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The Sofa Surfers Handbook....

  • By girly-d
  • On 28/10/2017

There are two ways to sofa surf.

The first way is generally pre-arranged - A place to stay with friends after a night out or as an overnight guest at a house party. Usually involving copious amounts of alcohol and random conversations until the early hours of the morning before someone crashes and burns, indicating that it's probably a really good idea  to try and  get some sleep. Especially if one or all of you have a job that needs attending to at some point later that day.

Goodbyes are said. Photo's generally find their way onto facebook. Everyone laughs and talks about what a great time they had, and everything is generally fluffy and nice after the whole "getting your head down" scenario.

So thats option A.

Option B on the other hand - aka "The second way to Sofa Surf" isn't quite so alluring. 

This involves minimal fun, clutching at straws, and  turning up on some random persons doorstep. Either completely unprepared and with nothing to speak of at all, or with a bag or box of some description containing a few crumpled clothes and an assortment of toiletries hopefully  designed to see you through however long the sofa surfing experience is expected to last. Assuming of course that said random person will have you gatecrash their life in the first place -  It is after all quite a big ask....

Anyway. Choosing the second option generally means only one thing. That something somewhere has gone horribly wrong and you are now pretty fucked -  With a capital F. 

This is not a good situation to be in  for anyone concerned, and I strongly advise against taking it  unless you are absolutely, totally and utterly on your arse. As I was at that time, during the worst year of my life.

A horrible chain of events led to my life becoming an absolute car crash....Except that I didn't have said car to sleep in. I was sat on a bench at the train station. Unable to actually catch a train - Because I had no money - And extremely limited options open to me. None of which were very appealing. Several were downright dangerous and involved my not very nice boyfriend at that time. 

 He was the reason that I was sat on a platform in the first place. Out in the cold. With the lunatics who were "just passing through". He was trying to break me. To make me "compliant" -  mainly because he was an absolute arsehole who liked to terrorise women. I was safer at the train station.

Long story short. Someone I'd only met a handful of times rescued me. Offered me his sofa. And that was that. Overnight I became the Queen of Sofa Surfing.   It's not something that I am proud of. I didn't get to wear a tiara and it is in no way shape or form a glamourous experience. Your mental health gets shot to pieces. Your physical health tagging sadly along behind it in close second.

Because Sofa surfing is bad for you - You have no balance, no roots and you are completely at someone elses mercy. You are in the way, whether they say so or not. You are constantly trying not to be a burden whilst knowing of course that you are which does nothing for your already fragile self esteem. 

I barely knew this guy. It was a massive gamble. But it was pretty much all I had. So I said yes to the sofa.....

We became friends. Company for each other. He was as mad as a box of frogs but he meant well. He hated my boyfriend. Told me several times that I was going to wind up dead if I didn't leave him. He looked out for me. A bit too much at times maybe. Or maybe I was even more vulnerable than I thought back then. In my head I was indestructable....

I have no idea how long I stayed for. At a guess I would say two months. With an occasional night off when I was losing the plot and going AWOL.

I always made it back. Although not always in one piece. I must have been an absolute nightmare to have around. No wonder he was worried.

That part of my life was a blur of alcohol, prescription medicine, too little sleep and complete and utter emotional overload. I look back and I shudder. 

I haven't seen  him since I left, although we spoke a couple of times whilst I was in detox- mainly him giving me the heads up that M was on the hunt for me. Old news to be fair. I don't think he's stopped looking, even now....but thats another story. Covered in another blog.....Actually, several other blogs.

So my new friend was good to me. His intervention that night changed the course of my life. Without that sofa I am almost certain that I would be dead.  It's a horrifying, sobering thought. I actually owe this elderly, eccentric criminal my life.

I feel bad about cutting ties. But I can't have any reminders of that horrible time pecking away at my head. It's been pecked away enough for one lifetime thank you very much.

I spoke about it recently. With an old friend. She agrees that it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. But suggested that I let him know that I'm doing ok. And that I'm eternally grateful.

So at some point my friend will message him. To tell him exactly that. 

And then it's done. Over. Chapter closed.

Thank God.

So that's how you sofa-surf.... From the horses mouth -  Tips from an expert. Although I seriously could have done without the crash course.....

health anxiety not the slide mental health

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