Three weeks ago I moved to Brussels.
In the process of doing so I left behind my friends, my family, my hometown, and my sense of security and comfort.
I have moved cities once before, when I was 14. It was a move I did not want to make, but as a child at the time I did not have a choice in the matter.
Once I regained autonomy of my life and its decisions, I moved back to my hometown, after being accepted to study at the University of the Arts. I was the first person in my family to attend university, so for me this was a big deal.
Looking back at this moment, I harbour some regret.
I often feel that I should have moved further afield for university, like many of my friends did, although I have come to accept that at the time this was the right decision for me.
Eight months prior to starting university, I experienced the most traumatic experience of my life. An experience which altered my life permanently, and almost cost it entirely.
The fallout of this trauma includes; a criminal proceeding, countless therapy sessions, numerous suicide attempts, five years (and counting) of anti-depressants, flashbacks, panic attacks, breakdowns, homelessness, and a medical diagnosis for PTSD, major depression, and severe anxiety.
A difficult and trying adolescence/early twenties, with few constants, meant that my hometown, of London, became my safety blanket. The decision to leave it behind was an arduous one to say the least.
Although, over the past couple of years, I have felt like I have lost touch with my hometown. I used to know London like the back of my hand, and it made me feel safe.
However, following the Brexit Referendum and subsequent occurrences since, I began to feel like home was no longer my home. The negative aspects of my life seemed to become more prevalent, and so did my desire to escape my life there.
I applied for my traineeship in March, and was officially accepted in August. After securing a career break, I packed my worldly possessions into a storage unit (filtering out two suitcases of ‘essentials’), said goodbye to my friends, my family, and my home, and set off for Brussels, the new city which would act as my surrogate home.
Unfortunately since arriving I have started to experience increased feelings of fear, sickness, and hopelessness.
I felt fear when I first arrived, not knowing a single soul and not speaking either of the primary languages, served as a stark reminder that I was no longer surrounded by the familiarity of home, and that I was alone.
I felt sickness a week prior to moving, I began showing physical symptoms of ill health, centering around stomach pain and seemingly random bruising, which I attributed to stress. However, once I arrived the symptoms continued, and although they could be due to the stress of moving, I am concerned that they may be a sign of something far more sinister.
The hopelessness came following the sickness and the fear, as my anxiety and depression have worsened. I spent the last two days confined to the walls of my Airbnb, mainly sleeping and binge watching Netflix series. I’m at a loss of thought, I’m honestly not sure if I’ll survive this chapter in my life.
Looking over the trajectory of my life, through my adolescence and my adulthood, do things really get better with time?
If you’re experiencing similar thoughts or feelings to those expressed in this post, it’s okay to reach out for help. You can find information about what mental health crisis services are available, how they can help and their times of operation here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/useful-contacts/