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DAY 78

Today we walked around my hometown, Kyle dragged his feet after realising we would be walking a few miles but I skipped with a complete ardent outlook. We decided that today we’d get a train to my old station then walk around and back to the next station. I took him to my old house, my old primary school, the parks I’d play in, the shops I shopped in and we headed to an old high flat area which had been knocked down and developed into what’s now called ‘Belville Gardens’.  The whole experience of going back felt quite cathartic.

The view from Belville Gardens was phenomenal and made me question why I couldn’t live in such a place. The scenery of this town is lovely, it’s just overrun with crime – murder particularly. It shows you that a place can be entirely different at one in the afternoon, opposed to the evening. We then walked into the town past the old abandoned church and then back up towards the train station.

The station is on the road where my ex lived and it terrified me walking past that place, I walked by a few months ago to get to that station and it was awful, I felt like I couldn’t breathe but collapsing would only bring more attention to myself by the sound of sirens and blue lights. There’s this big dam that I’ve always loved, I’d go as far as saying it was my favourite place. I approached the grass area with diffidence, and as I sat down and watched the little sail boats on the water and it made my spirit happy. I would roll about on the grass sunbathing here, I would walk my big beautiful Labrador here where he would run and scare all the ducks. When I was in a relationship with this person we’d visit this dam, but before, it was a different place where my family and I went ourselves. Every Friday afternoon after school we’d feed the ducks, this was the first time in six years I got to sit down on this bench and feel serenity. I was in such a basic place but I was ebullient in these moments of just sitting.

Then the anxiety flooded in, what am I doing here? The same feeling I felt every time I crossed into Greenock – my own hometown. I moved away when I was 15 and after my romantic and platonic relationships broke down, it seemed I wasn’t quite allowed to return home to visit my mother or siblings. I would come home and social media would buzz of questions like why I was in Greenock. As if a whole town was claimed and I had been thrown out, I was treated like I didn’t belong anymore or that I had this restraining order that meant I wasn’t supposed to be in the town’s radius. My relationship with my mother and my family broke down and I stayed a quivering mess inside my home, forty miles away.

Flash forward six years, I’m sitting on a bench outside where he lived. I was in his territory. I worried that someone would see me, and the opposition would be sent to tear me down, but nothing. Potentially the fear itself was the invisible wall that kept me out. I felt the most wonderful feelings just by sitting in a place that I had loved and cherished, I didn’t even realise how important this was to me until I just sat there. The water was calm, the weather was calm – everything was pure. I had company but in that moment I felt very alone in one of the most spiritual ways. I imagined bringing some sketchbooks and notepads here and writing, getting some real inspiration. The ideas were endless because in those ten minutes I realised that this place was not anyone’s territory, it was a free for all.

Anxiety is such a troubling thing and I struggle with it every day. I hardly communicate with some people but it tends to be the people who I don’t speak to are the ones I fear the opinion of, the ones that I respect and that matter to me. Although I have an anxiety disorder which means I am entirely irrational at several points in my day, all of us experience feelings of anxiety. It may not be an illness, but we all feel nervousness and fear. Don’t let it keep you out, one you let it you’re building up this whole nightmare world for yourself where it’s harder to escape. Don’t stop visiting your favourite stores or places because of someone else’s opinion, that’s where I went wrong. Don’t let people control your life! You know that restaurant you really liked but you won’t go there because your old best friend works there? Go there! Nobody can stop you. You are only stopping yourself.

If you live with a nervousness controlling you, then it’s always going to be that way. You’ll confine yourself to a box when you’ve always had the whole world. If you have an illness, I entirely understand how you’re feeling. It’s been two years and I’m still a nervous wreck talking to my boyfriend’s parents. I’m lucky to be medicated although it only slightly improves my situation, I don’t suffer from panic attacks very frequently. The best form of therapy is just working on you and pushing yourself in little ways.

If you want to talk about this at all, you know I’m on twitter.

Until tomorrow friends!