Well I’ll start by saying – I made it!
I woke up and straight away thought – fuck – I have to go and see the new CPN this morning. I must have been distracted when I got the letter as I had written on the calendar that it was at 10.30am but it was actually 10am. So I wake up, it’s 9am, I know I need to shower as it’s been about 3 days since I last had one, but I can’t face it. Or maybe I just can’t see the point. I feel a mess so I might as well look a mess as well. So I closed my eyes again and lay there trying to keep my breathing steady and my head calm.
The next time I looked at the clock it was 10am and with my stomach back in knots I got up, pulled some clothes on, put the dogs on their leads and even though my head was screaming at me not to go, to stay in the house, something else was screaming “if you miss this appointment there might not be another one, you need to go”.
Somehow I got there bang on 10.30am. When I got to the mental health building I was feeling sick with nervousness. She came in the room and could see I was really anxious, I must have been looking a bit of a mess as one of the first things she asked me was had I been crying. I hadn’t, my eyes must have just been a bit puffy. I tried to apologise to her for missing my last two or three appointments and then went into a bit of a ramble about these constant anxiety attacks, the inability to go outside in the day time, the inability to study, I told her it wasn’t just her I’d been hiding away from but had also not attended any of my other appointments or seen friends/family etc. She said it was OK and that she was glad I had turned up today but I was half an hour late, our appointment was 10am. Again I apologised, I genuinely thought it was 10.30 so she said she could only give me half an hour, but that was probably a good thing as it helped calm me down a bit knowing I would be out the appointment a lot sooner than I thought.
I don’t really know what we spoke about because my head was pretty unable to concentrate. I know I rambled for five or ten minutes. I know I mentioned the house swap to her and told her that even though I’m sure it’s what I want/need to have more of a healthy existence, I also told her the thought of moving house was now really scaring me as well. She spoke for a little while about the all the benefits moving house would have and I remember her telling me at one point that I would not forget the memories I need to hold onto, they would always be with me, but that I could let go of the bad ones by moving to a new house, a new start.
I’m sure we spoke about more than that but I can’t remember what about. The next thing I remember she was writing out an appointment card for next week. I’m still not sure what I think of her, well if I like her or not, but I’m guessing that’s due to the fact we’ve only spent a short time together but she seemed OK and I hope that I’ll be able to work well with her. I also told her I have an appointment next Wednesday with Mr Psychiatrist and I’m worried about being able to attend it. She said we would talk properly on Tuesday about it and try to calm things down a bit in my head then.
I tried to go onto auto-pilot when I left and got myself to the housing department. I tried to explain about the house exchange but there were a lot of people in the office and my words weren’t coming out right, I thought they were but they couldn’t have been because the woman didn’t seem to understand what I was rambling on about. She started directing me to a whole different department and I started getting frustrated that she just wasn’t understanding me “no I’m in the right place you just don’t get what I’m trying to say” so I went through it all again and finally she realised I was telling her that I wasn’t asking for ways to find someone to swap with, or how to make an advert online for someone to swap with, I have someone to swap with and want to know how to swap! She gave me a form that I need to fill out and one for the other girl so my next stop was her house (my new house?). She wasn’t home so I put the form through the letterbox for her.
It felt really weird standing there at her front door. I did pause for a second and looked at the little row of bungalows all joined together. I noticed that she was kind of in the middle of the row and had neighbours at either side, there is a little garden at the front and another little one at the back. I remember thinking that I’d need to put a little fence up so the dogs wouldn’t be able to escape. I probably looked a bit odd to any neighbours who noticed me as I just kinda stood there for five minutes or so and looked around at everything, trying to imagine me unlocking the door and going into ‘my’ house.
I don’t really know if I can picture myself living there quite yet. It all just felt really strange and unfamiliar.
So now it all pretty much hangs on this one piece of paper. I have to put my details on it, her details on it and sign it. She has to do the same. Then a housing officer visits each of us to check there is no damage to the property, make sure neither of us are in rent arrears, and make sure they think it’s a ‘suitable swap’. Once that’s done we will be asked into the housing office and will swap keys and tenancy agreements. She said it would take anywhere from about 4-6 weeks to process everything which lands us right on Christmas. So hopefully it will either be done before Christmas so we can both get settled into our new homes or they will wait until the Christmas holidays are over and do it then. If I am going ahead with this move the timing will work out quite well with regards to university work as I’ll be finished this module and be on holiday until the beginning of January so I can get internet connections and phone lines and stuff all sorted out when I’m not needing my laptop as much.
I don’t know if I would prefer to get it all rushed through before Christmas and just get it over with or if I would prefer to stay here through Christmas and make it a new year and a new start. This is all sounding rather like I’m going ahead with the swap isn’t it? See I know deep down it would be a better place to live for me, for the dogs, for my sanity. And I also know deep down that I’m really miserable living here. But it’s familiar, it’s what I know, it’s how I live and the change scares the utter crap out of me.
I was either on a roll by this point or really trying to put off studying as I decided to text the best friend and see if she was home. She was so I went out and spent an hour or so with her and the kids. It was nice seeing them again and she’s asked me to go for dinner tomorrow with them but I’ve told her I’ll get back to her in the morning. I also sent a text to rape crisis support worker and told her that I would like to see her again so we have arranged for tomorrow at 3pm.
So today I have:
- Made it to my CPN appointment
- Spoke to the housing department
- Collected the right forms
- Spent time with best friend and the kids
- Made an appointment to see support worker again
- Walked the dogs twice before it got dark
Today I got a little hint of normality again. The anxiety was still there and making itself known to me, but taking things one thing at a time and telling myself that I was in charge of making the choices, I could make contact with people and ask to see them or I could go home. I could choose. It didn’t matter which option I chose, I was in control and I regularly told myself that I could leave wherever I was and go home at any time. That seemed to help the anxiety a little saying “one step at a time” over and over to myself and also not staying in any one place for too long, an hour max and then changing my environment also felt like it helped.
When outside I was still avoiding eye contact with people and either looking at the frost on the ground or at the dogs but I did it and I guess that’s the important part. I actually feel like I’ve had a good amount of (freezing cold) fresh air and feel like the dogs have had a proper amount of exercise (they are both fast asleep!) and I have to admit it feels a lot better than hiding inside all day long and only going out at/during the night. I feel like I’ve achieved things today and whilst the anxiety has been there it’s been a little bit more manageable by taking things one step at a time.
I have two goals for tomorrow: attend my appointment with rape crisis support worker and have a shower before I go. My hair is disgusting and I don’t imagine I smell too great right now.
I guess today has been a more positive day. I am hoping that this is the start of me turning things back around again and that I am going to be able to attend my appointments and have day as day and night as night again. I really really hope the anxiety is going to ease off a little bit for me, I could so do with a calm few days where I can concentrate and get some of my work done without the crazies taking over me.
It was nice to see a little hint of normality again today, even if I don’t have a good day tomorrow at least I’ve had a tiny bit of a break from the intensity of everything today. I’ve battled through the day. Fingers crossed I can do the same tomorrow.