#48: Birthday getaway

#48: Birthday getaway

This week I share about delightful last-minute plans for my birthday and one of my heroes, John Moe.

These weekly updates are an ongoing series in which I share what it is like to live with OCD in an effort to reduce the stigma around mental health, particularly in the workplace.


I felt extremely blessed that last week was such a turnaround from the previous week. A big help was writing about it and allowing myself to feel the big emotions. That’s often a challenge for me.

My birthday was last weekend. (Thank you for the reflexive mental well wishes. You don’t need to say anything. 😊) It snuck up on us, and we didn’t have anything planned. As I wrapped up the work week, I thought about what I would like to do, and decided on a short getaway. Ideally, my wife and I would have gone together, but with seven kids, impromptu trips are nearly impossible. We discussed a number of options, and my wife sent me this:

I was just thinking that having a full day of no responsibilities has been something that you have liked in the past, so I could give you that for your birthday 🥰

I loved that idea.

Weight of responsibility illustration Weight of responsibility

I drew the image above for the 2020 TOATC OCD Awareness Week Art Exhibit contest1 at the OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center where I did an intensive outpatient program. The weight of responsibility is a huge part of my OCD. I describe my diagnosis of scrupulosity as a superset of perfectionism. In many ways, it is the drive to be perfect with the threat of eternal damnation looming over any failure, of which they are naturally many each day. Often, when I reach my breaking point, I feel as if I’m being crushed by the different responsibilities in my life.

All that was to say that my wife’s suggestion sounded ideal.

I booked a hotel near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon and stayed Friday evening through Sunday morning. It was glorious. I relaxed without worrying about the time at all, which did mean that I only ate a few times. Apparently having a schedule or routine is key to healthy nutrition for me. I caught up on Ted Lasso, finished the first season of Loki, and watched professional cornhole. I enjoyed losing a few hours messing around with my website. I ate at Eight Settlers Distillery and Silver Fork Lodge. And I read two full books and made progress in Several Short Sentences About Writing by Jan Klinkenborg.

One of the books I read was from a quartet my wife gave me for my birthday: The Tripods by John Christopher. As I opened it, I realized that I have been searching for these books for years. I read them when I was young, but couldn’t remember enough detail to actually look for them. The sense of closure that gave me was as delightful as it was unexpected.

The other book was my birthday present to myself–The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe. I meant to order it months ago, and have been looking forward to reading it. John was the host of a podcast with the same name that I found extremely helpful as I went through the beginnings of my journey discovering mental health. Sadly, it was cancelled last year. But he has started a new podcast, Depresh Mode, and I am enjoying listening to all the episodes now that I have discovered it exists.

One of the things I love about John Moe and his work is that we are basically on the same mission. Trying to normalize conversations around mental health. Sharing our stories in the hopes that it will create space for others to share theirs. I’m like a small-time version of John Moe who is less funny and has more kids. And I’m fine with that.

We all have a chance in our own sphere to make a difference for the people around us. It could be one person that needs a smile, a kind word, or empowering vulnerability. That’s enough. I’m enough. You’re enough. Just as we are.


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  1. And I won the “Staff Pick” award! 🥳