As I sit here on a flight from Madrid to Helsinki, I am left to contemplate my situation. Never has my life changed so drastically in just a few months and never have I been more sure that I am heading in the right direction.
First off I would like to address my absence from this blog for the last few months. Previously I had spoken briefly regarding anxiety and my attempts to keep it at bay. The reality of the situation was that I did not have it under control. For about three months I slowly closed myself off from people. I would ignore phone calls, spend my nights awake worrying over the simplest thing and spend my work days struggling to hold myself together. At the time I was so focuses on maintaining my ‘head above water’ that my relationship became less and less of a priority. I would spend each moment thinking how I would make it through the next. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t have the time, nor the mental strength to comprehend my partners wants or needs.
Drifting. That’s how I would describe us. Drifting.
When we met I had just come out of a turbulent two year relationship – the one that inspired this blog in its early days. I had been feeling so much pain and was lucky enough to meet someone calm, humble and loving. For obvious reasons -given that I had felt unloved for a long time- this just clicked. Within a few months we were living together. Within the next year I had essentially given up my childhood dream and career and awarded myself a time consuming management role at a restaurant.
I can’t blame him for any of these decisions, I made them all. I think he almost represented everything I thought I wanted. He was stable, had a great connection with his family and most of all seemed ‘normal’. At this time in my performing career I had some difficulties. My dream role had been snatched away from me after funding was cut and a I particularly tough contract in China. Everything seemed to fit perfectly and I felt I needed to move on to pastures new.
Our once loving and exciting relationship soon became platonic. We would treat each other more like room-mates than lovers. All of this is clear now with the blessing of hindsight however, at the time I could not pin-point the problems . As a result I delved deeper and deeper into a life that was never going to satisfy me in the long run.
About 2 months ago I hit my wall. After being socially missing in action for about three months I made a call home. I spoke to my mother about my woes and to my surprise she completely understood. It turned out she had also spent a great deal of her life dealing with anxiety herself. I took a few days away from my life in London and headed up north for a well deserved break.
On the second day at my family home I explained everything to my parents and found that once the flood gates were open I could not stop. As I opened up that the magnitude of how depressed I was became clear. I shocked myself with my own ability to harbour all these emotions for such a long period of time.
I made a few decisions while away. Firstly that my hospitality career was not for me and that I should start to strive for my dream once again. I also wanted to work on my relationship and wanted to find the boy I had fallen in love with again.
I arrived home and we talked it through. He seemed on-board with my new lease of life and I felt some stress relief knowing that I would be losing my gigantic workload very soon.
The following morning we awoke and he flinched under my touch. I asked what was wrong and he turned to me…
“This isn’t going to work anymore” I nodded and agreed.
At the same time as all this happened I had been offered a contract to travel to Madrid the following month, before later boarding a ship in Helsinki and traveling Scandinavia for 3 months. It was like the universe had aligned to give me the push I needed to move forward. Would I have ever truly come back to performing had I stayed with him?
Within a month we had both moved out of our apartment, I left my stressful job and I boarded a plane for Madrid.
The last three weeks of rehearsals have been a bit like therapy for me. I have had a chance to contemplate all that happened and find peace with it. Of course I have a million regrets and thoughts daily about how I could have handled things differently. I wonder if I hadn’t slipped so far into my depression if I would have ended up losing him. The reality is that my relationship was likely a huge factor in my mental health.
I have found an inner calm that I hope will continue. I have moments when I don’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes I want to break down as my heart rate increases and I begin to run a thousand scenarios in my head, but I’m dealing with it. I accept that I have an issue that it is incredibly manageable as long as I keep it in check. I accept that I needed to move on from my previous employment to find the joy in my vocation I now have.
Most of all I am grateful for my two years with a truly amazing person. I will always have love for him but know that in order for him to reach his own place of peace and happiness his journey must continue without me.
I leave this message content and hopeful. I may have lost him but I feel that now, more than ever I have found myself.