It's funny really when I think about it. Although 'funny' in that way where you feel like you might be hysterically laughing to stop yourself from collapsing on a heap in the floor crying.
I never would have thought in a million years that I'd be sat here in 2013 saying I'm in a worse place than I was in 2012.
I know right. How could anything be worse than 2012? Going from being made redundant, to having to move away from my friends and family in Hull, to being unemployed for a few months, to ending up in possibly the most depressing job where I got bullied. I lived in a city where I had no friends, other than The Person, oh and in the middle of it all I had a pretty spectacular meltdown.
2013 was the ultimate in fresh starts. Literally moving on the 1st January to a new place and starting a new job on the 2nd January which I was loving. There were challenges in the form of living in my sister's box room and having The Person live all the way in Preston but I was feeling fairly positive.
So how is it, that 2013 is heading towards a close and I feel worse than ever?
It's as if multiple things have conspired against me that seem determined to try and block my happiness everywhere I turn and, with no potential solution for some of them in sight, I can feel the 'badness' (those looming, crushing feelings of awfulness that seem to always be hovering over me in the background but I manage to keep at bay) starting to begin it's slow and painful creep over my shoulders.
For a start, the place I live in is tiny. I don't really know how to stress that word enough. The main 'town' is literally a street. A small street. We have one high street clothes store which is about the size of my living room. Luckily I'm not that interested in clothes shopping because that may have pushed me over the edge a long time ago. The fact is that there is just nothing to do here. Basically once you've visited the castle you're kind of out of things to do.
Frustratingly there's a whole host of things to do pretty much on my doorstep. I'm not a million miles away from some decent cities - Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, heck even Birmingham isn't that far away. There's the National Forest practically tapping at my window and National Trust properties galore. The problem? Absolutely none of them are accessible if you don't have a car.
Welcome to the sticks people, where public transport is non-existent and you are left with a situation where visiting Pets at Home and Wickes is the highlight of your weekend.
I have a huge bugbear about people with cars not understanding what life is like without one. I would love for them to come here for a week and be faced with constantly having to say "I'd love to, but I can't get there." or "I'd love it, but could you give me a lift?" Nothing like being 30 and not being able to independently get anywhere to make you feel good about yourself. The closest town I could get to is Burton, which takes 45 minutes on a bus, despite being a 25 minute car drive away and I think I can get to Leicester, although it appears to take 1.5 hours and involve a convoluted and difficult bus journey where you may have to get off a bus but also might not have to - I've been too scared to try it in case I just end up on a bus for the rest of my week.
I do technically have access to a car in the form of my sister's tank but to borrow that means a mile and half walk to her house (and back home again after dropping the car off) and actually, funnily enough, she needs to use her car as well. I'm probably not great at asking for it when I need it because, again, nothing like not being able to independently travel anywhere etc etc.
Secondly, I am 30 and it is well known that the older you get, the harder it is to make friends. I have been here a year and still don't have anyone I can call a friend. Don't get me wrong, I get on with lots of people at work. Lots of people - lots of chatting, lots of laughs - but they are restricted to 9-5. There has been nothing which has materialised into an outside of work friendship. Actually a lot of that is again down to location - most people don't live in this town, but live in other places and commute in, so they're not about to meet up or do anything with. Those people that do live here have lived here all their lives and are the ultimate in small town cliques - no matter how well you get on with them in work, it's not going to translate to an offer of a night out.
I am an extrovert in the true sense of the word. I need people around me to gain my energy. My spark comes from talking to people and interacting with people. I'm not like introverts, who see social interaction as something that drains them - it's honestly my life force.* Me without friends is just not pleasant. And on top of not making friends here, I have slowly but ever so surely drifted away from my friends back home. It happens, people get boyfriends, you don't live there any more, life moves on and leaves you stranded behind it. But it means I have no-one to talk to about the crushing loneliness I'm experiencing here.
All of the above has added up to put pressure on my relationship, and whilst I don't really want to go into that on here (at the moment) things have not been great between us and we are needing to do some emergency repair work. Which is actually difficult when you have nowhere to go because you have no transport (begin that loop again.)
Which brings us to wok. And again without wanting to go into that too much - things have not been great there. My role has changed due to unavoidable circumstances and whilst I appreciate that a new role has been found for me it's not a) what I wanted to do and b) I'm receiving absolutely no guidance at all on how to do it. It's frustrating and just really really gutting because I'd finally found something that I wanted to do and thought I was doing well at.
So there you have it. The holy trifecta of work, relationship and friends has slowly but steadily crumbled over the past few months, leaving me feeling like I'm hanging over a precipice. One from which I have no escape because there isn't a bloody bus back from said precipice.
Last year, I may have been unemployed and without friends but I lived in a city. There was plenty to do and plenty to explore and there were other places that were on our doorstep that we could get to because there were public transport links. Living here is like experiencing cabin fever on a major scale and feeling as though the other shoe is about to drop...
*For a cartoon which incredibly cleverly and easily explains the difference between introverted and extroverted people please see this How to interact with the introverted cartoon - it will honestly help you you understand the differences between the two.