• Em

Moving Out/Depressive Bout

I was aware of the notion that moving house can be one of the most stressful times in a person's life, what with the packing up of all your belongings, deciding what to keep - donate - throw away, the logistics and organising of, as well as the adjustments to your new environment that you now must call your home. Having this knowledge, I was prepared for my moving day, having all my boxes packed, my mum in convoy with my furniture and a good breakfast and strong coffee inside me. I had spent the majority of my 20s living with my parents after fleeing an unfulfilling and miserable existence in the big city and returning to the quiet, comfortableness of the countryside. I was able to enjoy home cooked meals, watch my two younger brothers grow into young men, and take in the still, peacefulness of my surroundings with my favourite dog, Doug, at my side of a daily basis. I gained confidence, independence and knowledge whilst umbrella-ed by the support of my family with nature just a cathartic tiptoe away. So, when I made the decision to move out, I felt I had all the strength and tools it needed to pursue grown up living again, after feeling I'd failed so terribly all those years ago.

I hadn't factored in how I would feel in reality.

Moving was exciting. My plants were the first items to be arranged and ordered in my room, along my windowsill, soaking up the sunlight from the walkway to the back garden, looking very happy for themselves.

I made my room my own, met my housemates - who are all lovely, shortened my commute to work by 40 minutes a day, bought all my favourite foods and filled the fridge with promises of healthy eating and happy evenings sat in my new home, enjoying my me-time and feeling pride in the fact I did it! I moved out!

After a few days, however, when the initial adrenaline of moving and changing wore thin, I felt hopeless. Bored. Lonely. My routine interrupted. My surroundings foreign. One of my plants suffered shock from the change of environment, losing all it's leaves and then drying up altogether.

It happened very suddenly, without me really realising how quickly I had slipped, but I was in a deep darkness. I couldn't wake up in the mornings. I couldn't sleep at night. I didn't eat any of the food in my fridge because it required effort, I'd just pop to the shop and buy some biscuits and some coffee and lie in bed with them. I manage to go to work, but cried every single day. I cried at my friends. I stopped seeing my friends. I stopped drawing, stopped doing all the things that gave me joy because I didn't have the energy or will to do anything but sleep, eat packaged foods and lie staring at the plants on my windowsill. I'd drive home every few days to see my family, for their support, for the chance it would help the gradual adjustment. Then, I'd go home, lie on my bed, empty.

I couldn't find joy in anything and I couldn't understand why. I was taking a step forward, being fully independent after such a long time... I should have been elated and celebrating my new found freedom! I didn't really, truly understand that it was the move that affected me so strongly until afterwards, now that I am out of it. Four months of absolute depression. The longest bout I've had since I moved back home... which would make sense!

I managed to find some energy to draw a few illustrations whilst I was feeling low.

This sporadic out-pour of creativity gave me a small punch of achievement after neglecting all my social media platforms for so long. Drawing out my inner confusions helped to process the thoughts (as well as lying in the sun during the heatwave, encouraging myself to eat a little better and never allowing myself to take a sick day for the sake of sticking to a routine [this is not advisable for all - Mental Health Days are vital and I have taken many in the past! I was just aware of how much additional time I had to spend in bed and keeping my responsibility was a big help for my own pride!])

Our feelings can come as a bit of a shocker from time to time! Never let that makes you feel as though you are weak. I honestly didn't know if I would make it out of this one... I felt like I would feel blank, tired, ill forever. I am so grateful that I have illustration to vent through and am so incredibly overwhelmed (on a day to day basis!) by the way my drawings speak to people.

If you're feeling like it's all too much, let it out. If you can't draw - write, sing, walk, talk to your closest person, talk to your dog! If we internalise our thoughts, it's almost impossible to process them fully. Once they are out of us they become, almost, a physical element which we can sort though and place and discard and overcome. It is in no way easy, but it is a step towards recovering.

Thank you to everyone who supported me whilst I was feeling down, and to everyone who still bought my work whilst I wasn't creating anything new. Each interaction was a positive push in the right direction <3

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