Sunday, April 22, 2018

Moving and the Disruption of Social Connections

The first week of July I will be moving from where I live now, to my parent's house.

Why?  I can't afford to live where I am now.  The cost of living in Vancouver is just too high.  Two thousand dollars for a 1 bedroom apartment.  I don't know how the average person is making it.  I suspect they aren't.  With a less than 1% vacancy rate here, I don't see these numbers changing any time soon.  Add to that the "war" between BC and Alberta over the pipeline, Alberta threatening to stop shipping fossil fuels to BC, and the accompanying rising costs of everything else related to it....

My ex-husband often accused me of only marrying him to "escape my parents".  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  Am I concerned about moving back there?  Yes.  Is it because of my parents?  A little, but I'm more concerned about losing my support systems that I have here in BC.

One of the first things that was suggested to me after the separation was trying Meetup.  I honestly don't recall if it was my therapist who suggested it, or my neighbor, but my therapist was very encouraging about it.

Here's the thing.  While I wanted to get out of the apartment and not live my life there,  I hate social media.  I'm not good at meeting people.  When I realized I was making excuses, I came to the conclusion that I would give it a try.

I immediately found a few groups that piqued my interest.  One was for "Shy" people.  Another one for "Girl Nerds".  A third one for Ladies 35-45.  I joined them.

Over the summer I went to many community events with the "Shy" group and the "Girl Nerds" group.  I went to a few for the Ladies group, but came to the conclusion that the activities they did were simply too expensive.  Through the "Shy" group I met some one  from another group that had been formed for victims of trauma and abuse, people with social anxiety, people with depression, even people who are bi-polar.  I joined that group.

And in that group, I discovered people with similar stories.  People who knew what a "safe house" was and didn't question why I couldn't have people over.  People I could relate to.  Some might think "support group, ugh!".  This group isn't like that at all.  While most support groups I've been to or seen are focused about talking about your problems, or bringing some one in to speak about your problems, this one was focused on actually doing things.

This group wasn't about focusing on our problems, or having some one come in to tell us how to cope, it was about making friends, being social, and living life.  We've done escape rooms.  We color every week.  We go bowling.  We take walks in the park.  Some of them go swimming every week.  Sometimes we go out for ice cream, or we see movies.  We do a monthly birthday dinner.

This group has been a life saver for me.

When I move, I will no longer have this group of friends.  I am terrible at long-distance friendships.  You can't just have an activity when you're long-distance like that.  I fear being at home 7 days a week, with nowhere to go, and no one to do anything with.  Knowing the positive impact this has had on me, I fear how this disconnect will end up affecting me once I've moved.  I've checked the groups around where I'm moving.  They are few and far between.

I don't want to be the person holed up in her office again.  I recognize that as having been a defense and coping mechanism for what I was going through.  I don't want to be in that place again.

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