I’m chilling in my living room, stretched out across the loveseat with a blanket cocooning me and a book propped in front of my face. Beyond the book, the curtain on my window (which takes up almost the entire wall) is pulled all the way up, and the sun illuminates the entire apartment. From the fourth floor, my view is mostly the soft blue sky tiger striped with clouds and the brown roofs of smaller houses and November colored treetops stretching as far back as the horizon. I drop my book to my lap, gaze out the window and think about how blessed I am to be here, how blessed I am to no longer be where I was before.
My apartment back in Philly was a sunless room haunted by the ghost of my suicide attempt from the previous summer. A place with muddled energy as new roommates shuffled in before the negative energy of the old ones had been aired out. Not to mention that most months I had to choose between paying rent and buying groceries. I was so emotionally sick there, I couldn’t even wash dishes without vomiting. I spent the last few months of my lease sleeping on the floor in one of the unrented rooms. Mentally and emotionally, I couldn’t afford to stay there while financially, I couldn’t afford to leave. My only other option was to move back into my childhood home, which wasn’t any better.
I had reached one of the lowest, most dangerous points in my depression during this time and, while my living situation wasn’t the cause of it, it definitely didn’t help. Someone who is already drowning shouldn’t stay somewhere that pulls them deeper into the water. What I needed, at the very least, was to be able to come home and feel safe, comfortable, and at peace. Unfortunately, I was on the heels of graduating college and, with no full time job lined up, peace was a luxury I could not afford. The threat of homelessness was becoming realer and realer until finally I came across a job posting that offered free housing. The job was a service year at a charter school in Wilmington, DE. While I had no interest in working in education or leaving Philly, I quickly decided that this might be exactly what I needed to do to save myself.
In many ways, moving to Delaware was like going to rehab. I feel like I pressed pause on my life, like I took a break to heal and at the end of my year of service, I’ll really be ready to start living. As I’m sitting here, looking out this window and reflecting on where I was versus where I’m at now, I recall a friend asking me if I’m happier here. No, I’m not happy here. Happiness is not the point. Happiness is not the antithesis of depression and Delaware is no cure. What I am is, healthier. I’m recovering. I’m washing dishes again and sleeping in a bed and learning how it feels to look forward to going home. I’m preparing myself for the happiness that awaits me when I return to Philadelphia with the strength to truly begin my life.
Come join me on my journey home...