There is a blog post or article about every facet of moving. From helping pack up a house by a weekly countdown to Feng Shui-ing a new closet. If you’ve ever moved, you’re well aware how stressful the whole experience is and there are plenty of articles that talks about the stresses of moving. However, it’s not the actual anxiety of moving I’m talking about. It’s your wellbeing after you’ve plopped yourself down in your new place.
I didn’t know how to start this post as I’m pretty bad when it comes to talking about myself, especially when it’s personal, in-my-mind processes. However, for my own catharsis and what I hope will help someone else out there, I’m doing it.
As you all know now, I have moved into my new place after being in the previous one for a year. While the other place was beautiful and our on-site managers were perfect, it was just too far away for personal and professional endeavours. It was also two storeys and I was really bloody loathing stairs. Like, loathing them. So, I’ve moved to an area in between two cities – one being my hometown- and it’s geographically better for me.. hopefully.
A Homebody With A House, But Without A Home
Moving out of a home into a new place isn’t what affected me. I am a fiercely independent person that loves traveling, going to movies and even walking around shops solo. It wasn’t the responsibility either. I have paid my own bills since I starting having bills as a teen and while I need some help with getting around town, I always repay the gesture.
After my third breakdown phone call to my mum, it was obvious that my house wasn’t a home. Yeah, yeah, you have to settle into a place. I had been there for two months yet I was a wreck. My anxiety was the worst it had been for years, my depression was a nice shade of Unstable Blue. I felt like I couldn’t move around the place for fear of damaging something or wanting to organise things around for the 1000th time. Having an inspection every three months was daunting. I’m very particular and clean as it is, but now my cleanliness has to be inspected? Talk about warp speed to obsessive cleaning and preparedness.
I’d go on internal (and many times, external) rants about carpet; why the need for so much carpet in a place? It doesn’t exactly soundproof and it’s a nightmare to keep clean and maintained! I am a foreigner to carpets and I hate it. As much as I hate stairs.
It took around four months for me to finally get my bearings. Four. Months. I tried everything I could to keep myself busy (I restarted this blog in that time). I was a silently screaming kettle for four damn months and only a month or two after that, my sister was playing with the idea of moving, then we moved yet again!
The place I’m in right now still makes me anxious and I haven’t had a decent sleep, which really throws me off and keeps me on edge. Right now, I just keep hoping that it doesn’t take me as long to get settled, since the paperwork and ‘nitty gritty’ have been so meticulous and overwhelming.
One thing was bugging me, though; was anyone writing about this? I hadn’t heard any of my friends going through anything close to what I was and my sister seemed to be cruising through all of these adjustments.
I’m Here All Alooooone, There’s No One Here Beside Meeeeee
Turns out I wasn’t alone! In fact, this displacement is quite a common issue that people who relocate only short distances don’t want to talk this about because so much attention is put upon moving longer distances, like interstate or to a new country.
It also didn’t surprise me that people with mental illness can find this incredibly challenging, particularly people with any form of anxiety or have a rigidity to change, who cherish their home like a sanctuary and need their sanctuary to be an established, safe area.
Well, I am one of those people. I am home most of my time and I cherish my retreat. It’s a bit of physical landscape where I can rest my body but mostly my mind. I managed to get through my working visa overseas because without my stuff I felt like I was just visiting (yes, even a year after being there, I still felt like a visitor that would be going home at any time). So establishing a home psychically and upstairs in my headspace was difficult. Really difficult. It’s more difficult though when no one completely understands how you feel or what you’re going through.
Which leads me back to why I wrote this!
It’s very common. If you’re going through it, you’re not alone. If you’ve never moved house or even if you’ve moved 1000 times and think you will be fine, know that if it happens in the future, it’s fine. You’ll get to that comfortable place where you can just lay down in any room and feel a sigh of relief, which is where I finally am in my new place- and look, I’ve been able to finish off this post too!
How To Help Yourself (Or Others) In The Transition
1. Recognise that what you’re feeling will pass. It might take a week, a month or even a year, but it will pass.
2. DO NOT purchase all brand-spankin’ new things if you can. Instead keep as much of what you already have as possible so your home feels more like yours, decreasing the shock value and saving some money.
3. Give yourself enough time exploring every room, even if it’s your hallway. It might sound weird to just sit or stand there and look around, but it helps your mind recognise it as your own area.
4. Recognise the little things, like figuring out what you can’t and can do (e.g. putting nails in the wall) can overwhelm you, especially if it’s really different from the last place you were in. The restriction (and sometimes the freedom) can put your mind in overdrive. In my new place, we have to inform the real estate who inform the owners of everything we put on the wall then wait for their approval. Everything. It stressed me out for two days before I just realised I’ll just be extra conscious of where I want to put everything!