About this time last year, my fiance began an affair with a girl at his work. He started "working late" more often. He started showering with the door closed and sleeping fully dressed. He began to get snippy with me about random things, and he overall just felt distant. He stared at his phone a lot and texted all the time.
But I held out. I could tell something was wrong with him, but he's prone to depression also, so I thought that might've be been it. I noticed some girl I never heard of appearing on his Facebook posts more often, but I'm also prone to paranoia and anxiety, so I thought that might've been it.
And one night, he got really cranky from a look he thought he saw on my face before he went to bed. So I stayed up and wrote him a note about how much I loved him and looked forward to our future and about how much I wish I could be making him happy but that it felt like I was making things worse for him. I promised to be more supportive and love him with everything I had to get passed this but we were in.
When he came home from work the next day, late, he walked into my office crying and told me it was over. He told me that he'd fallen out of love and wanted to end our relationship. I bargained. I pleaded and negotiated. I tried to talk some sense into him. But he wouldn't budge. And that day catapulted me into my worst depressive episode ever.
In a particularly regrettable and deplorable act, I found his old phone one day while he was at work. I read the texts between him and the other girl. I read through all the lies he had told me. And I read them talking about how they'd been together for months, well before he broke up with me and before she'd broken up with her boyfriend.
It was an insanely difficult time to still be living with the love of my life who'd cheated on me. But a little before he had back surgery half a year later, we became so much closer again. Closer as friends. We talked about our lives and what was going on. He helped me through some difficult moments of this depression. I helped him through some difficult moments of his new relationship.
I gave him many chances to come clean about the affair, but he never did. When I couldn't hold on to that knowledge any longer (and wanted to demonstrate honesty to him), I confessed to what I'd learned and how I learned it. He broke down. I broke down. It was a big, messy day for us, but looking back, it feels like we'd overcome a major speed bump in our history and present.
Ultimately, he broke up with that girl a month or so later. He lost all sense of happiness with her and as much as he tried to talk to her about anything, she'd fly off the rails and take everything out on him.
We had a good month or two of honest, simple, and fun friendship. It was a great time. And for as much as I hated him for what he'd done, I don't think I ever stopped loving him. And in that time of friendship, I started feeling like I had a crush on him again.
After a while of that, we were sitting on the porch one night talking, I don't even remember about what, but it was a very close and deep talk. And in the warm summer night air, he asked if he could kiss me. I said yes, and it was everything I remembered. It wasn't the simple pecks that we'd devolved to at the end of our relationship. It was a loving kiss with so much history behind it. Then we went inside and he walked me to my bedroom door and kissed me goodnight.
A day or two later, we got to talking about it... for a while. We talked about the affair and what we were both feeling and thinking and what comes next. We decided to try again.
And since then, we've had an incredible time. We go out and do things, we stay in and do projects together. And he's been treating me like he did for the majority of our previous relationship... lovingly, tenderly, and as if we were the best and oldest of friends.
But the affair is still hanging over me like a black cloud. When my mood sinks or when he's not feeling good or when my anxiety flares, I get paranoid and worried that he's lying to me. That something isn't right. That eventually he's just going to do it again and leave me again.
We talk about it. We do. He's incredibly supportive and understanding. But when I get in that frame of mind, I torture myself; I punish myself. I go and look at that girl's social media and let myself feel awful that she's still hurting over losing him. I think about all the feelings I had at the end of our relationship and convince myself that my paranoia and anxiety was right... something was wrong... and I should believe it this time, too. Understand that there is not a thing he does that leads to this suspicion; it's entirely contingent on my own poor mental health and propensity toward cynicism.
This happened again today. We had a great day and I fell into a sour mood over something stupid and irrelevant. And in my sour mood, I looked at the girl's Instagram page. I saw a picture that floored my anxiety (because she's still crazy about him). He could see in my face that something was wrong, so I told him what I did and saw. We talked for a while, I cried, he comforted, and I started feeling a little better. But after he went to bed, I was feeling crazy again. For as much as I fought myself and wanted to go with my rational mind, the irrational took over. I snuck outside and went to look in his car for something that should've been there. But when I actually got to his car, I couldn't do it. I just didn't have it in me not to trust him after everything we'd been through. So I went back inside. Except that he heard the door close and came out to see. I told him something was blocking the garage from closing, partly because I was caught off guard and partly because I couldn't bear the thought of telling him the truth.
