Healing Places

It has been an odd few weeks for me since I last posted an update here. I had a short amount of time to exist in this limbo state before I headed south-east to attend the funeral for my last grandparent.

A sad day to live through but ultimately it was a fitting celebration of her life rather than a mournful and solemn occasion. It got the family together; people who don’t often all congregate in the same room had the chance to all catch up and it was good to see.

I struggled that day. I still feel horribly broken, damaged and fragile. Especially so at times of heightened emotion like a funeral and so I, perhaps, withdrew a little and didn’t engage as well as I could have. But I was there, and I made it through with no serious meltdowns so I’m counting that as a victory, even if only a very mild one.

Spending the week down there, as expected, was good for me. Spending time with my sister and her household and then a few days with a cousin proved to be time well spent. No pressures, no stress. Just getting by, chatting, enjoying good company and realising how good it felt to be around all these people.

Not only that, but the air was so clean and fresh. The countryside so pretty and inviting, and all those lovely little coastal towns and villages that rolled by as I soaked in the warm spring weather from the car as I meandered from place to place. It was almost idyllic.

Milton Keyes gets a bit of a hard time from a lot of people and I don’t think it’s all deserved. I actually quite like MK for its amazing road network and its convenience; nowhere is ever more than a ten-min’ drive away and everything you need is all clustered together in the centre so it’s easy to access.

That said, it lacks character. It’s a modern town/city and although there are a few pockets of history here and there that have been largely swallowed by the urban sprawl, the vast majority is just houses or industrial areas.

Coming back to MK after spending time in Kent always feels a bit like a kick in the knackers. A reminder that I’m coming back to somewhere that, while acceptable, perhaps isn’t a place in which I can suitably heal from the difficulties I’ve had and am still having.

I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a short while now, but my last trip to Kent was the one that really made me start to seriously wonder about how different life would be for me if I lived there instead of here.

But then to do that would mean leaving this place that I’ve called ‘home’ for the last two years. It’s a nice little apartment. It’s a good living space, I’ve carved out a home in which I’m comfortable and set it up to suit my personality. But as someone said to me recently, “you can’t heal in the place where you broke.”

Although I technically first broke in Dunstable, my previous house, I have continued to stumble and to struggle with mental health even after trying to start afresh here. In some ways, this life I’ve tried to make for myself here has been a factor in my continued decline and eventual crash that saw me spend weeks in a psychiatric unit for my own safety.

And so I’m realising that perhaps I need to cut ties to this area while my connections to it are at their minimal and start over in an entirely new place, but most importantly, a place that puts me within easy reach of my entire family. Parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles… All would be just a very short drive away, and not the two-and-a-half hour motorway slog that currently separates us.

I could live in a place that’s a little quieter, a little healthier. Somewhere with a small garden, perhaps; somewhere I can sit in relative isolation from the world at large but still enjoy a little outside air on nice days. Somewhere, just a few minutes drive away from the coast and all the wonderful walks along it. It’s within reach, it’s possible. It’s becoming increasingly likely that will be the decision I ultimately make.

Although it’s a terrifying prospect to uproot and move a great distance, it’s the direction I’m inclined to head in. In my weakened state right now, it all feels a bit too big to manage. But I’m a creature of necessity; when I absolutely ‘need’ to find a way through something, I often tend to make it through… Somehow.

It’s very possible that a move would set me back a bit. The upheaval, the chaos, they could hurt me and I might struggle a little at first, but I’d have a rock-solid support network propping me up and helping me to settle, find my new groove and to assist me with establishing my new roots. A little interruption could be totally eclipsed by a wonderful and happy outcome.

Nothing is final yet. Nothing is set in stone. But it will take some convincing to make me change my mind and decide to stay up here. The offer would have to be ‘too good to be true’ to really give me pause for thought. I have an appointment with an estate agent early next week to see what I think about going on the market to sell-up… I should hopefully understand by then if there’s anything left here to entice me to stay a little longer before I fly south.

Today has also been a day of healing. For a few months now, I have been a bit confused and upset over the failure of a relationship late last year. This was one of the contributing factors to my meltdown. I went into today a little uncertain, anxious, nervous, scared and feeling weak.

By the time it came to time for me to drive home, I was feeling positive, hopeful, and fairly comfortable. Being able to discuss where we both were last year, to understand each other without the emotional turmoil of that initial realisation that things weren’t working out… It was good. It was constructive, it was warm, friendly and although I’ll always wonder what could have been had I not been as damaged as I was, I’m grateful for the experiences that the relationship offered me, the room to grow a little and learn a bit about myself, and the best thing of all, I come out of it with another great friend whom I’ll cherish forever.

I no longer feel like that wound is so open. I’ll always regret that our paths didn’t line up long-term and I imagine, at least for a short while longer, it will continue to haunt me a little. I’ll continue to pick at it in my mind and try to figure out how to avoid being quite so blind to the signals other people give me while being clearer about the things that I struggle with. But it’s not as raw as it was. I feel like it has now been given air to start to heal and I think I can now begin to move on from it and allow it to be less of a weight for me to carry.

That today was such a positive experience, it gives me hope that perhaps the future, whatever it may look like or wherever I choose to make it, won’t be all bad. Staying positive and hopeful doesn’t come naturally to me, but it’s something I want to work on and so anything that doesn’t hurt me at the moment, I’m trying to embrace. Driving home today, I felt confident that I have a solid, healthy friendship with a remarkable person and that we can always count on each other for support.

With one thing in life now less difficult to live with, so I must continue to investigate my options and find ways that will help other areas begin to heal as well. The damage runs very deep though. It will take a lot of time and resources to build me up to where I need to be in order to function like a normal, responsible adult.

People keep reminding me; one step at time. One day at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I know I can be impatient. When it’s something I want, I can be very impatient. And I really want to feel better. I want to feel strong, stable and confident. I yearn to feel secure and content with my life.

Slowly but surely, I’m getting there. But one thing continues to trouble me with the decision I have to make about my possible relocation…

What will the squirrels do for their biscuit addiction if I leave here?

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