In three weeks time, I’ll be back in the UK. I’m staying with my mum from Friday to Monday, then I’m going to be staying with my friend’s friend in Stevenage (a town in Hertfordshire about 30 minutes north of London) for a month to see if it can work out as a more permanent living arrangement in order for me to move back there for the third time in 3 years. My mum is coming with me to meet the lady for the first time, which will certainly help my anxiety, although I’m not sure if she’s doing so because she just wants to see where I’ll be living to be nosy. Either way, I hope that she will ask questions that I’ll either be too afraid to ask or will forget to ask, especially given my track record of going from one bad living situation to the next.
Familiarity in my surroundings is important to me and I don’t adapt to change as quickly as most people. On the plus side, I’ve stayed in Stevenage before, with my friend when she was my carer under the NHS’s ‘host family’ scheme (for people deemed to be not quite sick enough to be admitted to inpatient, but unable to cope in the community). We got along pretty well and in many respects, it was like living with my mother, but without the constant pressure of having to move out. I’m relatively familiar with the town, also having grown up in Luton, which isn’t far from there. I know some of the people who I went to a mental health group with in 2015 last time I was there and the town is on the East Coast Mainline, which makes it easy to get to my mum’s or London. The town is safe (extremely safe compared to Rochester) and there will be plenty of places for me to ride my bike(s). Also, I get the impression that this won’t just be a roommate type situation, but that the lady seems to be willing to go places with me, as does my friend. Also, the lady is over 60 and it’s unlikely I’ll run into the same (major) problems and stresses I’ve had living with people in their 20’s that I’ve been documenting for the last 7 months.
What I’m worried about is the fact that even though care that I receive here is not what it was two years ago, I will no longer have weekly therapy or a care manager to advocate for me. This could be particularly problematic if I run into future issues with housing, homelessness, complicated forms, employment or any kind of ‘crisis’ happens that I’m unable to cope with.. In fact, I know the NHS is so strained that I probably won’t get to see a therapist for a very long time, perhaps over a year But the trade-off could be that I’ll have somewhat of a social network there and I’ll be living in a place where I generally feel safer and less likely to be harassed or discriminated against. I won’t have the fear of deportation hanging over my head because I’m a British citizen.. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, I do worry about Brexit though and what that will mean for the UK in terms of stability, economic collapse, social unrest and healthcare. Part of the reason why I left in the first place was because of Brexit, but I realized that Trump and those who support him pose far more of a threat to me than Brexit, as a transgender woman, a legal immigrant and someone struggling with mental illness.
I won’t be able to ship the two bikes that I want to keep until I actually move back there, which means that I’ll be without them for the month that I’m there. I realize that I could just buy a bike in the UK, but I don’t want to go through that stress again and I’m sentimentally attached to the bikes that I have. Having them with me would have helped with my need for familiarity and they help motivate me to go out without the fear of having to use public transport or having to endure foot pain and worn shoes from walking, due to problems with my feet and poor coordination from dyspraxia.
In short, I hope that at the very least, I can get a few months worth of borrowed time in which I can feel safe and secure in my own home and in my surroundings. I can’t look beyond that, because I have no hope for the long-term future regardless of where I live. But I can’t stay here in Rochester or the United States anymore for multiple reasons. I don’t belong in either part of segregated Rochester and I’ve found that trying to be positive about the place hasn’t helped at all and if anything has just kept me here for longer than I should have been and has exposed me to more trauma and loss of faith in humanity, as I’ve become socially isolated.
If this doesn’t work out, I’ll be gone before the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc) subject me to further torment and loneliness.