I had written a different beginning to this post, however that was before my Doctor rang. Before I get into that, I need to extend some love and thanks to people who will (and most likely will not) read this, and it’s crucial I do this first. This doesn’t include all my other fantastic friends or support networks I have and am so grateful for, but specifically the last 36 hours have been beyond difficult. I went from having a great week to having terrible nightmares again, a low mood and feeling ill and hopeless. In reverse chronological order of the last 36 hours, I need to thank:
* Mum and Dad – for checking up on me and for our phone call just now, listening to how great this trip is for me and reminding me having days like these doesn’t mean everything is bad. That I would feel worse if I just stayed at home, in therapy, instead of doing what I do best, travelling, laughing, loving new cultures, meeting new people and THEN coming back to continue therapy. And I agree.
* Arcadio – my Mexican housemate who just messaged me asking if I was okay. We had a very interesting chat about mental health a couple of days ago and it seems like mental health seems to be a worldwide problem – who would have thought!? Thank you also for trying to help me with my Spanish – I am still useless but I appreciate it.
* Kristine – my German housemate who just knocked on my door to offer me a ginger, lemon and honey tea unknowing of the fact I look like I’ve been crying for a century after a chat with my doctor. She was kind and gave me a hug. She also is a fantastic cook, and taught me how to cook a Sevillian dish today.
* My Doctor who FaceTimed me from London and spent an hour talking and listening to my headspace over the last few days.
* Tiné – my German gal who asked me for scissors on a Sevillian street a few days into my trip and is now one of my best friends here. She reminded me when I burst into tears yesterday of my independence and strength, which is so easily lost when you have a down day. She also made me laugh when we tried to fit her bike into a lift – turns out I have sheer perseverance and won’t stop until I prove a point.
* My lovely Leon – who spoke to me for an hour if not two, reminding me I’m not crazy and I’m still loved by the universe.
*My two Georgias – Georgia D who sent me a message reminding me how to get back to ME, the Emily I usually am, but who when feels down forgets who that Emily is, and Georgia C who accompanied me to the pharmacy on Sunday and helped me ask in broken Spanish for antibiotic ear drops and paracetamol for a temperature. You guys have made my trip and I can’t wait to invite myself over to your parent’s houses in Aus, with or without you there 😂
*Sophie Gold – for continuously having to listen to her best friend through the highs and lows and despite never going through a mental health issue herself, is never judgemental or anything but incredible when she sees my WhatsApp messages telling her about my moods.
*Mr Leighton Barnish – for being my friend and away-from-home councillor.
And last but by certainly never least, my best friend Shayna, who was able – through the magic of a phone call – to encourage me through another bad day. To remind me that the moods, the feelings, the hurt, the angst, the mental exhaustion – they pass and IT passes. The episodes do not define me, and to start to accept and work through them, acknowledging my thoughts little by little, one by one. Shayna, you are my angel and I am so grateful for the time you gave me this weekend. And you’re right – these thoughts? These moods? They do pass, and they don’t define me.
– Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for accepting me as the outgoing, bubbly, caring, funny, occasionally depressive, usually anxious and jittery human that I am. I love you all deeply.
15 days left of Sevilla before my two week trip to London and before my goodness knows how long trip having a meander around the world – what in the holiest of gazpacho is going on? But anyway…
I really don’t know if there’s a supposed length of time that you’re meant to write or not write for a blog. But hey, I hope you enjoyed my last post celebrating World Mental Health day and hope you’ve been all enjoying yourself wherever you are in the world reading this. I’d like to extend my hugest congrats and mazal tov to my parents for celebrating 30 years together today! That’s 30 years of love, bliss, mum’s terrible cooking and dad’s terrible jokes that they’ve been through. How fab is that.
I can’t quite believe that I’ve got to the point of Seville where I’ve successfully created a pretty cool life for myself and I’m going back home (albeit briefly) so soon.
