You know I said I needed a break? Well I figured it was time I stop speaking and start doing. This year has been a rocky one, with the loss of both grandparents and just the general stress of life my anxiety has been at an all-time high. I started to feel like everything was getting too loud, It made it harder for me to think clearly.
I had a few days booked off of work and I thought there is no way I am going to spend a week at home doing nothing. As much as I really wanted to be on a sunny beach somewhere with a few cocktails and some oiled up topless men, my budget could only stretch to a short stay in Birmingham. I enjoyed exploring Manchester last year so I thought it would be good to work my way through a few more places in the UK.
I always said that my self-care was a lot of little things. The truth is I was too afraid to do something that would actually change anything. When you get real comfortable telling yourself over and over again that a cup of tea and some music therapy is all you need to deal with the constant need to cry every other day, you start to believe it.
I got comfortable thinking I was actually doing something to manage the stress and anxiety, but all I was doing was masking the real issue. I was really emotional when I left home for my train to Birmingham because I was actually doing something that I needed. I spend way too much time putting others before me, which is not a bad thing when you know when to put yourself first. But I don’t know when to put myself first, and even though Birmingham wasn’t the beach trip I really wanted and needed, it was still the time away from everything that I desperately needed.
This trip just made me realise just how much I like being alone, I could have done with a friend around to take a few pictures of me when I went to the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens, but I know for next time to get myself a photographer.
I didn’t venture too far out, I stayed pretty close to the centre, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to really go exploring.
I really enjoyed the peace and quiet, Dagenham is pretty quiet when you get used to the police sirens and the speeding cars on the A13. I feel like Birmingham has a more calm and relaxed vibe to it, everyone in London seems to always be in some type of rush.
I gave myself the chance to truly find out what it is that I need to help when I feel like everything is getting a bit chaotic. There is no quick fix, as much as I wish there was a magical tea to make it all go away so I can just get on with my life, that just isn’t the case. I have to make some big decisions in order to create the life that I want to live, and that is not easy. It has been made clear that in order for me to feel better long term, I need to do the things that scare me, the therapy, the solo trips, the honest conversations about my feelings.
Self-care is about doing what you have to do in order to get clarity. Mental health has a way of blurring your vision and distorting reality, self-care clears the fog and puts everything into perspective. This trip has done some of that for me, given me the clarity I needed in order to move forward.
Written by Saabirah (repost from Saabirah Lawrence)