Dealing with Homesickness and Mental Health
A few months ago I moved a bit away from my hometown in Belfast and away from my parents, brother and friends. The move was very tough on me, I had to leave a job I loved dearly, clients I loved dearly, my family (but I think this goes without saying), friends and just the little home comforts like being able to drive through Belfast at night when I needed to get out before a panic attack took over. Even being able to drive to my thinking spot that had a gorgeous view of the Irish sea became something I had to give up. For those of you that are clued in on mental health or are similar to me and go through anxiety and depression then you know how such small things can have a large impact on your mental health.
I don’t want to go into the reasons for the move as they’re very personal. I moved in December, and despite being able to drive, getting back to Belfast has been impossible, even for a little visit. There’s been a number of stumbling blocks, the biggest two are where I am now, I can’t find a job. I’ve been working since I was 14 years of age, I haven’t been out of work this long, ever not even when I was really sick with my PTSD. The second one being, my little one, Tank, hurt his leg not long after the move and I thought I was doing the right thing by letting him rest and carrying him everywhere, but this little monkey loves attacking the postbox, despite the damage he does to himself (he’s lost quite a few teeth this way).
His leg will get better, then he’ll hurt it again. I’ve had him at the vets, they gave him painkillers, sent him home. I’m now back to square one with him again as despite a few good weeks he’s hurt it, again. You’re probably thinking, “Keep him away from the postbox then?!” Have you met my dog? If you think I’m determined you should meet my fur-son, he has knocked over a 10kg kettlebell to scratch the door open to get to that letterbox, trust me, he’ll find a way.
Having no money and an injured dog means I get to go nowhere. He’s my emotional support animal, so it’s very seldom he leaves my side and he, like me, gets separation anxiety so I hate leaving him behind. The vet said he can’t really go on walks, which means he’s putting on weight and I swear it’s like no matter what I eat I’m gaining sympathy weight for him.
It’s left me feeling very isolated, I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my dog, my mobile, and internet. I’d be totally lost and probably go doolaly. I’m very lost and if I am totally being honest, very low at the moment. It’s finals for uni this week until the end of May and we’ve big projects to do and despite me wanting to do well, I can’t find a lot of motivation to even look at them.
Is It Separation Anxiety?
Can you get separation anxiety from a place? I should really Google and find out.
Says the girl that’s telling the internet she has separation anxiety from a place…
Whilst I might be procrastinating from my mountain of uni work, I have been productive in other areas.
- My house is scrubbed within an inch of its life every other day, with the usual daily hoover, dust and toilet cleaning.
- My One Drive is finally organised by categories and all duplicate folders and photos have been deleted.
- I’ve edited a lot of my photography shots that I’m going to upload onto my photography Instagram so just needs the old watermark and they’ll be good to go (it’s Pixelsque Photography if you like landscape and animal photos).
- My Amazon Wishlists have been separated into categories (I’m well aware I’ve serious issues with organising things into categories and subcategories, you should see my novel at the moment…)
- I’ve pre-registered for my uni modules next year
- I’ve opened an Etsy shop to sell my photos (eventually)
- I’ve been emailing cold pitch emails to a few brands about the blog
- I’ve deleted old emails and sorted my emails into, (you guessed it!) categories.
- I deleted old internet accounts I don’t use, got rid and unsubscribed to a tonne of spam emails.
- I sorted out my following on my social media accounts
- I redesigned my blog
- I’ve read four books (it’s actually pretty poor, I can read four books in two days, but given I’ve had a lot of uni work on it’s pretty good).
- I’ve done a tonne of research on cold cases for my true crime blog
- A tonne of research on future posts for this blog
- A mountain of research for a research paper (I suppose that’s what it is? I’m not sure what to call it, to be honest) on paedophile’s
- A mountain of research for a research paper (similar to above I don’t know what to call it) on schizophrenia and prison
- Reorganised my wardrobe for the 50th time
- Reorganised my makeup kit and area for the 20th time
- Reorganised my cleaning cupboard
- Reorganised my office
- Researched Tarot
So basically, I’ve been keeping busy and trying like Hell to avoid thinking about how much I miss home, but I only need to look out my window to the vast fields to know I’m not in Belfast anymore (anyone else catch the Wizard of Oz reference?)
