Decisions, decisions….

Having emerged from the cocoon of the children’s home, I am feeling
somewhat shell-shocked and alienated by everyday reality. Last
year, I wrote in this column about my life at the Maumbury House
children’s home in Dorchester, Dorset. Now life is quite

Within the space of a few weeks my sense of belonging and my sense
of identity have diminished almost to nothing. My differing brands
of neurosis still manifest themselves from time to time and my view
of my own capabilities, self-image, self-esteem and overall sense
of individuality have become a complete haze.

I am in the process of making decisions about my future.
Specifically, I have an opportunity to attend university this
September. Although the concept of university evokes thoughts of
parties, friendship and ever-changing experiences, it also evokes
thoughts of loneliness, debt and consequent failure.

Identifying the advantages and disadvantages has been, and
continues to be, physically and emotionally draining. Part of me
refuses to become engaged in the world of academia, competition and
conforming to classroom rules. Yet another part of me yearns for
excitement and the chance to broaden my knowledge and

My quest for freedom and happiness is like being on an emotional
pendulum full of moments of laughter and, yet, despair. Embarking
upon a journey of self-discovery at this time of ambiguity has
taught me a great deal about my own needs, wishes and aspirations.
I have become aware of my predisposition to wallow and latch on to
childhood memories in an attempt to escape the transition to

I have learned that my inability to accept change often leads me to
dismissing every opportunity that passes my way. I have a
self-destruct button that I press in times of uncertainty and in
times of pressure. I avoid commitment and challenge as if they are
the plague, and the reasons for this remain a mystery. I am an
enigma to myself.

A number of paradoxes have come to light since I left care. I have
become aware that the things that inject me with a sense of warmth
and comfort are actually the things that prevent me moving on. I
have become aware that freedom and friendship are the most
fundamental treasures for a person to possess. These treasures far
outweigh all the other elements by which we become consumed later
in life.

My eating disorder has reached the centre stage of my life once
again, clouding my judgement and preventing me from thinking
positively. Realising the severity of the bulimia and anxiety has
been a poignant experience that I have found frightening. The
eating disorder is helping me conceal the pain that I feel. I know
that laxative abuse and starvation are not the solution, but my
difficulty in deciding my future is making me feel as if I am
sailing towards an unknown destination. I find strength in these
words from an Irish poet: “May the road rise up to meet you.”

Heidi Osborne is a care leaver

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