Do You Suffer From G-SAD?

I have done what every therapist and doctor advises people not to do.  I have self-diagnosed, but let me first explain.

It’s summertime, and Joe and I are going on vacation for a few days.  It’s a chance to relax, to get away from everything, to reconnect, to breathe.  In actuality, though, the days leading up to departure mean a growing sense of unease and worry.  I become consumed with obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and stress — and none of it comes from the what-to-pack, what-not-to-pack scenario, nor from the airport pat-down, nor from who will mind the dog and the cat, nor from the last-second question, “Did I remember to take my trusted Swiss army knife out of my carry-on?”  No.  For me, the physical-emotional symptoms stem from leaving my garden and entrusting its care to someone other than myself.  I am now calling these symptoms Garden Separation Anxiety Disorder, also known as G-SAD, as in, “Gee, that’s sad.”

The plant caretake is Joe’s mother.  It is for her that I write lists and lists and lists of instructions of what each of my plants need.  “Keep an eye on the hydrangeas under the pine tree; that tree sucks up their water, and so you may have to give them a little extra.”  “I moved all of the pots that need daily watering to one side, but you could probably skip a day or two for the geraniums.”  “The sprinklers and hoses are all in position, and for some of the larger pots, you might be better off using a watering can.”  And on and on and on I go.  

Then I worry that she may not understand my hand-written notes, so I turn to the computer and type out my pages, complete with numbers and bullets.  In essence, all of my notes can be summed up with one simple sentence: “Please, don’t forget to water.”

Once Joe and I are away, I continue to have plants on the brain.  How are they holding up?  Are they wilted?  Do they need staking?  I’m not sure how new parents are able to leave their infant with a babysitter for the first time.  Hmmm.  That reminds me — I wonder if I could get a planting cam.  Maybe there’s even an app for that!

While we are away, Joe tries to distract me with a garden fix, visiting nurseries and public gardens. It helps.  We get ideas for future projects and enjoy the creativity of fellow gardeners.  But then I catch a glimpse of a pine tree with some shrubs under it, and I am reminded of the hydrangeas under our pine tree.  I think to myself, “Did I tell Joe’s mother about the extra water.  I’m sure I did.  Maybe I should call her just to check — but that would be a bit much because I’ve already given her way too many notes.”  Then, I begin to rationalize.  “Maybe I should check the Weather Channel.  Hopefully it’s raining heavily there, so Joe’s mother doesn’t have to be bogged down with watering.  That way she can get out of the house and do her stuff.”  As if heavy rain would be a godsend for her!

Of course, when we return, I see that the garden has survived.  I am always amazed at how quickly things grow in my absence, and how much work needs to be done.  The truth is, everything lives, although some are wilted and some are water-soaked.  Fortunately, I do not fall into a depression when I realize that my plants really don’t need me.  That would be worse than G-SAD.  I would have to call that one Depressive Anxiety Malaise Disorder or DAMD. 

But now that I’m home, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get the garden back in order — my order.  And for those of you who may be wondering, that would be Overbearing Control Reactive Associative Psychoses.  You know, O-CRAP.



18 thoughts on “Do You Suffer From G-SAD?

  1. There is not a gardener among us who has not experienced the G-SAD; luckily it was unwarranted for you on your trip. I, however, lose plants left and right when I leave for even a long weekend (I think I need to hire Joe’s mother!). I hope you’re enjoying the summer as much as I am! And, as always, thanks for the laughs!

  2. LOL!!!! Kevin, I hope you and Joe enjoy your trip. I’m sure your ‘children’ will be in excellent hands with Joe’s mom. After all, she raised two wonderful human children! Remember, Frankie says, “Relax!” Good advice. Stress is not good for the soul. Have a safe trip and I look forward to reading your posts upon your return!

  3. Know what u mean. Got home,grass 3 foot tall,weed actually in flower pots mixed with my flowers. Took a while to clean it up. Hot Hot down here. Have a great vacation.toddy

    • I know it’s a lot of work when you return home from a vacation — but there’s something rewarding after you get the yard back in shape. Take care!

  4. I suffered this as well when we went upstate to visit my parents on the 4th of July weekend. I checked the Weather Channel often hoping it would rain at home-no such luck but then again we were only gone four days so the worrying was probably unnecessary. I did however water them as soon as we returned home (before unpacking so much as a sock) and I’m glad to say there were no casualties!

    • Congratulations on a successful vacation and return. It’s amazing how well our plants can do without our help. They are resilient! Be well.

  5. I hired a 12-year-old girl from down the block to water my container plants while I was at the Jersey shore (no Snooki sightings). She did a great job! I suffered from G-SAD the whole time we were away.

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