When I arrived in Australia I was in a bad place. I’d been through a lot personally the past year. Things not a lot of people know. I had fought a tough battle for a long time. I didn’t realise how much I’d been hiding from my thoughts and feelings. I’d kept them tightly locked up somewhere in the back of my mind. Trying to keep it together. It didn’t always work but it was my coping mechanism, just keep training, just keep on smiling, just keep on acting like everything is okay. Truth be told, I was heartbroken for a long time. I felt close to tears a lot of the time, close to breaking. I cried a couple of times a week. I walked around with a heavy weight on my chest constantly. I caught myself panicking at times, having to stop and take deep breaths to avoid having a meltdown. I couldn’t open that door, not in the middle of the street or in the gym or anywhere else. I didn’t want people to ask questions (yet a lot of friends around me knew things weren’t right and asked). It was tough but I don’t regret what I’ve been through. It had to be done and now I’m here.
One massive realisation I’ve had since stepping out of my situation in Glasgow was how I completely almost stopped listening to music when I was alone. My walks used to be powered by music, my time at home as well but instead I turned to podcasts. Podcasts were my way to escape my thoughts. Instead I could focus on someone else’s life, thoughts and conversations. They saved me from thinking. They saved me from reflections or overanalysing what I was going through. I’m an expert at overthinking things and worrying. I listened to so many podcasts just for the sake of listening. I just needed something to quieten my thoughts and distract me from that heavy weight on my chest. I needed an escape from my life and the situation I was in. They helped me live in denial and get through the day.
As soon as I put on music the thoughts went all over the place. It was scary. I couldn’t stop it. It was just me, the texts, the melody and my thoughts. There was nowhere to hide. Music made me feel and I couldn’t bare to face what it made me feel. I felt like it would break me. There were some days I would allow it and everything would pour out of me. There was one weekend I remember a while back where I spent a full day on the sofa crying just listening to Ed Sheeran on repeat. It was like a cleanse. Then once that was done, it closed the door again and moved on. Goodness it sounds so dramatic when I’m typing it now but it was the truth. The truth I didn’t want to share with anyone because I know what it would sound like. Deep down inside I knew this wasn’t sustainable. This wasn’t healthy anymore. We want to be there for people but for how long? To what extent do you want to sacrifice your own sanity and wellbeing? A big learning for me was you can’t fight someone else’s battle for them. It’s not me who’s not enough, it’s just not my battle to be fought.
Going to Australia was not only a dream of mine for so long but it was a way out of the situation. I needed to go. I didn’t have a job and I was so down I didn’t even realise how bad it was. I needed change. I didn’t realise then how much I needed a new spark. Australia has been that. It was going to change everything, me going away it would give space to find our way back to one another. To the couple we used to be but it didn’t end up being that way in the end. I realised there was no way back. For me there was only forward and I needed to do it on my own. I found people who made me feel amazing and realised I’ll be more than okay. It’s funny how you meet certain people and it feels like you’ve known them forever. You click from the first conversation. I realised I’m not actually going to be on my own because I’ve found them and with the strength I gained mentally from this new place, I knew I’d be okay.
After only a couple of weeks or so here I for the first time during a walk was listening to a podcast and I found it distracting. I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying. I couldn’t understand why, I’d never experienced this before the entire time I’d been listening to them. Then I realised, it was my thoughts. I was thinking and enjoying my thoughts. They were light and happy. They weren’t heavy or making me feel anxious as before. I actually welcomed them and wanted to listen to them. I paused the podcast and for the first time in a while on a walk I put on a Spotify playlist and I loved it. It felt so good to hear a voice singing along to a melody and how it made me feel. I felt again and it wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t painful. I actually smiled and looked over the sea and I felt gratitude and happiness. I know a lot of the pain I’d been carrying around was not my own but someone else’s and once that was gone I was slowly feeling old Maddie coming back. Don’t get me wrong, other days I’ve cried listening too but it’s been part of the healing process and I’ve welcomed it. It hasn’t been an unstoppable waterfall but a lighter stream, which then ran out.
One day in the gym one of the coaches asked me why I’m always smiling all the time and I realised I was. I was smiling all the time and not because I tried to put a brave face on. It was like old Maddie, old smiley Maddie. I was just so happy to be there. I had come far in such a short period of time.
I wake up now feeling light. Not every day is easy but I feel excited and music has never sounded better. Every day here is a new opportunity for me. I’m happy for every moment I have with my new friends and being here. I’m not saying it’s a dance on roses all the time and I’ve still got things to process but I feel like I’m on track for the first time in a while. I’ve got so many exciting things happening and everything I had dreamed of for Australia, I’m living it now. I was terrified to go but now I realise it is what saved me. I couldn’t have done it without all my supportive family and friends. Thank you for supporting me through one of the most trialling years for me ever. I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you more than you’ll ever know.
They pushed me to go. They cheered me on when I booked my flights and made sure I did it. Probably because they could see I needed it. Thank you for seeing I needed change and helping me to make the move. Even though it meant me going far away. I miss them all every day. I really do but right now Australia is where I want and need to be.
I’m happy to say I wrote this entire blog post listening to music! Florence + The Machine’s song Patricia is a new favourite! Oh music old friend, it’s nice to enjoy you again.