I haven’t stopped crying since yesterday morning. Sleep brought a brief, sweet, respite, where I was gloriously unaware of reality. I wake, and it all hits me again. 

I wonder if I’m having some sort of mini-breakdown. Or maybe full-on breakdown. What actually classes as a breakdown? 

I don’t cry that often but here I am, seemingly never ending tears drenching my face. They’re not stopping.

I think all the pressures of the last couple of years are coming to the surface. Moving to New Zealand, COVID, not being able to go back to the UK, burnout from a toxic work environment, knowing that I want to do something different, turning 40, being in a relationship, missing friends and family, and future plans.

I’ve spent a long time feeling trapped, the last year especially. Like I’m underwater, held down by an invisible force, slowly running out of oxygen. I can see the sun dancing on the water, but I can’t reach it.

Yesterday was the day I could apply for my residency in New Zealand. This means the ability to live in New Zealand indefinitely. My work visa means I can only work for certain employers, in certain roles, full time, earning a certain amount of money. My first visa was tied to Mike, and our relationship. I’ve spent my entire time in New Zealand tied to something, or someone. I’m not able to freelance, work part time, study, buy a house or pay into a pension. I can’t just leave a job if I decide I want to. I can’t take time off if I need it. I can’t try something different. I can’t get back into the country if I leave because I’m not a resident. 

So residency means I can breathe. I can stop drowning. I can get to the surface and feel the sun on my face and the air in my lungs.  I can have choices, options and possibilities. Freedom. Glorious freedom. I’ve been counting down the days for months. I have all my paperwork ready to send off.

Only I can’t. We’re in Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand which means everything is closed. I can’t send my paperwork off because the post shop is shut, and Immigration can’t receive it because their offices are closed. So I have to wait. Auckland is likely to be in lockdown for at least another two weeks. So it could be weeks.

I feel like my fingertips were breaking the surface of the water, my lungs about to explode but knowing that soon, soon I can breathe, and I’ve been pulled back down. The disappointment is crushing. 

I can’t breathe.   

Going back into Level 4 lockdown was a shock. We’ve gone from total freedom to house arrest with only a few hours notice. 

I can’t breathe.

I’ve spent the last few weeks noticing I’m gradually getting more and more wound up. Tense. Questioning life. Turning 40 has made me want to explore myself and the world, just like 30 did. A friend died recently at 40. Life is short.

I can’t breathe. 

I’m struggling with work. It’s a new job, but I’m not excited. It will help me get my residency, and I have to do it, and it’s what I’m experienced in, but I want a career change. I know what I want to try, but I’m not allowed yet. Every day is hard. I think I’m still burnt out.

I can’t breathe.

I miss people overseas like crazy. I miss being able to be around the people I love. To just be, and be calmed by their presence. I want to sit in my parent’s kitchen drinking tea; just being with them. I want to feel safe and reassured. I hate video calls.

I can’t breathe.

I struggle with being in a relationship. I have some ideas about what I want from the future, and I’m not sure a relationship fits in with them. Me and Pete are quite different people. I keep myself distanced.

I can’t breathe.

And so I didn’t.

I broke.

Published by Paps

I love running, writing, travel and adventure. I'll give anything a go once, and am always up for a laugh.

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