In May I was blessed to be able to travel to Europe for three weeks with my mother and sister. While abroad I had a sense of peace that had been missing for some time. The trip felt more than just a vacation; it was an escape I didn’t know I needed. I realized this as an overwhelming sense of dread overcame me as I drove into my neighborhood coming home from the airport. It didn’t take long for the decision to be made: we needed to move.
This decision wasn’t an easy one to make. The house we would be leaving, would be selling, was purchased with the expectation of growing old together in it. However, the house was no longer our home. After a year of harassment and emotional abuse from a neighbor, I no longer felt safe in the house. I felt like a foreigner in my community.
Immediately we began searching for a new home. To the detriment of almost everything else, I became obsessed. I needed out. I needed away from my abuser. I needed to feel safe again.
In July we found a home that was perfect for us. Knowing it had multiple offers I was afraid we would be outbid, and the search would continue. When our realtor called us to tell us we’d won the contract I had to pull the car over because I was so overjoyed. After we signed the closing paperwork, I cried, overwhelmed with hope and relief.
For anyone, moving is most often a chaotic experience. For someone with mental illness, moving can trigger a flood of jarring symptoms. A lack of focus, increased anxiety, feeling out of control, irritability, depression, obsession, lack of motivation, mood swings, mental blocks and irrational fears. I have dealt with all these symptoms and more. I have managed these symptoms while being in constant fear my abuser would interfere or act out again.
These past two months have been a struggle. We shouldn’t have had to move. I shouldn’t have had to endure the abuse and harassment I have. However, I did, and we did. We have a home again, not a house. I feel safe again. And for the first time in two months: I can write.