Picture this scenario for me.
You have just had the best first date of your life. You laugh at all the same things, you talk constantly with no weird pauses, and at the end of the night you just know that you can’t wait to see them again. As soon as you get home, you get a call saying your mother is sick. Then, you have a crisis at work. Then a small fire in your building, forcing you to move. Then, then, then, just one thing after another, constant crisis for months, each of them seeming to be the worst thing that has ever happened. During all this time, you never get around to calling that fantastic date of yours again.
You completely meant to, of course. But you can’t call and tell them about your sick Mom. It’s too soon, you barely know each other. And you can’t start in on the work problems, because it will just sound like an excuse. With every crisis that comes along, you have more and more to explain until you realize that you just missed your chance. I mean, not calling or a week is one thing. But it’s been months now. For all you know, they’ve moved on. There is really no explaining anything anymore.
But I guess I can try to explain.
That’s right. There was no date, it was all a thinly veiled effort to explain my disappearance and sudden reappearance. I’m honestly not sure exactly how a year passed without a post, but I guess it’s just like I said above. The longer I was gone, the more I felt I had to explain when I came back. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to call, I just wasn’t sure exactly how to explain everything. I’m not going to go into every gory detail, but hopefully an overview will help.
It was one year ago. I’d been struggling with depression for a while. Belgium is a beautiful country and most people I met were wonderful, but it wasn’t a good place for me personally. I wasn’t able to work, not because I didn’t try but because there weren’t a lot of opportunities. I lived far away from most of the people I knew and I have never been a person who was great at making new friends. It was isolating and rough. I had tried to make the best of it, but we had begun to hit a point where I was drowning underneath the rejection letters and the quilts I had made to ignore the rejection letters. Topping it all off, we had been having trouble with our landlord for a while and were working on trying to move out when our lease was up. Again, I’m not going to get into it. Not only is it in the past, but it would not be fair to give you only one side of the story. Let’s just leave it with the one thing I think we would both agree on; neither of us were fans of the other.
Basically, things were stressful. Eventually we found a new house and moved. I struggled a lot during this time. I stopped writing on the blog, I stopped writing on my novels, I stopped sewing. I didn’t read as much. Somedays I barely managed to get dressed. Worst of all, I stopped wanting to do a lot of that. I just kind of stopped.
Things weren’t always bad. I had a lot of good days in there too. I worked hard at keeping myself as physically healthy as possible with diet and exercise. I even had bursts of creative energy occasionally. I finished a few quilts along the way. I had the inspiration for a novel, and even a desire to go back and finish one I had started a few years ago. Sometimes I thought about coming back here, but I never quite knew what to say. Do I apologize for disappearing? Do I promise it will never happen again? How much of the lost time do I explain? Every last detail? Pretend I was never gone? Or somewhere in the middle? It was too much to think about, so I kept putting it off.
And then things changed. Two months ago, we left Belgium for England. It hasn’t been an easy transition, and not everything has worked out the way we wanted it to but it’s still been good. We like where we are. We’re settling in, and someday I might even be done unpacking boxes. Maybe. I really hate unpacking. But the point is, things were slowly starting to look up. Even when things were really bad, I didn’t feel quite as down. I even started wanting to write again; and not even just wanting to write, I felt like I had something to say again.
So where does that leave me now? I honestly don’t know. I’m not going to promise I won’t disappear again. If I need to be gone for my mental health I’m going to be gone and I am not going to apologize for that. Instead I am simply going to say, today I am here. Tomorrow, I might not be. I hope you can understand that. If not, that’s fine too. We all have to do what we have to do.
But for those of you who come back, who choose to stick it out with me. Thank you. I don’t know if you’ve ever been low, but it means a lot to have others around to help you back up.