Monday, 13 October 2014

Why I Stopped Running

I actually wrote the text below a few months ago for guest blog than unfortunately never happened. Well, instead of wasting it, I decided that it was about time I got it up on my own blog and published. Enjoy! :)

Four years ago, after two years of living in Belgium, I nearly decided to move back to the UK. I had lost yet another job, things had gone bad for me once more as I hadn’t coped with the stress at work. With thoughts of, ‘why me?!’ I decided that it must be the country, that if I went back then everything would magically turn out fine.

At some point I stopped myself and realised something: moving back would be just running away again. I had fled England, my friends, a relationship when everything went bad. I suddenly realised that running back wouldn’t work, I had nowhere to go and everyone had already moved on. The only way to move forward was to work with what I did have, finding what was achievable, rather than being angry at what I didn’t.

Luckily I found the mental-health support in Belgium that I had been lacking whilst in the UK. With this, I decided it was time to push forward to achieve things for myself for once, rather than just sitting still feeling sorry for myself all the time. I enrolled myself in for Dutch lessons, knowing that if I was to ever get anywhere then speaking the language better would be a very useful tool. I also enrolled myself in for music lessons, accordion lessons, something that I had wanted to do for years. I slowly started to grow and become more confident, becoming a better and stronger person for fighting instead of fleeing.

Now, four years on, I’ve achieved so much that I never thought possible. And this is not just musically or linguistically. Because of the music lessons, I’m now a more confident person overall, having had to perform solo at various points. Also, because of my new-found linguistic skills, I socialise with more with people, speak to people on the train or at the bus stop, things I never used to do. Even before I moved to Belgium, I used to shut myself away a lot, turn away and avoid speaking to people. It’s like another person has surfaced simply because I dared to try. I am now also looking for work once more and, through making my own enquiries and taking the steps myself, am involved in a programme that can help me find a new direction along with training and job placements so I can “try out” any job before I decide to commit to it.

That doesn’t mean to say that everything has been plain sailing. I still have had and do have dark moments from time to time. The main difference has come with how I handle them. The darkness can be painful and enveloping when it returns, making me think that everyone hates me, that I’m just as useless at everything as I’ve always been. ‘Why do you even bother?’ that little voice says to me. At those times, one step at a time, I have to remind myself that I am capable, that the world isn’t out to get me. Even if I just achieve one thing during those darkest of days, no matter how small, it is still one thing more than those voices would have me believe was possible. Slowly, surely, bit by bit, those dark days are becoming less and I’m becoming more of an achiever than someone who just let life pass them by.

Be that person who takes the time to make a change in your life, do something for yourself. Whether it be indulging in a hobby or just doing something else that you enjoy, all these are things we can do to work towards our own happiness.

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