And now I feel awful. For doubting him. For not being able to overcome my doubts. For lying. For all the trouble my inability to move forward is causing.
The thing is...I know infidelity is hard to overcome and takes a long time and a lot of mutual work. But I feel like I'm the road block. I want to trust him completely. I want to live our lives together. I love him with all my heart. And it's ******* me that this is so hard to move on from. He's being amazingly patient and supportive of everything I'm going through. And I can't give him the benefit of the doubt that his glasses actually are in his car?
I feel rotten and pathetic. But I also know that his actions are what caused this... and he knows it, too, but I feel awful that my healing process is taking a while and making him feel bad every time I need to talk about it. He doesn't mind at all, though. He knows he was wrong and how it affected me, he feels awful about it all, and he's doing everything he can to help me. He WANTS me to talk about it and anything else whenever I need to, but it's hard for me because I don't want to bring him pain. My mind would rather absorb all the pain around me than let others feel it, even if those others are responsible.
I can't take it anymore. I just want my life and love back the way they were before this horrible black cloud rooted into my mind. This is a burden I just don't want to bear anymore. I didn't deserve this. I don't. I need to figure out how to move on from this memory. And from this year.
This has been a bizarre week so far.
The biggest thing...I officially got my severance notice from work. Of course I've known it was coming for a few years now, and I've been conflicted about it for just as long. On one hand, the job of late has been miserable, and I'm tired of being alone all day, every day. On the other hand, I love the women I work with and love having the freedom of being on my own working from home. But the idea that I'll need to go through applications and job interviews and all the panic and anxiety, along with the financial stress, again just kills me.
I'll be getting a decent severance package of 5 weeks pay and a bonus for staying. And my wonderful boss managed to get them to let me keep all of my saved PTO hours instead of them vanishing with the new year, so that's about another three weeks of pay.
My boyfriend's family is taking me on their family vacation to Disney World in February, even though we were separated when they planned it. I'm incredibly touched that they've accepted me into their family.
So I think I'll take the month of January to refresh myself while passively applying for jobs. Then my unemployment will kick in in February, so I can kick it into high gear. I have no clue what I want to do, though.
Bryan and I have been doing a lot of wood crafting together, which has been great! Everyone has loved one of our projects, and we got quite a few orders from Bryan's co-workers, so we started advertising our projects for sale. Our dream is to be able to make a living from selling our arts and crafts, or at the very least have a nice side income from it. So it's really exciting to have a bunch of strangers want our products! In my unemployment, I plan to kick up production enough that we can start selling at craft fairs.
In other news, I sliced my thumb pretty badly the other day when I was chopping carrots for beef stew. So badly that I considered going to the ER for stitches, but I couldn't drive myself and everyone I knew was at work. Bryan bandaged me up, but we changed the dressing today, and oh my god...it is a terrible gash. It's going to take a long time to close up. Having an immobile thumb is really tough and I've been filled with so much anxiety over it. I keep imagining it getting a serious infection, or dying and needing to be cut off, or losing all feeling in it forever. It's probably not that bad, but you all know how an anxious, hyperchondriac mind works.
At least my car passed inspection and has brand new tires on it. It's been an expensive journey, but it's going to help me get through the winter with less anxiety.
And finally, I'm on day two of tapering off Zoloft. It's been going seemlessly. But of course, I think that might have something to do with my inconsistency in taking them these last few months. I wanted to taper off with the loss of my insurance once I'm laid off so that I didn't have to worry about the expense of buying the pills and psych visits. But I AM worried with how I'm going to cope with the loss of my job and finding another without that crutch.
I dunno. This has been a bizarre week for me. Now tomorrow I have to go pick up Bryan's son from kindergarten and for some reason, I'm extremely nervous about it. Okay, not "some reason," but it's a new experience, which terrifies me. I've been a sort of step parent to the kid for almost four years, and picking him up from school is scary???? I hate how my mind works.
