Anxiety

My anxiety is a horrible thing. It sits there in my head controlling everything. Sometimes I feel like I want to burst I am so full of inspiration and ideas. Other days I cry. I cry a lot. I cry because I wondered what I did to deserve this. I wonder how long it will take to feel like myself again. So I reached out for help.

The NHS is a wonderful thing. But not when it comes to mental health. A huge reason why I left Canada was because I was so beset by setbacks, anxiety and zero self esteem that I knew I was starting to lose it. I came back to seek out help, hoping that the comfort of familiarity would ease my troubles. I attended an appointment with my GP, told him what I had been feeling and he asked me to do a test. I already knew I had Generalised Anxiety Disorder, I’d figured that out with a few simple Google searches. The tests concluded that I do have GAD and, maybe something I wasn’t as willing to admit – physcological trauma.

That was back in January and I am still waiting on my referral. Settling back in has been a challenge in its’ own way. Friends are all married, engaged and buying houses. Single friends breeze through Tinder like their lives depended on it. Not feeling ready to date (see: physcological trauma) and not already coupled up, I fall somewhere in the middle and that is a lonely place to be. I’ve also found it really difficult to settle back into work. I knew I needed to take a break, but then I start to feel better and take on a temporary role. Then I freak out that I’ll be stuck doing that job for the foreseeable future. Even the thought of two months is panic inducing enough. I did end up calling my doctors after waiting the four week I was told to wait, only to find that they had given incorrect details to the counselling service which meant I never received information for my referral. After a few teary phone calls they promised I would have something by next week. I hope that’s the case.

I am not one to freely admit I need help, so this was a huge thing for me to do. So to be sent away to ‘change my diet and do more exercise’ while I waited for someone to help me was not the result I expected. There is only so many podcasts, books and websites I can use to help. I can’t do this alone, that’s why I reached out for help. Not having regular social interaction has also impacted me massively. I am a social person, and my time spent in Canada was always filled with friends and adventures. Now, being back home, I am lucky if I even get a reply to a text. Lives go on. I don’t in there any more.

It may sound like a whine. Whatever. It’s my struggle. And it IS real.

 

 

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Things never turn out how you want them to.

I often wonder why, exactly, I stayed in Vancouver. I mostly attribute it down to lack of funds to move elsewhere, but also down to a sheer stubbornness to try and fit in. I kept digging deeper ¬†and forcing myself on this city.Trying to scratch the surface. Kind of like “Heeey, Vancouver, I’m here. Let’s have a good time. You kind of like me and I kind of like you. Let’s do this.” A city surrounded by mountains and beaches. An outdoorsy, yoga-filled lifestyle. What’s not to love? Well. Turns out a lot. I love beaches. But I don’t love gravel pits next to a tanker lined e-coli infested waters. I love beautiful scenery but I don’t like hiking through it. I can’t abide the smell of weed and this city is filled with weed dispensaries. I had never even heard of Lululemon until I moved here – I had to Google it.

The thing about this city is that is wraps around you like a warm, suffocating hug. It doesn’t let you go. The folks here are simple – hiking, camping, getting stoned, taking part in seasonal mountain based sports is all you need to qualify to be a ‘Vancouverite’. Maybe head to a gig of the latest indie band to play the Orphium in the evening. That’s pretty much it. There was no to scratch. The friendliness I had encountered on the east coast of Canada didn’t exist here. It feels more like a small town disguised as a large city. It can be isolating both mentally and geographically. Friendships with locals are mostly fleeting, they’re always waiting for someone or something better to come along.

I often feel like I outstayed my welcome. But did I ever feel welcome? It’s one thing to change as a person and another to change into a different person in order to fit in. I realised I didn’t want to fit in. I don’t mind the occasional entry level hike. I don’t mind jumping on a ferry and heading to a quiet island for the day. But my free time is more for exploring a new neighbourhood or town. Camping and dropping acid in the woods and baking myself into a weed coma is not really how I choose to spend my free time. Each to their own, I guess.

Eventually, when I move on, I won’t think of all the things I missed out on – skiing, getting stoned, doing yoga on the beach. I will think of all the people that enriched my life and helped me to grow as a person. I’ll think back to the times we looked out for each other, the adventures we had, the jokes, the laughter and the experiences. The mountains will fade from memory, the beautiful lakes will glisten less, but the nights we stayed up late playing Cards Against Humanity and making plans for the future is what will remain. Sometimes it’s the people that make the place.

When you find your people, you find your place.