Last week marked 5 years since I became ill. It’s the one week of the year that freaks me out because for some totally illogical reason I always feel like it’s going to happen again. But this time instead of spending the entire week feeling like a total lunatic I decided to face it all head on and go back to the place where it all happened.
I don’t think I was actually expecting anything to come of it. I thought I’d go there and maybe remember some of the stuff I thought I’d blocked out-like it would hit me in a rush of memories the second I stepped off the train. But it didn’t turn out that way at all. I had to force myself off the train. I really questioned the wisdom of me being there. As I re-traced the steps I took that day I had no memories come back to me-if anything I felt more confused-the layout of the town was so different to the sequence of events I had in my mind that I now realise whatever happened that day couldn’t have happened in the order I think it did. The buildings were in all the wrong places. It felt like a total waste of time. I got to the Town Centre and felt like an idiot for wasting my day off as I was now more confused than ever. I stood still and gave up, ready to turn around and go home.
But the second I gave up and let my mind go blank I started walking, I instinctively remembered where I needed to go. I led myself (?!) down a side alley into the hidden entrance to a Multi-Storey Car Park. That’s where it all started coming back to me-not as emotional memory-but my body remembered, it’s really the only way I can describe it. The Car Park has loads of different exits but I knew which one I needed to take. That trip up the stairs to it was not good, my entire body was shaking. I opened the door and went straight to the spot where I knew I’d taken my last steps before collapsing. I sat down on the floor where I’d fallen and I cried. I cried for a very long time.
Before I’d left London that morning I’d run back into my flat and grabbed a notebook and a pen-it seemed like a really random act at the time but as I sat there I realised why I’d done it. I got them out and I wrote myself a letter (I’m aware of how odd that sounds but it made perfect sense at the time). In my letter I told myself I was sorry the past 5 years had been so hard, that I knew I was going to be ok from now on, and a big thank you for getting through it and becoming the person I am today. I folded the letter up and hid it inside the metal bollard where I’d been sitting so it could stay there unseen.
I thought that I’d gone there to face myself-to see the Old Me and know in my heart that I was not that person anymore. But as soon as I’d started writing the letter I understood that I hadn’t gone there to meet anyone. I’d gone to leave the Old Me behind. The scared, ill, vulnerable version of Me I’d been carrying around with me all of this time. I had to say goodbye properly because I did not need her anymore.
As I left the Car Park and the letter I felt incredibly light and very free. I went home and slept for hours. For the next week I was insanely tired. I could barely put one foot in front of the other. I knew I’d changed when these physical symptoms didn’t scare me-when I didn’t feel vulnerable anymore. I’m still left with this feeling of lightness. Everything feels so easy now. I’m effortlessly happy, And a big knot of tension I’ve been carrying around in my stomach for years has melted away. I didn’t even know it was there until it went. It’s really incredible because quite honestly I didn’t think going back there would make any difference to me at all. I just did it to prove to myself that my thinking was illogical. The rewards I’ve gained have been immeasurable. Perhaps the biggest change of all is that I now feel Safe all of the time. I now realise I haven’t felt Safe for years. The relief this has brought me is beyond description.
I’m so glad I faced up to all of this. But I’m also glad I didn’t force myself into doing it before I was ready. If you are in a similar situation yourself then my only advice is to definitely Face It-but only when you are ready. I spent years of my Journey trying to Force myself to deal with situations like this one before I was anywhere near ready. When you are ready you will Know. And when it happens it will be effortless and you will Step Into being the person you know you are meant to be. That’s how I feel now. And I know that because of it everything is about to change. And all of the stuff I’ve been holding myself back from without realising it-all that stuff is just going to show up for me now, because I’m finally ready for it. And all because I stopped looking for something to complete me, and instead left something behind.