I apologise for the lack of scoliosis related blog post, but I’m feeling inspired so I wanted to write it all down. This weekend, it marks exactly that I took part in the amazing trek along the Great Wall of China, which I did to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.
This was a life changing experience and one I will never forget. But it’s what happened when I got back from that trip that I’ve spent the last 12 months getting over. When I got back from my trek, a year ago this weekend, my partner of 13 years told me he wasn’t happy, he didn’t love me anymore and didn’t want to be in our relationship anymore.
Looking back, for the last couple of years of that relationship, I wasn’t exactly “happy.” I mean, we didn’t really argue or anything like that, but he was very distant and he never wanted to do anything together. We lived together but we led very separate lives. As I didn’t know any different, at the time I thought that was normal, but obviously it wasn’t. This led to me doing my own thing, I started doing more running, spending more time at the gym and doing more things with my friends. I started travelling more with friends and by myself (hence the China trip) as he just wasn’t interested. If I did suggest a holiday, or doing anything together really, it felt like it was a chore for him. So I guess I was pretty much living like I was single, while being in that relationship.
But despite all this, I still loved and cared for him and at the time, it was a huge shock that he felt that way. After 13 years with someone, it’s so hard to imagine life without them and I remember begging him to change his mind.
The year that followed has been a tough one, full of ups and downs. For the first time, I was on my own and I had to deal with that. Even though we had drifted apart towards the end, I was still used to always having someone there. For example, it was the little things where I missed him like going food shopping, cooking, etc. I hadn’t really done those things on my own for a long time, probably since I was at University 10 years ago. Suddenly I felt very empty and lonely. I couldn’t bring myself to cook a meal, as it made me feel so sad cooking for myself. I didn’t like going food shopping, as just walking round the supermarket by myself made me feel depressed and lonely, as we always used to go together.
The first few months were made harder due to the fact that I was still living in the flat we shared, by myself, until I could find another place to move to. So I had constant reminders of him and our relationship everywhere. I won’t lie, I had a difficult 3 months or so after it happened. I didn’t eat properly or look after myself and I drank quite a lot.
It was weird as I knew deep down it was for the best and part of me was happy, as I hadn’t been happy for a long time, but then another part of me felt so sad that someone that had been in my life for so long was suddenly gone. I also had to deal with how to be alone for the first time since I was a teenager.
Fast forward to a year later and I honestly cannot believe how far I have come, or how much has changed in my life, for the better.
I have my own flat now and have been living here for almost 12 months in December. When I first moved in I found it exciting but quite hard. I used to hate being alone in my flat, especially in the evenings and at weekends.
For the first half of this year, I crammed my weekends with stuff so that I wouldn’t really have time to mope about and feel sorry for myself. I reconnected with friends that I didn’t see that often when I was in my relationship and we did lots of fun things, nights out, weekends away etc.
I will be forever grateful for my friends during this time as they really did save my life. Another thing I did which I’m really proud of, is that I joined a running club. This is probably the best thing I did this year and through it I have met so many amazing people and made some good friends. I used to run a lot on my own, but now I have lots of people I can message when I fancy a run. It also means that I don’t need to go to running events on my own anymore because whatever running event I take part in, there will always be somebody else at the run club taking part as well that I can meet up with or get a lift with.
That’s another thing I found so hard when I was suddenly on my own – getting lifts and things like that. He would pretty much always take me to and pick me up from places which meant I lost my confidence big time when it came to driving myself around. This past year, I have had to drive myself places as I’ve had no choice, so now I’m much more confident and happy driving myself around than I was a year ago. I’m also perfectly happy and confident going shopping on my own, and cooking for myself and I think these small things are actually big milestones.
I know this is a random post but it’s been a year now I was sat here, alone in my flat last night, and you know what. I actually felt happy. It struck me that I was happy being on my own, in my own flat, doing my thing. I don’t feel lonely or sorry for myself anymore, I’m not trying to fill a void with the things I’m doing. It’s taken me a year to feel like this but I’m so grateful and very proud of myself for getting to this point.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not alone, alone. I have some amazing friends and family and I have recently started seeing somebody new. But the point is, one year on, I am much more confident in myself and whilst I love spending time with the people I love, I’m also perfectly happy in my own company and doing things by myself.
It sounds cheesy but I feel like this year I really have “found myself” again, as I think it’s easy and quite common to lose who you are when you are in an unhappy, long term relationship. The new relationships I have formed this year, are all with people who are similar to me, with similar interests and outlooks on life, people who actually want to live their life and go out and do things.
They say you should surround yourself with those on the same mission as you and that, for me, is so important for my happiness and why I feel this year has been so great overall. I feel like I have finally got the right people around me and I have done more this year than I did in the last few years of my previous relationship. This includes lots of 10K running events, two half marathons and a Tough Mudder.
12 months on, I finally feel alive again.
I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.