I think that's the end of my rambling, good and bad. Now, time to drink my Cabernet and TRY to get sleepy.
I just feel compelled to catalog today.
I had an appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist after work. My plan was to talk about starting to taper me off of Zoloft (and my appointments) ultimately because I knew I'd be losing my insurance in the next month or two from losing my job. But also because I know that the worst symptoms from my episode had passed. I still feel general malaise and outrageous anxiety, but that's how I was before this shit year and the antidepressants never touched that.
But this afternoon I got a call from my boss... from her chemo treatment, no less. She asked me to work on something for her tomorrow while she's off recovering from treatment and then wanted to give me a heads up that it looks like I'll be getting my 30 day notice on Wednesday, meaning that my last day of work will be January 4.
Of course, I knew this was coming. For 4 years I knew this was coming. But the reality of it is a whole different story. She wanted me to know because rolling into the new year means I'd lose any PTO saved over 80 hours. By the end of the year, I'll have about 130 hours saved. I told her that knowing I'd be out of a job, I'd rather lose the hours than sacrifice my overtime pay. She felt bad and said she'd work on convincing her boss to prevent us from losing any PTO with the new year. I believe her...she managed to get her boss to give us all a $2500 bonus for staying until we're laid off. I hope it works out... 50 hours of pay is a lot to lose just because they didn't give us our notices until after December started.
Anyway. So I'm losing my job in a month. And I don't have to see my psychiatrist again if I don't want to. And I'll be off the meds in a month. And this is going to be a hell of a month for me.
I'm honestly scared about being able to pay my bills and find a new job. I had a good long talk with Bryan about that and my fear of losing him over how crazy I might get through all of this, but being the good man he is, he talked me down and got me to laugh. I think we'll be able to get through this. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...
In my incessant ruminating tonight, it occurred to me, like a lightbulb turning on, that he is a narcissist. 100% narcissistic. It became so clear. It felt like putting the last piece in the puzzle.
Even still, after all this time, I feel awful about everything and for putting my health and well-being first. I know I should be proud of myself, but I just feel bad.
So I'm writing this to remind myself that he is absolutely a narcissist, and I should be focusing on myself and my future and not all the bad memories and feelings over the years. Because I know I'll forget... probably by tomorrow morning.
I know it's useless to think like this, but there are some moments...many moments... when I wish I could find my rewind button. Or reset. Or fast forward. I'm not really sure.
My world turned upside down this year, and now that it's right side up, I have so many regrets. I'm happy enough to leave them in the past, determined never to repeat them, but reminders keep popping up. Not just reminders but actual events and situations that cause me to relive all of my pain.
I cannot make it stop. If it's not my memories that crop up in quiet times and when I try to sleep, then it's messages and photos and books bought at someone's suggestion. It's remembering when someone brought me lunch every time I walk to the front door. It's stretches of highway. It's my dear hometown where I used to tool around with my friends after school. It's my art. It's a name. It's many names. It's physicality, words, actions.
I know that I wasn't myself; I don't regret that. I couldn't help it, try as I might. I regret how that part of my history continues to rear it's ugly head and disrupt my current world. I regret how I did things that I wouldn't have done if not for the throes of a particularly painful and debilitating episode of depression. I regret losing myself.
At the time, I thought I was making progress and establishing a life. I see now how truly ****ed up I was. Which version of me is more true? I don't even care. I want the life that I have now to continue to grow. And I want my peace and freedom back. I do not know how to destroy that which threatens my sanity.
It's November. Naturally.
We've entered the month when this time last year, my fiance started drifting from me, culminating in his affair and our broken engagement 3 months later. Along with the onset of my most severe and debilitating major depressive episode ever.
We've been happily embracing and renewing our relationship since August. It hasn't been easy, don't get me wrong, but he is like a new man. No, more like a stronger and more mature version of who he was before this mess. He's more compassionate and loving. More outgoing and creative. More attentive and sensitive. It's really been great.
