Growing up I suffered with homesickness, although I was never “diagnosed” or “told” that I had it, I knew that my reactions to staying away from home weren’t that normal.
Most children jump at the chance of sleepovers, I on the other hand, never did. I went on one sleepover in primary school and one in secondary school. And that was it. Both times my experince was so awful I vowed to myself to never go on one again. The first one at Harriets house ended up with me being sick the morning after the sleepover. I still don’t know what made me ill, but the fact I was put me off sleepovers for years.
The next sleepover I went to was when I was about 14 and in secondary school, my “friend” (she wasn’t really a friend then, and she certainly isn’t one now) had invited me round to hers. After a lot of persuassion from my parents and her, I went to her house. The night progressively got worse. I spent the first few hours of “sleep” just crying, I really missed home and my parents. I couldn’t sleep at all, I just kept myself awake thinking “morning will come soon” I paced around the flat, went and sat on the toilet seat about 40 times to try to pass the time. I even rang home and asked, (well, whispered seeing as it was stupid O’clock) my parents to pick me up now which they weren’t too pleased with so they said no I need to wait till tomorrow. So I spent the next few hours crying in the corner of my friends bedroom.
I wasn’t just sleepovers I struggled with, I couldn’t do exchange trips or trips away with schools, the one, and only one, I ever went on a fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and I ended up seeing a teacher in just her towel which scarred me for life.
I also struggled to sleep at night if my mum wasn’t at home. If she went out in the evening to see friends (which she didn’t do very often) or if my parents both went out, I physically couldn’t sleep. I’d cry and worry they wouldn’t come back.
So, I could sleep away from home if family were there, but if my family weren’t even at home, then I couldn’t sleep at all.
I didn’t sleep away from home again till I was in 2012 when I wanted to see Michael McIntyre live. My college did a trip to Ireland and included in that was seeing Michael. As a fan who had never seen him live and always wanted to I was torn between going or not. I was persuaded to go and I am so glad I did, although the seats were crap, and by crap I do mean shite, right at the back of Dublins 02. Seeing Michael live was incredible (or what I could see of him as he was just an outline of a man). The sleeping side of it wasn’t so great, I struggled to fall alseep but once I was asleep I managed to stay asleep, which was a good start.
Then, in 2014 I moved to university, and the first few nights were filled with me crying and unable to sleep, wishing to go back home. The homesickness and lonliness and just general sadness hit me hard. But I found listening to Apps like “Calm” and YouTube ASMR videos really helped me with my sleep, the noises/people kept me company while distracting me from feeling awful.
I’ve now been on a sleepover in Essex, a sleepover in Bristol and been to stay the night in London, twice.
Although I still struggle with feeling anxious, sad and nervous, especially on the first nights back at uni after holidays/visits home, the fact I can now easily go to bed at night without crying amazes me.
If you struggle with a similar thing, have faith in yourself, you can do it ❤