solo in sydney

The Move
February 28, 2010, 9:57 pm
Filed under: sydney, the backstory

It seems an obvious solution to simply pack a bag and stay with a friend, even for a few nights, and trust me when I say that I’d do this in a heartbeat if I had the option.

But I don’t. I’m not from Sydney. I have a few associates, but no family or close friends.

I met J in my hometown when I was happy, carefree and financially secure. I had already struggled with Depression on and off for years, but with a vast network of family and friends around me I had been coping well. Our first few years together were fairly smooth sailing, though J was caring and understanding when I did have the occasional off day. He knew my diagnosis and he was supportive in ensuring I sought further help.

Eventually, my job became so frantic that I had little time to be depressed, but when an eventual lull emerged, I would crash. I could barely drag myself out of bed for days on end. Despite this, I loved my job. I was working hard on a project that I loved, with a group of people I loved.

One night, J announced that he wanted to move to Sydney, and that I was coming with him. I’ve wanted to move to Sydney for as long as I can remember, but there was simply too much holding me where I was. I was in the running for a promotion at work, but J brushed this off and said we’d reevaluate if that occurred. In the meantime, he applied for countless jobs in Sydney and started looking for a new apartment.

By the time I got the promotion it was too late, according to J at least. I had to turn it down and ask for a transfer. I was madly in love with J and nothing was stopping him from moving to Sydney, so I followed. I put my dream job on hold and followed him, and ended up spending years in a job that completely burnt me out. I eventually crashed, and without friends or family around to share the load, J buckled under the pressure and I didn’t recover for months. I still haven’t fully recovered emotionally, and especially not financially.

But despite it all, I don’t want to leave Sydney. I don’t want to admit defeat and return to my home a failure. I like my life here now, I just wish it wasn’t with J.


February 22, 2010, 5:04 pm
Filed under: dear diary, the backstory

Some mornings I struggle to get out of bed, and more often than not I stay there, hiding under the covers in a state of false security. I’ve done this so often that it’s become a problem, both emotionally and financially.

J is at the stage where he’s had enough. If he comes home to find me in bed, he ramps up into a shouted lecture that I’ve heard countless times before. I’m not responsible, I’m not trying hard enough, I’m lying to myself and I should just quit my job and move back in with my parents.

He’s run out of patience, and I’ll be honest in telling you that he had plenty. Just not quite enough for someone who’s trying to drag themselves out of Depression – the kind with the capital D, the regular visits to a psychologists and the endless array of pharmaceuticals. Apparently I should be better “by now”, and the fact that I’m not somehow reflects badly on my moral character.

Though J was patient for quite some time, he never came close to understanding what Depression was doing to me, how it crushed my sense of self worth and made me feel guilty and useless when I couldn’t just pick myself up and brush myself off.

So after 3 years of struggling with Depression, largely on my own, I may be lying to myself, but now, for the first time in our relationship, I’m also lying to him.

I’m sitting in a park a few blocks away from our home, dressed in my office getup with a full face of makeup and immaculate hair. I’ll sit here for another hour, then I’ll walk back home and tell J about my day at the office, instead of the day I actually spent paralysed in bed.

I would rather go to all this effort and lie to J’s face, instead of seeing the look of anger and disappointment in his eyes. I can’t break down crying again, just to hear J telling me to stop because “it’s not achieving anything”.

So, I’m lying. To him, to my employers, and to myself.

Mountains and Molehills
February 14, 2010, 7:39 pm
Filed under: the backstory


I can’t believe I used a story about a bagel to display how selfish J can be. I read back over that post and realised how inconsequential it sounds and how precious I come across, so let me qualify; it doesn’t matter if I’m sick, if I’ve been working crazy hours, if I haven’t slept, if I’m working madly towards deadlines or if I’m finally taking a little time to relax. J will ask me to go out of my way to do things for him regardless, even if he has nothing else to do, even if he’s had a week off, even if he’s feeling fine.

I often find it difficult to say no, but when I put my foot down (as I’m increasingly beginning to do) I hear all about how much he’s done for me. When the argument is flipped however, all I hear is how little I’ve done for him lately – apparently there’s a time limit on my good deeds and domestic duties.

He’s come home from work to find me curled up on the couch, and greeted me by asking why I haven’t taken the rubbish down, or why I haven’t organised dinner given that I’ve had all day to do so. The fact that I work, and that if I’m home on the couch means that I was too ill to go to work doesn’t seem to factor into his thinking.

When we first moved in together, J had just started working full time. It was a fairly large adjustment for him after working from home for a number of years, so when I’d literally have one foot through the door and he’d ask me what was for dinner, I gave him a little leeway. That, and I honestly thought he was joking.

But take note – he was home before me. He was working 9 – 5. I was working 8 – 6 and completing my Masters full time. My post-graduate status wasn’t a secret, so he was well aware that I needed to come home, eat, study and sleep. I was more than happy to split the domestic duties with him, and although we agreed to this in theory, it never made it into practice.

As my workload continuously increased, my days got longer and longer. There were a few months when work alone was keeping me til at least 11pm, but still, the first thing J would say as I walked through the door was asking what was for dinner. Every now and then he’d mix it up a little and tell me that he’d already eaten, but he didn’t save me any so I’d have to get my own dinner. I was usually too exhausted to care or argue, so I’d usually just whip something up. Cooking is definitely not my forte, but I was preparing dinner around 3 to 5 times a week, plus working 60-80 weeks, plus studying. I didn’t complain, I didn’t even take note of how much of the cooking and cleaning I was doing, I just did it when it needed to be done for almost 2 years.

Then, everything changed.

Me, Him, Us
February 9, 2010, 6:17 am
Filed under: the backstory

I’m Cat.

He’s J.

We’re the same age, we both have a strange sense of humour, we’re both on the messy side and terrible procrastinators, but that’s where our similarities end.

In the beginning, one of J’s friends described me as a female version of him. Now, 5 years on, it couldn’t be further from the truth.