It’s not been a great year so far and I’ve already written about some of this on the blog, but without going into detail, circumstances changed again which meant I had to spend some time away from home.
I’m not going to bore you with the ins and outs of that period. What I’m interested in is the process of recovery and reacclimatising having been parted from my normal daily life for nearly a month with very little time for planning in advance.
For me this is the longest I’ve ever been away and initially I had no idea how long the trip was going to last, so packing and belongings were rather on the light side. I’ve experienced proper homesickness once or twice before, once as a child at Brownie camp and then through an intense period in my working life, though I did get to go home on weekends then.
Looking back now as I gradually return to normality (whatever that is!) I surprise myself with the focus on lack that I experienced. That is however what grief and loss are all about of course, your personal perspective of certain things not being in your life (be it for that time or permanently).
It turns out that (as well as what I've already described) living on adrenalin, anxiety and stress for around a month is not a great combination. Admittedly I had great support from friends and family from afar and don’t get me wrong I had wonderful offers from friends in the locality, but when your whole life seems to be focused on the next major phone call that can’t be predicted then it gets very difficult to organise anything.
Perhaps it’s me. Perhaps I invest too much of myself into anything I do. That’s probably true I suppose. But I don’t know how to be any different. With a situation like this you just get on with things as best you can and pick up the pieces later.
Well, I guess this is me processing things and picking up the proverbial pieces that I left behind me. What I’m truly interested in is dealing with and understanding the experience, so that I can feel better about myself now and hopefully do better if the situation ever arises again.
The first couple of things I’ve learnt are probably obvious but are extremely important; the key one being sleep. There’s nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed, so when you don’t for a while you inevitably get tired. So number one: make sure you get plenty of good sleep, particularly when you return to your own surroundings. Now this is easier said than done, worry and fear can always be a factor in these circumstances, but the second point, is where things can make a difference.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t get frustrated, upset or overwhelmed (though you probably will) but if you do, treat yourself like you’re your own best friend. This statement may sound strange, but think about it for a moment. If a good friend asked you for advice how would you respond? With understanding and kindness I’m sure. So why not treat yourself in the same way? Being gentle and caring with yourself is the best way to go.
From there you begin to make progress. It may not be huge and it will take time, but you need to give yourself that time and patience. As you step back into the light you’ll know what to do; whether that’s to carry on with the great life you had, or because of time, reflection and healing you’ve spotted a way to make improvements, that depends on you.
For me things have been shaken up a bit, but I can also see much more clearly now what’s important in my life and I’m grateful for that. Over time I want to recognise properly these aspects of my life and perhaps put into place changes in me to make my amazing life better.
I’m not looking for sympathy I hasten to add with this post, but perhaps some understanding and connection with others who have experienced similar things and drawn conclusions for themselves. I hope wherever you are and whatever your life, you can always come to some peace and understanding with your inner self…