Life is full of predictable and unpredictable changes. Some we welcome, others prove more problematic, even disastrous.
Transitional experiences can be positive or negative, but they always begin with an ending. As we move from the old familiar into the new and unfamiliar, feelings of loss, confusion and uncertainty can feel overwhelming.
Letting go and moving on might happen suddenly or evolve slowly over time. It is not always a positive experience. The fear can lead to avoidance, which potentially prevents us from moving forward, resulting in a perpetual feeling of stagnation.
I have been living in London for 18 years. A large part has been in the grip of mental illness, but there was always happiness and security where I live. Last August, all that changed. A large part of me was feeling ready to return to my native Scotland.
There was only one property of interest. Situated a few miles in between the parents and my dear sister, it seemed ideal. Last week reached a crucial stage in property negotiations. Circumstances felt right to clinch the deal. It is sooo easy to imagine life outside such a large dirty and smoggy city. Returning to the fresh green countryside became a longing rather than merely a wish.
Then it happened. WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING? A heavy dark shadow suddenly engulfed me. Like a stake through the heart, the disappointment was immense. It all starts with the vivid flashbacks of what life is like around a dysfunctional family. Yes, of course, I was no stranger to the behaviour, but somehow thought I would be strong enough to stand my ground.
I was always the go-for – the whipping boy. Because I am single and childless, people expect my availability to pander to their whims. I envisage the parents (I secretly dislike) calling for assistance in their old age. Mum would expect me for dinner at least once a week. I’d rather insert hot pokers in my eyeballs.
The expectations have always been a sore point. The bad feelings, fallouts and passive aggressiveness always played a central role in our relationships. I am strong enough to tell them where to go, but can do without the aggro in my fragile existence.
Recently, on this blog, I have been able to acknowledge the abusive relationship with my parents during childhood/teens. The space and freedom away from them is paramount if I’m to continue this process of analysis and ultimate healing.
I started this post with intentions of concluding how my avoidance to change was causing great stagnation, but that is not quite the situation. I seem to have multiple transitions already in mid-flow, stagnating must be something of the past
Shifting away from deep depression and chronic isolation to seeking help and slowly re-join life is transition – enormous transition.
The arrival of my brand new black Vauxhall Corsa (pictured here) 6 weeks ago, does help with attending appointments in support of my mental health, including the issues with agoraphobia. Yet even more transition.
Then, of course, there is the therapy, online and Mentalization Based Therapy, which is due to start autumn. They will both herald even more transition.
Lastly, let us not forget bringing to an end the negotiations for moving. I’m not entirely happy at remaining in London, but the process is another transition. From the endings come new beginnings.
So, rather than declare my chronic stagnation, I am relieved to announce the arrival of multiple transitions. They will probably include blood sweat and tears, but the potential of healing is coming into focus.