We take possession of our new house tomorrow. It will be a few weeks until our actual moving day, but it’s still pretty significant mentally as the shift from here to there.
The last 10 months have been really tough for me. I made a decision to move out of downtown to the suburbs; which was sound financially and good for my partner, but unfortunately rather disastrous for me. I can’t honestly say I didn’t see it coming — I just didn’t want to see it coming. Sometimes my inner mental and emotional needs (and outer physical needs) aren’t practical. But I’m finally getting the message that they can’t be ignored.
I grew up in the suburbs, and it always felt like a prison. It’s difficult to explain. All I know is that when I was there, I felt oppressed and constricted and trapped. I started to get a glimpse of urban life in my teens when I got into an accelerated program at a high school downtown. I ended up becoming best friends with a girl who lived not far from the school and spent most weekends at her house. But I still had to go home eventually. In my 20s I moved downtown for a year or two, but that changed when I started dating (and ultimately married) my first husband. I was back in the suburbs. Trapped again.
During my second (common-law) marriage we nearly went into financial ruin because of my push to move back to downtown. It was an obsession, definitely, but I knew I wouldn’t feel right again until I was there. And I did feel right once I was there. Unfortunately I also felt trapped because of the relationship, so I left the husband, moved out of the house but stayed downtown.
Again, we were briefly pushed out of downtown when I became disabled and couldn’t afford the rent there while we waited the three months for the disability payments to come through. But as soon as they did, I cut out of my lease after only six months and we moved back to our old neighbourhood downtown.
So what, exactly, made me think I could survive another move out-of-town. Not just to the suburbs either, but the far suburbs.
I guess the simple answer is that I didn’t want to make it a money issue between my husband and I. He’s a very practical person. I wanted to be practical. It was hard for me to justify the additional expense because of a feeling I had.
It’s interesting how, as someone with mental illness, I get angry when others diminish the impact of the effect of emotions on me as a sufferer of bipolar disorder, and then turn around and do the same thing to myself. I guess when it comes to me, I can be a bit of a hypocrite.
So we moved to the suburbs and everyone adjusted quite well. Except me.
I mean, I put on a good front for what seemed like a long while. I tidied the house, I made dinners, I took the dog for long walks. I tried to adjust. But the bad feelings started to creep in, anyway.
I stopped doing much around the house. I stopped showering. I spent most of the day sleeping.
That went on a long time before I finally spoke up to my husband to tell him that I wasn’t happy. It’s a really hard thing to tell someone you love, at a time when you’re supposed to be happy for finally being together, that you’re not. Especially if they can’t change the thing that is making you unhappy.
So that’s where we were stuck for a while. Me feeling unhappy and trapped but trying to fake my way out of it, and him being unhappy that I was unhappy and feeling stuck with no way to fix it, until finally thanks to some unexpected financial changes, we found a way to fix it.
At no small cost to them, mind you. My son has to change schools again. My husband now will have a long commute to and from work everyday. All because I couldn’t hack it.
That’s a huge responsibility.
On the one hand, I’m relieved. I’ll be back in the hustle and bustle of downtown. Close to people walking and moving and being. I don’t know what it is that is so important to me about that. Something about knowing I can walk to everything. I’m not trapped by needing a car. Things are laid out in a grid and I can find my way around. I guess there’s something about being downtown that makes me feel very self-sufficient. Very un-trapped.
But there is also a certain amount of pressure, because I worry about everyone else adjusting. If they hate it, I will be to blame. Which I guess is why it was so difficult for me to speak up in the first place. I don’t like always being the squeaky wheel. Except unfortunately, I am always the squeaky wheel — or at least the wheel that squeaks the loudest. When I’m miserable, everyone is miserable, because my misery tends to get amplified by my mental illness. I hate that about myself, but I also can’t deny it.
The next two weeks will be the hardest as we dismantle our current house and set up the new one, and I have to deal with mixed feelings of exhilaration and guilt. I want to jump ahead to when we’re settled in and know that it hasn’t been a huge mistake to put my needs first.