I left London today. I’m not sure when I’ll be back (nothing new there).
I came back to London full of trepidation; I wasn’t sure if I should stay. In June I had a dreadful time: being here was simply too painful. Something was pulling me here though, I had a feeling that I needed to be here, that it would be good for me or something.
For most of the past 18 months, I’ve not been great. Even before mum passed away, I’ve felt broken. Out of sorts. Not okay. However, because I am stubborn, I just kept cracking on.
I ignored the times when I felt really really shit, and told myself to stop being so weak.
Just get on with things. What’s wrong with you?
And then mum died.
And it felt like I did too. I couldn’t function; I was so, completely lost. All of my tried and true coping mechanisms failed; so, instead, I turned into myself and shut everyone out. I ran. My world had turn to shit: for months on end, my daily existence was bleak. I felt like I was trapped in the darkest depths of despair, with no hope – no light at the end of the tunnel.
The thing about grief is, there is no process. It just happens to you. This has been the hardest thing for me to accept and understand because I’m literally a Planner. Planning, thinking and strategizing is my default. I’m pragmatic to a T; I think and lead with my head all the time. Logic over feelings, always.
I learned very quickly that I can’t think myself out of grief and pain. Well…actually I can’t take all the credit for that: my incredible therapist helped me get to this conclusion.
There is no plan, Temi. You can’t control it. You can’t think up a way to stop your emotions and feelings.
Grief, like life, is unpredictable.
My time in London has been nothing like I thought it would be. I desperately wanted some sort of routine after galavanting around Asia; more importantly, I no longer felt like I needed to be away from everyone. My plan (!): I’ll come back, pick up a bit more freelance work, see some friends and stay in my box. Maybe the familiar will make things better. I didn’t have high expectations, because I’ve never really felt at home or happy in London – way too many painful things have happened here. So, when I got back in August I was feeling pretty dreadful and I was dreading it. Granted, I wasn’t feeling as low as I felt before, but I was still very very fragile.
I have distinct “before mum died” and “after mum died” versions of myself. I often think of 2015 Temi: confident, gregarious, strong, fun. I don’t really feel that’s me now…sometimes I feel like that person will never exist again.
However, I am feeling more like myself again. I’ve stopped avoiding social events, and have made an effort to meet new people. I dated. My anxiety’s not as a bad. I don’t spend days on end unable to stop crying or just feeling super sad. I stepped out of my protective box.
Heck – I even got drunk!! (I know. Major.)
I’m not religious, and I don’t know if I believe in heaven or God. But, I think the reason I felt like I needed to be in London is down to my mum somehow. She’s buried in London…I dunno. Maybe she lead me back here?
It’s also down to some incredible people in my life – some who I haven’t known very long, and some I haven’t even met in person (#digitalnomads)! Helen, Peter, Buky, Raphael, Jerome, Natasha, Tom, Clio, Sarah, Nurki…you may not know it, but you’ve helped to put broken old Temi back together again. You’ve all been a huge help and so supportive – more than you’ll ever know.
I don’t think I’m back to my old self yet.
But…I think I’ve found the light at the end of the tunnel.