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.
YEA!!! Good for you, Cat!! Transitions can be difficult, but can ultimately lead to greater and better things. The only bad transitions are ones leading us backward — to the place we’re most comfortable, even if that means being abused in one form or fifty others. I’m so very proud of you for the realization of what placing yourself in the middle of your family would mean and for the guts to admit it AND for the guts to not do it!! Once again, good for you!!!
BTW, from one agoraphobic to another getting that car was a HUGE step!!! Give yourself lots and lots of credit for that one!!! You deserve it!! 🙂
It’s good t hear this feedback. I’m becoming more certain that this is the best way forward. I didn’t realise just how much it was playing on my mind. I’ve spent too many years worrying what other people think…
The car has been a challenge. In six weeks I’ve barely clocked 100 miles. I should be getting out of London for odd days. I haven’t been away from home for more than an hour or two in 14 yrs.. I have been attending appointments that would have been cancelled, so it’s all a step in the right direction.
Many thanks for taking the time to comment.
Oh, Cat, good for you! Kind of like realizing the day before the wedding you’ve made a HUGE mistake and being brave enough to call the whole thing off. Sometimes, when so many change are taking place, it’s tempting to (unconsciously) become slaves again to the familiar, never realizing until it’s too late that we’ve become captive once again.
You, on the other hand, chose freedom, and scary as that might be sometimes, it’s a vastly preferred alternative to bondage. Keep moving forward.
I didn’t quite think of it as freedom but it’s a good way of looking at it. I did let someone down in the process. But, for the first time ever, I am not about to lose sleep over someone else’s dIsappointment.
Thanks for dropping by Susan. I hope you’re well.
I love reading your posts,they give me hope. Now if I ever make it to London I would fancy a ride in your new car. 😉
Lol Red, you would be welcome. Vroom vroom
You have made the right decision I think Cat. Thinking of you x
Thank you Shaz, I think I have.
Sounds good! I will be making/am making some transitions of my own.
Hope your transitions go well
Hi there, those are a lot of changes for you, and it’s not surprising with all of that going on that you’ve had the flashbacks as well. I know they’re not nice at all, but you’re showing a lot of strength in your posts. Best wishes
Thank you, GM, I do apreciate your feedback
“I’d rather insert hot pokers in my eyeballs.”
That says it all to me.
I’m glad you got clear that moving back amongst family is not the right direction for you.
Nifty looking car. Your progress is inspiring.
Thanks for dropping by, Gel, your support is always appreciated
There is so much courage in this post. Congratulations! …for seeing things clearly…for not taking the easy road…which could have been tragic…for getting in that car and going to appointments.
From what you write here, I see a lot of progress, and the best part is that you see it too! It’s hard to see ourselves grow.
I’m sorry it’s so rough living in London. I liken it to living in New York City. How people manage is beyond me.
Keep moving forward…in your sweet wheels 🙂
Thank you RS. The thing is – and I really hope this will be your own experience – the realisation of change usually comes long after the actual transition. Sometimes, it is such a devastating phase to be in, we are so busy dealing with the shit to be aware of the transformation