I thought that all it would take would be one thing to really change everything. I think that’s what a lot of people think, at least I hope I’m not the only one. That would make me feel pretty stupid.
The older I get, the more I realise that it’s not that simple, nothing is. One person, one therapist, one job, one trip, one revelation, it might not work out like that. Things don’t progress in a straight line, always getting better, always getting stronger, always figuring out more.
China was supposed to change it all. I was escaping a number of things, I was reclaiming my identity, I was casting off a poorer version of myself. I would travel, make friends, be true to myself. That’s my goal this year, after all, be true to myself. Except it didn’t happen like that.
When you do something amazing, like travel to the other side of the world, everyone who asks you about it expects you to say it was fantastic, the best thing I ever did. It’s kind of like when someone asks you how they are, and all they want to hear is fine.
Because it was an amazing experience, and I was so lucky that I had the money, the opportunity to quit my job, all the factors that made it possible. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Some people dream of being able to travel that far and never get to.
But it didn’t fix anything. Yes, I was able to run away from a relationship, and basically didn’t think about it while I was there. Yes, I was able to “find myself” to some extent, in that I accepted what I had known for years. But, what else?
It was so stressful. My anxiety was so bad while I was out there. I banged on about exposure therapy, and how much it was helping me, going to all these different places, challenging my anxiety. But it didn’t. I spent a lot of time just in my room, or in my hotel room when I did go away. Sometimes I would think about how far away I was from everything I knew and it really scared me. I even think about it now, how far away China really is and it gives me a panicky feeling. I don’t know why, really, because there is nothing here for me. It may be familiar, but what do I have, really? Friends, who I think about all the time, when they have moved on ages ago? Year 10 was a long time ago, but I think about it all the time.
And now that I am back, everything is harder. I thought getting to Shanghai was challenging, just going to the post office seems impossible some days. I can’t even go back to my old job, I’m so scared. I want to meet people, but at the same time I don’t. I’m unemployed, technically but not really, I’m thinking about doing a degree that will mean staying at home for another three years, and I’m not even sure I want to do it. There is just nothing else. I can’t get a job I like, I don’t know if there is a place where I can be myself and fit in. What is there?
I’m on the waiting list for therapy, but that could be another month away. I need it, but even then, I’ll get 6 sessions and then be chucked out. It won’t be enough to fix everything, I don’t think, and I don’t really know what happens after. I’m already thinking about the last session and I haven’t even started.
I don’t know. I thought it would help, I thought pushing myself would free me, would lead to something, but here we are, January 2015 all over again. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to the 12th.