I remember when I first arrived at Rocia’s family home on the 1st September not having a clue what she was talking about – that much still stands – but also doubting myself for doing this, worrying I would have no friends, worrying I’d hate Sevilla and Spanish, wondering how it was possible for me to find a room in October, wondering if I could find a job, wondering how I would feel comfortable and not feel alone. I couldn’t comprehend that I would find people I could call my “girls” here. That I actually would meet people in random places who would end up being the closest people to me right here, right now. People I can tell I’m not feeling great to who wouldn’t judge, and who wouldn’t feel I was telling a lie.
It’s taken me a VERY long time to get used to the alleys, the roads, the people, the lifestyle but I’m so, so proud of myself on this journey for choosing the one place I desperately disliked when I came to visit for three days and falling in love with everything and everyone here. It never helped I couldn’t sleep, and the inability to sleep for the first month meant a huge amount of money was spent on coffees and not budgeted very well but still, I’m learning to stop regretting the choices I made as they were right for that moment.
What have you been up to?
Well thanks so much for asking! Quite a lot actually. Here’s the last few weeks summed up in pictures:
All in all, I’ve travelled the South, had strange travel journeys with creepy kids, men and non observant passengers who leave their luggage handles at ridiculous angles, nearly had my friend Georgia get squashed by a collapsing cupboard, nearly missed my flight to Majorca and had to have fellow passengers of the bus give me moral support, flown to Majorca holding hands with a random man and his wife whilst her and I were panicking through turbulence, made friends with their baby, sailed terribly on a passage into a cliff, got squashed in the back of a car, FaceTimed my Grandma, had a sleepover with my Spanish sister and saw my best friend Pelajo again who took over the whole bed, got anxious, skipped class and sunbathed in a hostel where I met new friends and felt better, felt depressed and went to a restaurant by myself where I was coincidentally sitting next to the same woman I got speaking to on my first day in Sevilla so joined her table and had a good evening, moved into my own place with awesome housemates who are introducing me to people to live with/meet in Colombia in November, eaten more Paella, looked like an idiot on the beach in my shitty haggled-over orange towel next to the huge sheets the two Georgias bought, ate a gluten and dairy FULL apple crumble, got a tummy ache but it was worth it, got caught out in the rain in Seville and then found an art gallery to peruse alone – not to mention the gorgeous art market, numerous coffees, brunches, laughs, jokes, spanish classes in the morning AND the afternoon, more coffee, vino de verano and NOT vino tintos – as I usually order by accident, tattoo planning, more friend making, cooking and sunset watching.
What’s next Em?
Well? I’ve got 15 days.
That’s 15 days to drink more coffee, write, learn more Spanish, watch more sunsets, learn Salsa, go to Triana for drinks with the Georgias (yes you come as one name now, just easier) Karaoke, shopping and if I can fit in a beach before I fly back to London for a bit? Even better.
As much as I preach it and believe it, in the midst of a depressive episode, it’s very difficult to sometimes accept yourself as normal, human and worthy of love. It’s easy to forget that the majority of the time you laugh, smile and feel .. because in the days where you’re so low you feel nothing and you don’t feel capable of anything other than moving to get more comfortable in your second day of staying in bed. I once read – probably in one of Bryony Gordon’s books – that during your depressive episode you can forget what it feels like to be you – and then when it’s passed, you forget how bad those few days were and how awful you once felt. I really believe she’s right. It’s impossible to see clearly when you’re in such a dark place yet when it lifts you forget you were ever in that tunnel – yeah, Depression makes zero sense to me too, whether I’m in England or Spain, it’s baffling. Annoying and baffling.
As much as I write it and write it, I need to superglue this in my head – that these moods, these thoughts, these feelings – they ARE a part of me. It is what it is – I can’t change it, I can’t run away from it and I can’t do anything other than try and let the thoughts pass like a wave – eventually they always do – and to do whatever it is that makes me feel better. You can love me, hate me, but you ain’t me so I guess it makes no difference. The “ME” I know is kind, thoughtful, generally quite funny – well I think so anyway – supportive, honest and real. If Depression and Anxiety are also other sides to me then okay, I’ve just got to go with it somehow and continue to surround myself with the people mentioned in my first paragraph, who remind me that the ME I am, is just fine as she is – Depression, Anxiety, bad jokes and all.
Plus, I still managed to buy my parents anniversary flowers and chocolates from another country, I can’t be all bad 🙂