Looking for the Positives in the Storm.

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a rather unique year.  You don’t need me to re-cap everything and I’m certainly not going to dwell on the negative stuff, instead I want to try and start the new year with a degree of optimism.

I know some of you may not feel very optimistic and have good reason to struggle to see any light at the end of the tunnel.  Trust me, it has taken a lot for me to get writing again, let alone write an ‘optimistic’ blog, considering my experiences of the last 5 months, but I hope this story may help.

Back in August we got a call from our lettings agent, telling us that our Landlord was selling the house and therefore terminating the tenancy.

My initial reaction was rather spectacular, I basically fell apart.

For me the house was my safe place, the walls of bricks and mortar that kept the outside world at bay; it felt like a rug had been pulled out from under me, and I was free falling into the abyss.

We couldn’t believe what was happening; moving to a new house is stressful enough as it is, but to have to do it during the worst pandemic the world has seen was just crazy.  We would have to let strangers into our home, strangers who could be bringing the virus with them; it all seemed so unfair and scary.

I was at a complete loss, it’s one of the reasons why I haven’t written a blog for such a long time, I just couldn’t get my head to focus on anything.  I was in the middle of my Camino de Santiago challenge, so I focused on that, I was running a half marathon every other day, and wanted to run every day, but had to stop myself, it pretty much became an obsession, I had to get out of the house as I no long saw it as my safe space.  Some of the days when I wasn’t running, I’d just sit in the sitting room with the blinds down and watch TV in the darkness.

It felt like the end of the world.  One morning the sales agent knocked on our door and said she had someone who wanted to see the house and could we arrange a time.  About an hour or so after that I had a counselling session, Vicki (my counsellor) asked me how I was doing, I immediately broke down and fell into a panic attack.

That panic attack was probably one of the most surreal ones that I have experienced.  One of my recurring symptoms during a panic attack is that I can’t speak.

Poor Vicki was trying to figure out what was going on with me, but without being able to see me it was an almost impossible task.  It didn’t take her long to guess what was happening.  In the end, she called Kim and the emergency services, and Paramedics were soon knocking on the door.

It was surreal because I was fully aware of what was going on around me, I could hear everything Vicki was saying, but I just couldn’t react, I was paralysed.  I knew Kim was in the next room, but I couldn’t call out to her; my mind was screaming for help, but the words wouldn’t come, I wanted to throw something at the wall to try and attract Kim’s attention, but I couldn’t move!

I hadn’t had a panic attack like that for quite a while, so I guess we had let our guard down a bit.  It was unsettling and we knew that we were in for a bit of a rough ride; I was struggling to see how I would cope.

Despite the panic and the despair, there were positives things happening, things that I didn’t notice at the time because of the storm raging in my mind. 

So, what were the positives to moving house during a pandemic?

Normally, you just find another house and you simply move, right?  For us, there were a number of things that made this challenging; the first was referencing (always harder when you’re self-employed), and second was finding a Landlord that would allow pets (much harder thanks to the Governments recent changes to tenant fees!).

In a year where people are questioning what ‘normal’ is anyway, another option seemed to be trying to enter the scene, an option we had never thought of before, one that now makes us believe that thinking outside the box can have it’s benefits.

Some friends tried to buy the house so that we could stay and be their tenants (unfortunately their offer was too low).  A neighbour asked if we knew anyone who could buy the house and keep us on.  Another friend phoned us and said that a friend of hers had sold a business and was looking for an investment opportunity, she had posed the idea to her friend of buying the house and having us as tenants, and her friend thought it was a pretty good idea too.  Could all this mean we could stay?

This is a long story, so I’ll cut to the chase; the friend of the friend wasn’t able to buy the house we were in because someone came in with an offer way over the asking price, however she still liked the idea, so we found a house that we all liked, she bought it, and here we are now…..

It sounds very simple, maybe even ‘lucky’ however it was anything but straight forward.  It seemed so left field, and everything was out of our hands, we were completely at the mercy of other people, and that was difficult to cope with.  We had to stay in the old house past the tenancy end date, which meant our old Landlord could have taken us to court (thankfully he didn’t).

In the end it worked out for the better, even though at times things seemed hopeless.  Kim is a strong believer of visualisation and asking for help and guidance from the Universe and the angels, and she went to work on asking for help on the house situation.  I strongly believe that the work she did on this paid off. 

“I let go of my need to control and allow the universe to do her thing.”

Gabrielle Bernstein

She asked for “this (the old house), or something better”, and I believe we have landed into something better with a bit of help from the Universe.

Events seemed to happen that were pushing us to this end goal; we had found a rental property but someone offered way over the asking price; our new Landlord was outbid by someone offering way over the asking price (we’re talking £25,000 over) on our old house; we found 6 houses for sale that had no chain (our new Landlord was a cash buyer) and by the time we were able to see them only two were left; after our Landlord’s offer was accepted on the new house, the big offer on the old house fell through but none of us felt it was right to pull out and let the owners of the new house down.

Everything went pretty smoothly with the purchase of the new house, the previous owners were moving to Spain so were happy to leave light fittings, curtains and some furniture we liked (one item being a day bed that Kim had wanted to buy when we had moved into the old house, but we couldn’t afford it; the previous owners also left a random ornament in the sitting room, and it is identical to one Kim’s mum had…..). 

It all feels too much to be coincidence or ‘luck’; I’m talking some pretty big signs that this was meant to be.

The Internet at the old house started playing up, to the point where only one of us could be online at any one time, especially when Kim was on a Zoom call.  The new house?  Super duper Internet, almost three times as fast….

House moving aside; despite all the stress I managed to create a talk about anxiety called ‘Anxiety & The Brain’ where I share some of the scientific knowledge I have learnt about anxiety, how it works and how to try and manage it.  

As some of you know, I am desperate to put my experience to good use, and even earn money from it where I can; I’ve hit so may brick walls, but I somehow keep picking myself up, dusting myself off (after a period of depression) and get going again; I managed to do it again, this time through complete turmoil…..

Yes, I had a lot of bad days, but I managed to do all this; we even moved all our belongings (I realised that collecting books is a weighty hobby…) on our own, with help from some removal guys who did the big, heavy bits of furniture.

I had so many fears about the new house; what would the neighbours be like, would Leo settle? I had so many sleepless nights about so many things.

As Kim and Vicki pointed out, I did it; I battled through all the fear, anxiety, depression and have come out the other side, to a place where I am starting to feel safe again, to write again, and to enter the new year with a mild sense of optimism, and dare I say, excitement?

I’ll tell you a bit about my hopes and dreams for the new year in another blog, for now, if you are struggling, I just want you to try and see the light if you can; to keep going, even when it feels hopeless and bloody impossible.  Keep an eye out for the unconventional, the little things that may be guiding you to something different, something better.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be open to any possibility.

I wish the best for all of you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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