Stress and depression can come in many forms and as a result of many things. For me, the time was when I was living abroad in a country of a different culture.
It seemed a good idea at the time. I could speak Spanish. We both had good jobs and my husband was due to retire. So we did it. We bought a ruin in North-West Spain, did it up, retired and went. Speaking Spanish, I would be able to ease us into the way of Spanish life in a somewhat secluded part of Spain. And that’s where it went wrong.
Within a year, I hoped to be fluent in Spanish but they didn’t speak Spanish in Galicia; they spoke Gallego, which I refer to as ‘Geordie Spanish’; the rest of Spain didn’t understand this dialect and the King would need an interpreter.
The thing is, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I missed things like carpet, birthday cards and suet. Walking barefoot in the (should have been) cosiness of Christmas, finding the right birthday card for son, husband or sister and good old dumplings just never happened.
Loneliness set in. Anything I needed meant getting into the car and driving eighteen miles to find it. Good friends never really happened because, in a land where your own language is few and far between, you find yourself being friends with people who wouldn’t be a perfect match for your natural self.
Living there felt like being in prison; I would look out of my window and see a world outside but I wasn’t part of it. Only once did I stay in my pyjamas all day but every time I woke up, I was met with my thought of ‘how many hours do I have to fill before I’m back in bed’.
We returned to England and it took me a while to find me again.
Thankfully, I was here to be found.
Even though we can feel lost and detached from things that are making us feel at odds with the world, the remnants of the real ‘I’ are still hovering in the wings. We just have to find those parts of ourselves and rebuild.