Being that I write online; the internet affords me the luxury of lying or at the very least; pretending to be something or someone I’m not. And yet, despite this, I have decided to be open with you more than ever.
You see, I don’t want to go to Australia. Correction, somewhere deep inside my soul I know that I do and I NEED to go but if you ask me as I sit on this coach on the way to the airport, I will tell you that I don’t want to go and what lies ahead fills me with nothing but dread. I’m not proud of that but neither can I just ‘get over it’ as I so desperately want to do.
Some people are able to take huge physical and emotional journeys in their stride and I commend them but I am not one of them. I am the person that sits in the airport wondering how much money I’d lose if I don’t get on the flight. Some of that stems from the fact that I am an emotional person by nature which means I feel the highs and lows of life greater than others. Some of it stems from the fact that more people than you realise suffer the ‘The Travel Meltdown’ (that’s another post for another day) and I am part of the majority. But most of it, this time, stems from the fact that I am still recovering from my breakdown last year in which I was stripped of all my confidence, lost my self-esteem and any threads of positivity were crushed; I am attempting to be strong at a point in my life where I feel the weakest.
And yet, my inability to cope at the thought of my impending trip has surprised me. I expected the travel meltdown because I didn’t feel strong enough to get on the plane. What I wasn’t expecting was Australia to break me before I had even arrived at the airport.
I tried to tell people how I was feeling but they never understood. I had to ask friends and family to stop asking about Australia because I didn’t want to think about it since when I did, I would be in tears but it never went without more questions.
“Why don’t you want to talk about Australia?”
“Why aren’t you excited?”
The more they asked, the more upset and embarrassed I became. At a time in my life when everyone wanted to know what was going on with me and what my plans were, I couldn’t open my mouth without tears forming. No one knew the extent of my despair. No one except mum. The woman who would cuddle me until I was so exhausted from crying I would almost be asleep. The woman who couldn’t cry in front of her daughter or tell her she would miss her because it upset me too much to see her sad. The woman who felt every bit of sadness, anxiety and stress I went through and never asked for anything in return. She became the only person I could truly be myself with; the only person who would allow my tears to fall without judgement and questions.
Rightly or wrongly, since my breakdown and the fallout of it over the last couple of years, my mum has become my best friend, my confidante, my world. The thought of not being able to hug her each night or snuggle up on the sofa to watch some TV has crippled me. That may sound like dramatisation but it’s the truth. I had no idea how I was going to leave her because the thought terrified me. Even on a weekend in London I ring her 2 or 3 times a day. Suddenly we will be thousands of miles apart and we will have to coordinate our calls; I saw nothing but sadness at the prospect of saying goodbye. I am suffering from separation anxiety like a toddler going to nursery. It’s not hard to see why. When I was so ill, she went from being my friend/mum to my care giver. Short of washing and feeding me, she had to do everything which meant I relied on her emotionally to an extent I could never describe so I am struggling more than ever to leave her and begin a life without her physically beside me.
Taking a risk as big as Australia is not something that comes easily to me. I was brought up to be logical, sensible and to think things through before I made decisions which would be fine; except once you add depression and anxieties, suddenly the unknown becomes a concept that terrifies you to the core particularly when, aside from staying in a hostel for the first few days, everything is truly unknown and I’ve not coped well with it. In the dark of night, when I have nothing to distract me, my mind wonders to places I can’t always come back from and so I worry, not just about the next 4 hours or 4 years but the next 40. I wish I didn’t but it’s not something I can control, however much people want me to. I am plagued by the worry that I’ve made the wrong decision. That I have quit a stable job (however much I hated it), packed up my life and moved as far as physically possible and it won’t work out or I will realise it was the wrong decision for me.
I need to take this trip in the only way I know how to; baby steps. It might be a snails’ pace compared to others but I need to look after myself and if I need to take tiny steps to keep me moving forward then that is what I need to do. If this turns out to be the wrong decision for me afterall then, well, I will try and face it but I hope that this trip is everything I not only want it to be but need it to be. I desperately want to be happy and although I know my mental health won’t magically be fixed, if I can get anywhere close to happy despite my illness, I’ll consider it an achievement.
So whilst I now sit in the airport waiting to fly with my stomach in knots with heartbreak and anxieties, my only hope is that what lies on the other side of the flight is the ability to fix my broken soul.