allowed me to accept this whole situation much better. I’m not unpacking my belongings, so why should I care how they are packed? I shouldn’t. I completely trust my family members to get my belongings from point A to point B in tact. I just want don’t want to know anything about it, because if I do, I’ll think about how I might do it which is pointless because I’m not doing it!
What I’m getting at is that there are different types of control. Choice is control over your outcomes. Power is control over what other people do. I don’t want to control how my family members pack, I just want to control the outcome of this move. By choosing to have my family pack and unpack my belongings, I have, in fact, chosen an outcome. The outcome I have chosen here is to be completely moved into a new home on Saturday and not have sacrificed my health in order to do it all myself. I did have a choice. I could have told my family that I will, as always, pack every single one of my belongings, and they may do nothing except move the boxes from point A to point B. When we get to point B, maybe they can unpack some silverware or shoes, but more than likely they can just keep me company while I unpack everything just how I want. The outcome of this choice would have been that I’d get satisfaction knowing I’d done everything myself. I’d also be sick for a few weeks afterwards, everything wouldn’t get unpacked due to illness, and I’d possibly end up in the hospital before I even finished packing up the apartment.
It really wasn’t much of a choice. Relinquish control or end up in the hospital. That is what I struggle with. Although it seems that I chose not to take part in the moving process, it really wasn’t a choice. It was the only option. Not having as many choices as to what route I take to get a particular outcome is the thing I hate most about being sick. However, I am grateful I had the option to relinquish control to people I trust. Some people’s final outcomes to choose from would have been move and end up in the hospital, or don’t move at all. I’m fortunate I have so many people who want to help me.
Stay tuned for part 2. I am going to write about control and chronic illness.