Some days I take fitful sobs, they appeared outta nowhere and they can last from one minute to two hours and nothing I do, or anyone says will stop them. They’re horrific, and I never know when it’s coming, but I know what it’s about because I get the familiar sick feeling and the knot of anxiety in my stomach and know in my core it’s because I want to go home. When I’m not crying I just feel like I have a constant lump in my throat and I’m on the verge of tears, even when I manage a smile or laugh the feeling is still there.
The job thing has hit me hard, it’s the usual “you’re too qualified” (when I apply for an admin role because I want a stressfree role whilst I’m studying). Or, “you’re not qualified enough/don’t have enough experience.” When I apply for roles that I think will be relatively stressfree, but I think I meet the criteria. Clearly not, you’d think working in HR for 11 years I’d know a bit about it by now… That’s me being sarcastic, the role’s I apply for I know I have the experience for. I’m just not the “right fit” and that’s fine.
I actually applied for a government based role, it was an administration position. There’s a new scheme that’s been introduced called the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (I’ve linked it if you fancy a read) which guarantees you an interview if you are disabled and wish to be interviewed regardless. I won’t say where in the government I applied, but I didn’t get an interview and when I went back to email them to remind them that I am disabled (mental health condition) and had asked for the guaranteed interview scheme to be upheld, there was no way to contact them.
It’s been a few weeks and to be honest I pushed it to the back of my mind because I’ve just had enough to worry about, but I do intend to raise a complaint there. Merely for the principal of it, I don’t care I wasn’t interviewed, but I do care that there are other people using this scheme who may have applied for the same job or another job and been refused, but they maybe don’t have the background knowledge I have in HR and employment law. I hate seeing anyone discriminated against, but I especially hate it when it’s people that don’t know their rights.
I’m pretty lost at the minute, it feels like my waking moments are filled with worrying about my little man, Tank, worrying about the lack of a job, worried about funds, my lack of progress writing my book, worrying about uni finals, thinking of home, and being so homesick and upset I’m making myself ill both physically and mentally. My sleep has gone to shit, again. It was a good run while it lasted I suppose, but the insomnia is back, I am lucky if I get to sleep before 2 am and I am up again at 6 – 7 am with Tank and I can’t for the life of me get back over. So, it’s a very long day, stretching into a very long week and a very, very long month.
I just want to go home, it’s not the first time I moved away from Belfast. I moved away around 9½ years ago, but I managed to get over the homesickness pretty quickly. It’s never been to this extent before and I know there will be quite a few people that don’t understand, I don’t understand why I’m so attached to the place, but it’s my home and despite what people may read in the papers, it’s an amazing place to live. It’s also where my family are and my granda’s ashes.
I’m a city girl living in the sticks of the country, and whilst some people think that would be a dream, it’s not. The only neighbour I have chain-smokes barely lets her dogs out and never, ever picks up her dog shit. I hate to be judgemental, but… I’m being judgemental. Pick up your dog shit, or teach them to use the loo, no one needs to see that grossness.
If anyone has any tips whatsoever on curbing this then I’d be really appreciative of it.
Sorry for being such a Negative Nancy and losing my sense of humour, I just can’t perk myself up and I’ve tried all of my usual techniques. I do self-care, even more so now because I make more time for it, I do things that usually would make me really happy, but nothing is working.
My birthday is in 2 days and I know my parents won’t be able to get to where I am for a visit so I am absolutely dreading it. As horrific as my childhood was, I’ve never spent a birthday alone, this year will be the first. Tank isn’t exactly talking back to me, well he barks, but I don’t speak Spanish. (Poor attempt at an Anchorman joke)
Video Credit: Youtube