International Crazy: My weekly jetlag makes my family nuts

International Crazy is the way I describe myself when I come home from a trip. Not to be confused with mad cow or a Beachbody workout, International Crazy is brought on not by infectious prions or an insane personal trainer, but by forty-eight hours of sleep deprivation and jet lag.

The condition is insidious. Often, I feel fine. Normal. Sometimes, maybe just a little tired. Then someone sends me an email saying there’s a bad blog going around about me and I believe it. And I get really mad. Or start crying. It’s like having a really, really bad case of PMS for a day and a half every week. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking my husband is one lucky guy!

The trouble really comes in when I feel good and I forget I’m International Crazy and actually think the molehills in my life are mountains. Like when a phone call or bill or email just set me off. This is where it’s nice to have kind and loving family members willing to get me though these tough situations by helpfully pointing out what’s truly going on. “Honey, you’re bat-shit. Go to sleep.”

I should probably fly a domestic trip once in a while to get my sleep back on track, but I enjoy the mystery of never knowing which night I’m going to wake up at three in the morning wanting to go make a sandwich. And as a working mom, the Europe flights maximize my flight time in the smallest amount of time away from home. I’d have to add more hours away, up to an additional day, to get the same pay if I flew anything else and then, if I were gone even longer, by the time I got home, I’d never find my countertops.

But having the experience of International Crazy once a week or so can have its advantages (“Not so much,” says the husband.) The times I realize my reactions are over-the-top and abnormally emotional, it helps me to take a step back and try to figure out what’s truly important. And it’s usually not the mud-tracked kitchen floor I’m yelling about or the overwhelming stack of to-do items I’m crying about. It’s about my kind and loving family that stands by me and is used to me and my International Crazies and still loves me anyway. At least until the PMS kicks in.


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