Sometimes you just need a hug from your mum

by - August 26, 2016

It's been a tough week. I've been crying (a lot) and my poor boyfriend is copping the brunt of my swinging mood.

Moving away from home, from family, friends, a job and a work-life balance that I loved (and worked hard to achieve) was always going to be hard. But the opportunity to start a new chapter and the rest of my life with the man I love was always the only option.

So a little more than 10 months ago I packed up my apartment, quit my job and said goodbye to my family and friends to move 1000km away to a new life. I know thousands of people do the same every week, I know my situation isn't unique but that doesn't mean it hasn't been bloody hard. Harder than I could have ever imagined.

My journey so far has been full of ups and downs but this week, for no reason in particular, I've really struggled. It's a strange juxtaposition - I love being with my fiance and couldn't imagine my life now without him in it but I miss my old life especially the comfort, the way I had everything worked out and I felt as though my life was on track. I guess you could say I'm a feeling a little homesick.

Being in a new city where I still haven't managed to establish a close circle of friends, my fiance is unfortunately the one who has been my (literal) shoulder to cry on. I know it's tough for him. He's the reason I moved and I know at times he takes on the burden of how I feel being partly his fault. It's not but I understand why he feels that way.

Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama's School of Public Health, says homesickness stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security - feelings and qualities usually associated with home.

"You're not literally just missing your house. You're missing what's normal, what is routine, the larger sense of social space, because those are the things that help us survive," Klapow told CNN. He offers another way of approaching homesickness: It's merely an emotion that comes in waves.

"Very few emotions stay with you all the time, they come and they go," he says. "But when it strikes, both children and adults often get caught off guard by it. They think something's terribly wrong. But it's normal and adaptive to feel homesick for some period of time. It's just your emotions and mind telling you you're out of your element."

To combat my current state I've decided to go and visit my family for a couple of days. I know it might not be the smartest solution and that maybe I should just "soldier on" but sometimes you just need a hug from your mum.

I know some of you might think it's a bit of a Band-Aid but it's not like I'm rushing off there whenever I feel a bit down. And what's so wrong with a Band-Aid anyway? The only cure for homesickness is time and while I thought I'd be well over it by now it seems I'm not. So I've decided (with my fiance's blessing) to do something that makes me happy. I know I'll come back refreshed and satisfied that I've been able to spend some time with mum, dad and my sister.

I've also resolved to take some more steps to settle myself in my adopted city. On the advice of a friend who has also recently relocated I downloaded an app called MeetUp and am having breakfast with a couple of girls tomorrow who are looking to connect with other 'childless stepmums'.

I'm sure there'll be more bouts of homesickness but hopefully with each round I'll get a little stronger and know that I'm going to come out the other side OK. I'm very lucky to have a fiance whom I love very much and who is willing to support my on this journey no matter how tough it can be at times. Be assured I truly understand how fortunate that makes me.

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