I’ve cracked my window open in my bedroom; the air is fresh and the sky is blue and intend to spend my morning pj-clad and writing. What a wonderful Monday it’s going to be.
The last few weeks have been pretty manic, in both good and bad ways. To process what is going on in my head, I have to write things down, as though the pen or the keyboard somehow extract the worries from the tips of my fingers as they flow down into the written word. Until I do that, I find it hard to focus on just about anything else, let alone write anything coherent to share with others. Last night, I finally got some time to myself and I went on a four hour rant-a-thon about all my pent up emotions. That’s a looooooot of built up emotional pressure. Nearly 4,000 words and a good night’s sleep later, I’m feeling almost human again.
Last time I wrote I was talking about giving a second week of going back to uni a go. Well I did it, and this time, it didn’t suck quite as much. I mean the word ‘enjoyable’ would be a strong one to use and I wanted to go home most of the time, but I can’t say it was as bad as the week before.
However, in order to achieve this level-up on being totally miserable, I realised I had a) almost completely avoided going to uni or interacting with people at uni aside from going to my evening classes because I couldn’t cope with the stress, b) was totally freaked out at the prospect of speaking German and c) still wasn’t happy. Considering I had gone back to London to go to uni, improve my German and continue to recover, alarm bells were going off left, right and centre. I wasn’t ready to go back.
I wasn’t ready to go back, so I haven’t been back since. And that’s OK.
I’m actually surprised at how OK I found this decision to make. I don’t like giving up or ‘failing’, but on the Thursday morning of that week I was talking to a friend on the phone and continually trying to justify how I was going to get through this until I talked myself round in circles to the point where I found myself saying, “I don’t want to do this. This isn’t what I want.” I realised that going back had moved from the idea of being beneficial to my academic development and had become something I had to prove to myself that I could do. I wasn’t there to push myself to my limits and risk getting ill again, I was there to gently challenge myself, and unfortunately that was no longer the case.
After surprisingly little deliberation, I had figured out that coming home, and staying home, was the right thing to do. I suppose it was because from the beginning I had never put any pressure on myself to do more than I could handle, and for the first time in a very long time, I chose my happiness over proving myself. If I wanted to, I know I could have stayed and got through it – I know I am resilient and tough enough – but it would have been to my own detriment. I would have been stressed and exhausted and had no free time or money and I don’t see the worth in any of that if at the end of the day, I was going to be unhappy.
So the next Tuesday, instead of catching the midday train to London, I jumped in the car with my bestie, Will, and his grandad and headed off on a road trip to his aunt’s house in Herefordshire to help her move in. The offer of an escape to the country had been put to me the week before and it was literally all I had been able to think about; I desperately needed a change of scenery.
The four day retreat consisted of unpacking boxes and boxes of books and shelving them, whilst being greeted with this view every morning:
A library with a view. I was in my happy place at last.
I had no doubt in my mind that I had made the right decision. I felt calmer and more together in my head. Something I realised during those days in the countryside is that I hadn’t been giving myself enough credit for what I had been through. I’d been trying to minimise what happened to me and this in turn was causing me to feel pressure to move on with things quickly and limited the emotional responses I was allowing myself have. And that is a seriously unhealthy way to be thinking.
Although I’m a lot more stable now than I have been in over three years, recovery is never a quick-fix process. It takes time and is slow work. I think I’m finally coming to terms with that and feeling good about it. It feels like I’ve been going at 100mph for far too long, as if I have to complete all my goals by this imaginary deadline or something awful will happen. But why move on from where I am if I’m happy right now? I’m content and settled, I have a great job and friends and nowhere that I really need to be. I’m getting stronger everyday and that’s all I need for now. If it becomes stagnant or boring, I’ll look into moving forward again. But for the time being, I want to enjoy the happiness I have found.
Gosh that’s cheesy.