When you move your whole life to a new city, where you know nobody and have nothing but your job and your new flat, it can be a bit of a wake up call.
I was so ready to move. Like so ready. I needed out of Chester, I needed to be somewhere where things were happening, where there were good jobs and new people and places for me to explore. In my head, I entertained these fantasies of my new executive lifestyle where I’d have money to burn, I’d look glamorous for work every day and myself and my equally glam colleagues would be out on the town socialising and meeting people. I dreamed of contentment, meeting someone I could share my life with, I dreamed of finding what I’ve been looking for since turning 18. That feeling of belonging, of things being right.
Instead I have only two friends up here, one of which I see maybe once a month, the other I had a reunion with for the first time in almost 4 years last week. I look as glamorous as possible for work on my ridiculously tight budget and my social life is non-existent. This weekend I bought a house plant and a cactus, just so I was no longer the only living being in my apartment. I’m lonely, I go to work, I come home. I cook, clean, do the washing up. I write my blog, I watch TV. Maybe I go on a date in an effort to actually meet people but ultimately I’m on my own. And in being on my own, my old demons have returned.
When you tell people you’ve come off anti-depressants, you’ve left counselling, that you’re feeling better, you both assume that’s it. It’s over. So when it comes back, what do you do? How do you face telling the people that you’re closest to that you’re struggling again? That you’re perpetually tired, that your love for even your blog, the one thing you were truly passionate about, has diminished? That every time you look in the mirror you’re filled with such self hatred and disgust that you spend hours in tears. That you comfort eat in an effort to feel better but end up hating yourself even more for your lack of control. That the pressure in your head has come back so badly that some days you’re in physical pain. That you have nobody to talk to about it because you don’t want to spoil the happy time you do spend with your friends by being miserable and negative? How do you tell them that the move you made 2 months ago with so much hope has turned out to be possibly the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
You go home. You tell your Mum. And you cry. Probably a lot. I did this last week – I told my Mum everything. I spent 2 out of my 4 days at home in tears, I actually let myself truly admit how miserable I actually am. I told her all of the things that have triggered this downward spiral, situations both in and out of my control. I told her of my loss of confidence, how I can’t even look in the mirror anymore. And she listened. She gave me the time and affection and advice that I really needed, and after 4 days with my family and my dogs, I came back to Manchester.
I’d love to say I came back feeling better, that everything is fine and dandy and that I’m now living the glittering life of my dreams, but I’m not. I mean I do have a houseplant and a cactus so it’s not all bad, but it’s not quite there yet. What I did come back with was the knowledge that actually, I don’t want to let depression win. I don’t want to admit defeat and move back home and give up again. I want to prove to myself, to depression and to everyone who doubted that I could do this, that I bloody well can. I’m determined that, by the time my lease is up on my flat in November, I will be loving my life up here and I’ll look back on this time and laugh that I could have ever thought things were so bad.
I also now, finally, feel like I know the direction I want this blog to take. I feel with more conviction than ever the style, the aesthetic, and the subject matter I wish to feature on here. I want to take it out of the realms of outfit posts and the occasional haul – although those will of course still be very much still in attendance on here. But instead I want to blog about finding myself, about my journey with Manchester, about my exploring this city with a strangers’ eyes and finding my home, because this is my home now and I am going to damn well make the best of it, whether it’s for the next 4 months or the next 40 years.
I’m not ok. But I will be. I will be ok.