Update (Part 1)

*+* SPACEBOAT ARRIVAL, PRESENT-SELF-VERSION DOWLOADED, TELEPORTATION COMPLETE *+* – oh, I just misread the word ‘complete’ as ‘OMLETTE’ and now I’m imagining teleporting omlettes appearing and disappearing in an egg-shell sky – Hello! It’s been a year since I last wrote something for this website, though I have written lots of things since then (mainly emails). After a brain-yoyo-ing summer of unpredictability, boundary-pushing and the general mind-management that comes with having a brain like mine that decides to do the things I do before I’m capable of doing them: I moved away to live on my own! Woah, what?! Did that actually happen? Anyone who knows me well will know that this seemed like quite the impossible dream some years ago – one of many. I’m not sure how long it will actually be for, but the main thing is that I did it – I’m doing it. I’ve been here since September, studying on a course (MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health, which is perfect for my brain, I absolutely love it!). It’s taken me until now (6 months) to properly settle; it wasn’t easy, it took a LOT of brainwork, but my motivations were everything I’d worked towards and everything I am passionate about, so I knew it was worth not giving up for – I feel very lucky to be in this part of my life, even though it’s temporary – because I know that this temporary-thing has permanent impacts. and, if anyone had seen what I was like in the weeks, days, hours prior to moving here, they might be as surprised as I am, because I was a MESS – I don’t know how I did it. Self-management is possible, with determination, patience and the right support – support appears in various forms, it’s not always the shape you’d expect it to be in.

I’ve been wanting to write about my experiences settling for a while, but I was too wrapped into Experiencing settling for that while. I will revisit this topic in more depth, but I wanted to cover a few points here.

Firstly, the process of finding somewhere to move to was a nightmare-game in itself. I was relieved to find this little flat – I used to say that I wish I could live in a place where other people lived but who I didn’t have to see or speak to so I could keep myself to myself yet still feel like there were people about, which is kind of what I got. Other than that, the most difficult things were… *remembers Week 1 meltdowns* I actually have a picture somewhere of my crying face, because when I first moved here I wanted to make a video diary of me settling, but then I wasn’t able to speak into the camera and also had massive exposure-anxiety stuff, followed by all the other brain-things that stopped me doing a video diary – but that was my first attempt, which I find really funny because I had wanted to express my thoughts about how stressful it was and then it was just a 6 second video of me whimpering like a VERY SAD KITTEN. It was because I had to make a phone call, to sort out bills. It’s this kind of thing that sounds like an ordinary thing that needs doing, but when you have no idea what anything means, and no-one to explain to you what anything means, and also you’re too stubbornly busy trying to pretend to the world that you CAN do this on your own to know how to ask for help, and when you also HATE phone calls to strangers – SO MANY TEARS! Also: washing-machine anxiety. I was convinced it was going to burst into flames. It caused so much stress every day. (that and this other thing where I kept thinking people were going to crawl out of the washing machine, and the cupboards, and the taps (?!), but that’s a bit more of an abstract stress-escalation anxiety attack type thing). I remember getting a coach back to Swindon, one minute about to fall asleep with exhaustion and the next minute being struck by a ‘you’ve-ruined-everything-call-the-fire-brigade’-shaped panic attack and messaging my good friend Jodie who wonderfully managed to lower my heart rate by some kind of magic and reassured me that all would be fine (it was). There was also the time 2 weeks in where I must have got some sort of horrendous flu – it was only for a few days, thankfully, but it appeared so suddenly and painfully, and after I was violently sick I tried to see what the temperature of my face was like, and I had one of those unwell helpless moments of feeling lonely when you’re like ‘Can you check if my face is really warm’ but there’s no-one to ask… I felt like such a pathetic porridge-flake!

Some things that helped me settle: again, I’ll revisit this, but to cover a few points – LISTS. Lists, lists and lists of lists. I would start and end each day making lists. and would start the next day re-making lists of the ones I’d made ready for that morning. I’d stare at them, pacing around, making sure I knew exactly what was going to happen throughout the day and what I needed for the next day. Sometimes I’d get stuck on a list and would be there for about an hour trying to figure out how to do the first thing on the list, because the transition from the going-through-the-list to the doing-the-list can be as difficult as doing the actual things on the list – but lists were amazing at helping me get to know each week and each day. Other things that helped me were, remembering why I was there, that I had chosen to be there and that I absolutely had to make it work, because it was what I wanted. Taking control of the space – my cleaning routine helped with that. Covering the pin-board with lovely things, too, of course. Keeping constantly busy to distract my brain, and tiring myself out as much as I could through the day, every day, mentally and physically, in the hope for easier falling-sleep. I was in total robot mode the first few weeks. Also: Emailing people. Not everyone needs to know where you are or what you’re doing straight away – I felt nervous talking about having moved, for brain-reasons; but communicating with people you trust does help, and for me, emailing is amazing for that.

I think I’ll come back to this topic in the summer some time, but for now, I’ll leave a few pictures from September to November – I had wanted to keep an Instagram log, but I got scared of Instagram/social media in general and stopped using it after the 3rd picture… but maybe I’ll start using it again soon. The next post will include December-January, then the one after will be February to MARCH, THE PRESENT DAY, and then I can FINALLY GET ON WITH POSTING WHAT I ACTUALLY CAME BACK ON THIS WEBSITE TO POST!

(‘Don’t worry exposure-anxiety, no-one looks at this thing anyway’, my brain reassures myself)

Sumita +.+

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