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  • Writer's pictureTara Vaughan

Moving Home

My parents went away for a six-week holiday and they did a lot of research on mental health, especially on depression. I, for once in my life, finally felt heard. They understood the fogginess in my head, the confusion, the forgetfulness and all the other things that I have been feeling in since taking the drugs.

They came over one evening once I had finished work and sat me down. They had come up with a plan to take me off my medication. It was time to try a different way to the doctors. They suggested that I move home to do it; I said I couldn’t do it any other way. I asked if we could set up a schedule, I desperately needed some routine in my life.

Where I was living at the time was great, I had fresh, countryside air and horses all around me but I wasn’t looking after myself. I’d wake up, go and feed the horses, feed the dog and then myself. Sometimes I’d go to the gym. I’d eat a late lunch then go and work evening yard. I rarely showered, perhaps once a week. I could easily wear the same dirty, horsey clothes for three or four days in a row. I didn’t hoover and I didn’t clean. I wasn’t looking after myself. I didn’t care.

At first I thought moving home would be great. And then I started to have doubts. Doubts on whether-or-not it was the right thing to do. I felt like I was taking a big step back moving in with my parents. After all I was meant to be moving in with Hugo. I would have worked four days a week in London and lived in the country for the other three. I had found us two horses. We had dreams of creating a garden, having chickens, followed by sheep. We wanted to live off the land as much as we could. The thought of moving back in with my parents tightened the realisation that none of that was happening. That my life had fallen apart. That I was broke and I have to ask for money any time I want to go out and do something, dinner with a friend, fill up my car with fuel. That feeling especially, of having to ask for money, I feel so ashamed. So ashamed that I’m a 26 year old woman who has to ask her parents for money. When I was younger, I always thought that people in their twenties had all their shit together. Hell, last year I had all my shit together. How the times have changed.

I went home for the Easter weekend and ended up staying. A few days after Easter my mother helped me collect my things and I officially moved back home. I am now almost a month into living at home and I feel like I’ve gone backwards not forwards. I went down to ¾ of a pill on 5th April – I don’t feel any different. I have tried to create a routine but things keep cropping up and I’m not adjusting to the change particularly well.

My mother suggested I have a weekly massage and I would love nothing more than a weekly relaxing massage but the thing is, since I trained as a soft tissue therapist every massage that I receive I pick to pieces. I criticize, their every move, their posture, going round in my head is “if they stood like this, then they wouldn’t be compromising their posture and it would feel better” – that is NOT relaxing. It’s a nice idea, but I haven’t found the right person yet.

Since being home I’m not sleeping. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not doing so much physical work or because I can feel how anxious my parents are even if they’re not conscious of it. All I’d really like to do is start taking Mirtazapine again. That helped me to sleep. It got me to sleep and kept me asleep. I was never on it for a long time so it was easy for me to stop taking it. I only took it constantly for a couple of months and then I took it as and when I needed it. In fact, I’d like to take any type of sleeping pill that’s strong enough to stop me from dreaming about Hugo; I don’t think sleeping pills that stop you from dreaming exist do they? I want to take them because my worry is that I’ll become reliant on them and that’s not what I want to happen.

Having moved home I haven’t been able to get Hugo out of my head – even more than usual. I’d got it down to a daily thing now it’s back to an hourly thought. I wake up and my first thought is of him, throughout the day I am battling with my mind not to think of him. Then it’s bedtime and he creeps into my head again, and when I finally fall asleep Hugo enters my dreams. Since finding out that Hugo is now going out with his best friend, I constantly feel sick. Every memory that we made together makes me feel sick or even be sick. I’m struggling to understand what my body is trying to tell me. Why can’t these memories stay as happy memories? Why do they have to punish me? Why can’t I think of what I had and smile? Smile of the amazing times that I had. Smile because for once in my life I found true happiness.

I knew moving home would be tough but I never realised that it would bring up so many emotions. It’s not just the emotions, my parents act like parents instead of adults and in return I act like child instead of adult. It’s a learning curve for all of us but we need to learn to stay in our adult. My whole life my family have been like this, when we’re back together we fall into our family roles. It’s a very common behavior one that you might have noticed within your family. Humans are heard animals, group animals actually and your family is your first group. It is completely normal and necessary for children to rebel in their teenage years, they need to learn to push boundaries and create boundaries for themselves. I didn’t understand that I needed to create boundaries so I let my family walk all over me – especially my brothers, in my eyes they could do no wrong, I put them up on pedestals.

What I struggle with is saying no to my family, so living back at home is a big learning curve for me. I feel awful saying no to my parents but this is a boundary that I have to learn to create – it’s okay to say no. It’s even difficult to write. I can say no. It’s as easy as that, or rather, it should be as easy as that.

Then there’s the guilt and the shame that comes with not having a job. The effort it takes to get out of bed most mornings is exhausting. Depression is mentally exhausting and sometimes all I can do is sit on the sofa. I like to watch a series, it helps to take me out of my reality and one or two episodes can usually change my mood. My mother suggests that I read, but I struggle with reading at the best of times, when I’m low it’s even more of a challenge. The guilt and the shame that consumes me when I’m sitting on the sofa doing ‘nothing’, especially when we have people in and out of the house all the time is painful.

I have spent the last week in London, having various different types of therapy. It was a nice change, even if my parents were there most of the time. I feel as if I get a little bit of my independence back when I’m in London – I mean, I still have to ask my parents to pay for everything that I do but I get to go out and see friends, whether it’s for a meal or they join me for a dog walk it’s part of my independence and it’s on my terms not my parents. I still struggle to sleep in London but I do sleep better. Being in London did give my mother and I time to sit down and create a schedule. I have filled it with exercise (I went and joined the gym on Saturday morning), therapy, work (I got a part time job doing web design and social media for a printing company local to home), I get 24 hours in London which I will be going to a meditation class (my mother and I stumbled across it, it’s relatively new and looks good), hopefully I’ll be able to see a friend a week (it’s about time I try and have a social life again since falling off the face of the earth nine months ago!), and then depending on the week I’ll have acupuncture or pain rehab therapy. I would like to add in more mindfulness activities such as art, music lessons or even language lessons but for now I think this is enough.

It’s nice to be back in the countryside as I do find London exhausting. I am really looking forward to getting into a routine and spending some time with the animals. For now, it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and as tired as I am it’s time to take little Ziggy for a walk.

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