February 17th 2018.
Nearly two months since I moved to Dublin. How is it people ask. Do you like it yet? Are you happy yet? A feeling of nausea comes over me. Do I lie and pretend, or do I know this person well enough to be honest. After getting quite a lot of ‘negative feedback’ from my last article, when I opened up about my struggles about moving home I’m cautious about who I open up to. I’ve realised that I am living in a society where being positive is a new form of moral correctness. Society finds it difficult to hear someone’s distress and real life experiences and emotions. People jump in with solutions and ways to get better and things to be grateful for. It seems rare that people are available to listen and sit with someone’s adversity.
At the age of nine I got my first diary and started to write. Up until recently I wrote like no one was reading. I wrote truthfully about how I was feeling .I will retract back to that style of writing. The most important thing for me is to face the emotions I am experiencing and not to write what I think people want to hear or trying to always put a positive spin on things. So this piece is derived from my feelings journal that I started to write in, since moving to Dublin.
Day four in my new job. I have nearly keeled over with feelings of anxiety and sadness this week. I wake up feeling sick to my stomach. On the bus to work I’m trying to be grateful. I’m trying to appreciate my new surroundings; but this city seems overwhelming unfamiliar to me. It’s dark, its cold and there is mould in my old over priced rental. I’ve barley slept. I wake up several times during the night. Unsure if my duvet is actually damp or just solid cold. I love to cook but I’d rather eat out than cook in this kitchen. I didn’t want to move to this city and here I am. It was either this or return back to Australia. I can’t get work any where else in Ireland. The dream of living on the west of Ireland is long gone. I wanted my own place, but I cannot afford it. I sit in work staring blankly at my colleagues that I don’t know yet. I am a shadow of my usual chatty self. This is when I begin to mourn my life and job in Sydney. Starting all over again in a new job and not having a clue, I just want to go back to my old job where I knew everyone and I knew what I was doing.
A few days after starting the job I head to Budapest with some close friends for the Christmas Markets. On the flight home I cry the whole way. I don’t want to go back to my life in Dublin . That was scary. I haven’t felt this way in a really really long time.
Christmas at home was truely special. It reminded my of why I moved home, the importance of family and the true magic of Christmas. For those two weeks I had a break from the inner turmoil. The drive back to Dublin after Christmas fills me with fear, anxiety and sadness.
In January I decide it’s time for me to see a counsellor. It’s something I’ve done over the years and I always gain so much from. I love self- development and exploring new things about myself. The therapist in the first session says something powerful that really resonated with me. ‘Elaine it seems you didn’t just come home to Ireland, you came home to yourself’. Once the good job, the money, the sunshine was stripped away from you, you were just left with yourself’. It dawned on me that I have for potentially years been running away from my emotions instead of truly sitting and dealing with them. Living in Sydney on decent money allowed me to have a fantastic lifestyle, travel the world, eat out and have an extravagant lifestyle. I was so engaged in all of these pleasurable, amazing activities that it was easy to ignore my inner world. A world that has been so exposed the last few months.
These emotions that I was experiencing truly needed to be felt and dealt with. I had to get rid of a timeline and expectation of when I was going to be happy again and just accept that right now and for however long things weren’t great. After Christmas I did. Having went to college, started my career and travelled the world I know that discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life and of true happiness. I know nothing great comes easy.
Moving home to Ireland has been harder than I ever imagined. After I moved into my new house in Dublin and was finally starting to feel back to myself, I was sitting at the kitchen table having my dinner one evening. The kitchen in my new house reminded me a lot of the house I lived in, in Bryon Bay in 2016. A quick wave of realisation came over me. I was reminded of how happy I felt in Byron. I knew no one there but I liked my job, I loved the lifestyle there and Australia to me was familiar. I realised that moving to a small town in the east coast of Australia was easier than the move to a country I was born in and where my family were. It was then I realised, oh wow yes thats why I have been feeling all these intense emotions.
So how do we deal with emotions?
To truely wake up in todays world we need to be ready and willing to feel all aspects of human life and that includes suffering. My greatest periods of growth have been through these adversities. Allowing yourself to truely feel what you are going through in life, acknowledging it and allowing it to pass. Emotions and feelings do come and go but only when we feel them and not suppress them. One must be able to sit and accept every emotion in life not just happiness. When we push our emotions away they get stronger. When we deny them, they take over. Acceptance of these emotions is the cornerstone of resilience and true happiness.
The next time someone tells you they are feeling low or down practice just listening and holding back from giving them ways to make them feel better.
It’s over two months since I wrote this piece and a lot has changed and I can’t wait to share the rest of the Dublin adventures. Xx