Some of you have been reading my blog for a while, so you might know what kind of stress I’ve been through the last year or so. For those who haven’t, here’s a brief rundown.
In 2012 I was living in Stoke-on-Trent, all my friends had moved away and my depression was as bad as it had ever been. My mum invited me to move back to hers in Basingstoke for a few months while we found me my own place in Basingstoke. That kinda ended up with me living there for three years. And the last year was not good. There was a lot of drama with my sister, and a lot of violence and unlawful activity, and my depression got worse and worse. I was starting to have intrusive thoughts, and very nearly ended up in an institution. After a particularly violent incident, I moved into a YMCA style residential hostel. And although it wasn’t perfect, it was better. Best of all, my assigned Support Worker there helped me sort out my place on the Home Bid council/housing association list.
I mentioned in this blog that I was in the process of moving out. And that was kind of true. At the end of June, I was the 2nd place on two different properties of the Basingstoke Council Home Bid system. The morning after the bidding period ended, I got a phone call from a housing association offering me a ground floor flat. I was ecstatic! They had to wait to get the keys back from the previous tenant and they’d get back to me in two weeks. No problem. This was still brilliant news. I could wait a little bit.
When the keys were handed back though, there needed to be maintenance on the property. Okay, I could wait a bit longer, and I was going to have my viewing that week, so I could start planning. Except that on the morning of the viewing I had a message informing me that there had been a leak, and that the viewing had been cancelled. They would get back to me.
They didn’t get back to me for several days and I was going completely bananas. I didn’t mind waiting, but not knowing anything was driving me absolutely insane. I couldn’t plan where I would put anything, I couldn’t figure out what I needed to buy. My depression was starting to play up again. I was teetering on the edge of a big episode.
I phoned the housing association and asked for some information. I informed them of my depression and anxiety and that not knowing anything wasn’t helping. I was told that they’d try to keep me in the loop. A few days later I had a phone call from a nice lady asking me for two dates that I’d be free to have a viewing, and that she was going to give those dates to the maintenance team and tell them that they HAD to have the place fit for viewing at one of those dates.
I had my viewing on Monday 3rd August, and the place was lovely. There was a slight miscommunication though, and when I hadn’t heard anything by the Wednesday, I was worried. I called them up, only to find out that they’d marked me down as a refusal – meaning I’d turned down the property. Curse the miscommunication! I had to wait a whole day to find out if they’d already offered the flat to someone else. I was so anxious. But on Thursday 6th I got another phone call, asking me if I could pick up the keys on Friday!
The next few days were highly hectic. There was a lot to organise, in not a lot of time. I revelled in it, of course. We weren’t able to get all my stuff from Mum’s until the following weekend, so for a few days I lived in the flat with two armchairs and a sofa from the local Community Furniture Project. Oh dear lord, the sofa!
On Friday, after we picked up the keys, Mum and I went next door to the Community Furniture Project and I picked out a lovely three piece suite, as well as a nice sturdy bed frame. Monday morning I’m at the flat nice and early – earlier than planned because (Chaos Incident 1) the gas man who was due at some point that day decided to send me a text at 7.59 am telling me they were on the way, whilst I was sleeping at Mum’s because I had no bed yet. Chaos Incident 2: The boiler had a leaky seal. Chaos Incident 3: I sat down the wrong way on my tiled floor and smashed my knee really badly.
And then my lovely new furniture arrived. The armchairs barely squeezed through the doors, but they got in and they are very comfy. The bed was in pieces and needed putting together, which was frustrating, but okay. Chaos Incident 3: The sofa did not fit through the door at all. It had too high a back.
So the sofa went back, and later that day I went and picked a different one – keeping my lovely armchairs though. (Here’s Gracie demonstrating how comfy they are a few days ago when I dog-sat)
Chaos Incident 4: The second sofa was too long. At this point I was getting the urge to smack my head against the wall. But I went back and looked for another one. Unfortunately, I was running out of choices. There were three sofas that were both low backed enough and short enough. One was already sold, and the other two were ugly. I had a walk around the showroom, hoping for another option and found a long pouffe/bench thing. No back, no arms. But cute. And they threw in a couple of very large cushions too.
So I’m sitting there the next morning waiting for the delivery. They were due between 9 and 11am, but by 12 they hadn’t arrived. I waited another half hour, then decided to give them a call. No answer. I called and called and called. And eventually got through to someone. Only to find out (Chaos Incident 5) that I had misheard and they weren’t due to deliver the damned thing until the following day!!! The Saga of the Sofa continued.
But, third time lucky, it arrived, and it fit. I added my body pillow as a back and it might not look standard, but it looks good.
It’s comfy too 🙂
A few days later and I had a packed flat full of my shelves and about ten zillion boxes. Moving day was highly stressful thanks to a highly cantankerous friend/mover. The day probably counts as Chaos Incidents 6-10. But the evening was good. My best friend was over for the night and we sat chatting with a different, less cantankerous friend/mover and eating pizza. Hopefully the first of many good nights with friends and pizza.
Two weeks on, and I have everything unpacked. Technically. I’ve been through all the boxes, and put things in the right place at least. I have many scrapes and bruises (Chaos Incidents 11-20) because I am a klutz. And I’ve found that I’m missing a few things (Chaos Incidents 21-24). But I’m in my own home again! And I feel about ten stone lighter.
I’ve felt for the last three years like I was in transit. At least three quarters of my possessions were in boxes. I had a brand new set of saucepans that my mum got me for my 30th, new kettle, new plates and stuff, all sitting in boxes waiting to be used. I felt like I had no control over my life. No control over anything. And it was driving me insane. I just wanted to feel comfortable again. I wanted to feel like I had a home. I wanted to feel settled.
It was a really long struggle, and I had many many moments where I thought I couldn’t make it. But I did, and here I am. In my own little flat again, feeling like a grown up again 🙂
I’ve even done a couple of very grown up things. I have home contents insurance, for the first time in my life. And a brand new mattress for the first time too. I’ve got a brand new washing machine coming this week.
But my inner child is definitely still apparent. Giant colouring poster on the wall, anyone?
Humorous bathroom sign.
There are many more. Lots of quirky little elements. Lots of elements of ME. Because this is MY place. MY home. I have a home again. And I feel comfortable, and I feel safe. And, for now at least, I feel happy 🙂