Fifteen months ago, I moved away. Away from everything and everyone I knew. Away from my place of work, my family, my friends and the city that I called home. And in some ways, I moved away from civilisation. I did it for no other reason than to buy a house because houses are too expensive, way beyond my means, in the city I moved away from. In the new place, houses are cheap, but that is because there are no jobs in the area.
In order to survive I have to commute to work. Four hours a day, five days a week. In turn, this means I get up at 5am and I get home at 7pm. In winter, it is dark when I leave my new home and dark when I return. All year round, the shops are shut when I leave in the morning and shut when I arrive home. Being a small town, the shops in the new town only open for a couple of hours on Saturday morning. They don’t open at all on a Sunday. And…I work too far away from shops to be able to visit them at lunchtime.
Apart from my immediate neighbours, who I’ve heard more than seen, I don’t even know what the people in my street look like, let alone anything else about them. We have no friends in the area and don’t have a hope of making any with the hours I keep, and the exhaustion I feel.
I feel so tired in the evenings when I get home I don’t have the energy to do anything for myself. Nothing that might relax me, nothing I enjoy. No internet, no writing, no reading, no knitting. Nothing except eat dinner, wash up, make lunch for the next day and then sit in front of the TV for an hour before going to bed. I sleep, if I can, then wake up and do it all over again.
I wanted to buy a house for security. Security for the future – for when I’m old. G didn’t care one way or the other, but it meant a lot to me. It was something that consumed me, worried me.
Now I’m buying a house. It’s what I wanted, needed, dreamed about.
So imagine G’s shock when I told him recently that I’m not happy. He was genuinely gob smacked and G always has plenty to say! When he asked me why all I could say is that I feel totally isolated from everything – especially family and friends. The isolation is so bad that I even feel isolated on the internet. I find myself withdrawing from community networks, from blogging, from life. I feel myself sinking into depression. I have nothing to say because I do very little apart from travel, work and sleep. On the weekend, I don’t want to travel to see familiar faces because I’ve done too much travelling during the week. Besides, I never spend time at home and I want to get to know the place.
Depression is an ugly thing. It takes hold and won’t let go. It takes the remaining bits of energy away as well as any motivation I might have to do anything. Just as bad are the thoughts such as “what’s the point” which crowd my mind all too often.
I’ve become adept at hiding my feelings and carrying on regardless. But I spent over a decade of married life pretending everything was all right, when it wasn’t. I spent at least two years after the death of my son pretending I was coping, when I wasn’t. I don’t want to spend the next ten years pretending I made the right choice, when I fear I haven’t.
On top of this, I have the added burden of health issues. I’m not allowed to be stressed. I’m in danger of having a stroke. I sleep little. I’m suffering terrible headaches at least three times a week and recently I had a headache for an entire week. And not “just” a headache, it was very much like a migraine, but an ongoing, never ending one that went day and night for 8 days. None of this does anything to make my depressed state any better.
What do I do? Sell up and move back to the city? Hold tight and hope my health improves and with it my mental state of mind too?
There are no jobs where I’m living and I can’t afford not to work. But if I sell up I’ll be back where I started. If I don’t sell up, I have to find a way to combat the isolation problem before I lose motivation permanently.
What do I do? I don’t want to look back on this time in ten years and regret my decision. I don’t want to think, “If only I’d hung on” or “If only I’d sold up”, but what’s the right decision? What’s the best thing to do?
Oh my God, I have no idea!