I fell in love with London immediately. It was the type of love that comes quickly and intensely. It stopped me in my tracks and filled me with awe.
For the first couple of months, when I wasn’t at work or asleep I was exploring London with friends I already had there and Roxy when she came to visit. When you are happy, the hustle and the bustle of the city makes you feel alive, like a part of the citys pulse and it is amazing.
It was also a place that made me appreciate nature a little more, I’d seek out places like Holland Park and Primrose Hill to feel the peace. Going home for Christmas that year was welcome, I might have loved the hustle and bustle but there is just something about the feeling of being in a place and not feeling the need to go 100 miles an hour. After Christmas, I spent the new year with old and new friends, in Cornwall. Wow! That is a place I could really spend some time in, not all my life or even to live there, but definitely a few weekends a year or something. It’s so serene.
Soon after I got back from Cornwall, and then Wales, Graeme got in touch and asked me out on a real date. I was so excited!
He came down to London from Newcastle to take me out and from that first official date, we were all in. When it’s long distance, I think you have to decide really early whether you are in or out. It gets expensive to just be sat on the sidelines trying to work out what you want. Within a few weeks we’d worked out a plan to see each other for 2 weekends a month (and it was a bonus if Graeme was ever sent to London for work!).
It was amazing to be fortunate enough to se each other so often but within a few months, all I’d started to do was work, go to the gym and see Graeme. I wasn’t making new friends and the friends I did have in London were miles out so I couldn’t exactly “pop in for a cuppa”. I began living for work and the weekends that I would see Graeme.
I got on well with my housemates and we hung out sometimes but they had their own lives so were not always around. I was left with myself when at home, and I barely knew the girl I was- never mind liked her! Being in my own company was suddenly hard so I made it my mission to always have a distraction.
You might wonder how it came to be that I stopped liking myself so much, the answer is exhaustion. After about 6 months in London, I was already wiped out so never did anything fun by myself. Travelling up to the other end of the country every few weeks didn’t help, but it was worth it. I was also in the first grown up, healthy relationship I’d ever had and when Graeme and I were together, I was high as a kite. This obviously made being alone feel so much worse.
After about a year in London, I started to get quite sick frequently. I would just vomit out of nowhere, my stomach was in pain more often than not and I had terrible heartburn most of the time. All of a sudden I felt like I was always at the doctors trying to figure out what was going wrong. As my workload was just getting heavier, I thought it could potentially be stress but the doctor wanted to check for more physical issues. I didn’t feel unfit at all, I was smashing it at the gym almost daily and had run the race for life a few months earlier with no issues but the doctor said that I needed to be more active. I was eating plenty of healthy foods and enough variety, as proven in numerous tests, my doctor even said that my diet must be amazing, but he still told me I should eat better. I was around 7lbs ‘over weight’ at the time and he was convinced that this was what was making me sick.
This ongoing health investigation lasted for about 2-3 months before it was resolved. By this point, I was so tired. Tired of travelling. Tired of sitting in the doctor’s office so regularly and being poked and prodded. Tired of working all the time and feeling like I had made no progress. Tired of the gym. Tired of commuting. Tired of being tired.
A week or so before my physical health issues were resolved, I was given another big task at work with an impossible deadline. I felt so stressed about this that I sat with my manager and asked for something else to be removed from my workload, the answer was no. I explained how tired I was feeling all the time and said that I was likely to end up signed off completely unless something changed. His advice? Go to the doctors then.
Graeme was amazing and encouraged me to go to the doctor again and tell him what was going on.
So within a week, I was signed off work with depression, although my doctor believed that the issue was all tied into my weight. Even after a camera was put down my throat and it was discovered that I have a Hiatus Hernia.
I was signed off when I didn’t want to be. Again.
I was ill. Again.
I felt like the worlds biggest failure.