Through it all I'm still battling day in and day out with black clouds, but my lows haven't been quite as low. I'm not so much actively suicidal but have leveled off to a manageable moodiness. (And my artistic bursts have mellowed, which speaks to that whole depression-artist connection...😒)
But yesterday, he started work again after a 5 month medical leave, and our protective bubble from reality popped. I worked away from home yesterday, so it wasn't so bad, but today was my first day in a long time working all day without him tooling around the house. And today was also the first day he had to be at work at the same time as his partner in infidelity. He recounted to me his day dealing with that, and all I could think about was how everything fell apart this time last year following following his return to work.
He knew that his return to work would be hard for me and he's been very sensitive to it. He's taken plenty of time to reassure me and comfort me about this, which has been great. But this whole week has dredged up a lot of feelings that I'd tucked away over the summer. Now the holidays are tainted with my memories of last year's celebrations knowing now that in the background of all that he was having an affair. I just don't know how to handle it.
I want to forget that it ever happened, but I know that's impossible. It's also not helpful since neither of us is looking for a repeat of that mess. I'm just struggling with how to come to terms with a partner who cheated. I love him with every piece of me, and he feels the same. But the memories are haunting, and my obsessive, depressive, and anxious mind won't let them go.
Some days I don't even know how to live.
I admit...I haven't been 100% compliant with my medication this past month or so. It was completely inadvertent.
I get really sick to my stomach if I take Zoloft without food, and I'm just not hungry for a few hours in the morning. Even with an alert on my phone every morning, I have to put it off until I've eaten, and by then I usually forget until it's too late in the day.
I must note: this is my first experience with antidepressants, and I've been on them since February. Only in the past month or so I've started missing doses 3-4 times a week.
Anyway, I never "noticed" the difference those pills made when it was happening, but out of nowhere a few months ago, I realized my mood was on the rise. But recently, I've been truly awful. My motor functions have been slowed down; I've been tired throughout the days; I've been overly sad and unmotivated, and felt deeply heavy in every way.
We eventually thought it might have had something to do with my non-compliance, so I've had my boyfriend help to ensure that I take my pills everyday, regularly.
It's been almost a week of daily doses and I find myself wanting to crawl out of my skin. I can't sit still without fidgeting. I have trouble falling asleep again. I'm clumsy and jittery, and my mind is going a thousand miles a minute with bizarre anxiety.
I feel like I'm starting all over again.
I hoped that I might be able to start tapering off sooner than later, but I don't think that's an option at this point. It's just ****ing depressing.
I've been overflowing with creativity recently, which I guess is a good thing. I've started making suncatchers with beads and wire. My first was sort of abstract fall night scene with a tree branch, rolling hills, and a moon with swirling clouds. I really love it and fell in love with the process. And every time I held it up to show my boyfriend my progress, he gave me the sweetest, proudest smile that made me melt. I hadn't seen that smile in a long time.
I'm working on a swirly crescent moon now, and have plans to make a letter R as a wedding gift and then work on a series of elaborate masquerade masks.
I'm also in the middle of an abstract painting as a companion piece to another I did this summer. It's based on the concept of kintsugi and follows the same theme of melting as its partner. My boyfriend also built me a wooden canvas on which I plan to use putty to add textured trees and create a landscape with the wood grain.
My problem is, though, that all of these ideas are completely overwhelming me. I can't keep everything straight in my mind. I'm easily frustrated. I just yelled at a cat a few minutes ago for getting in my way.
I know it's good that I'm working on projects and staying active, and I truly do enjoy what I'm doing. But I'm also feeling completely miserable. I've got truly concerning musculoskeletal pain in my upper back, chest, and neck. It's hard to stand up or bend over, etc, etc. My job is just hard to manage these days. And I'm struggling to resolve a lot of past pain from these last few years with my current position in life. It's too much. It's just too much to handle in my pathetically weak mind.
Between the good and the bad, I'm just frustrated with not knowing what kind of day it will be when I wake up in the morning. I'm frustrated that unimaginable bullshit seems to crop up when everything else is otherwise going well.
All I want is stability. Comfort and stability.
I'm thinking it's time I start unlocking some of the pain I've tucked away. I've written plenty in personal journals, but it seems that there's something to writing where others can see it. So I'll start with my biggest mental block.
I'm a victim of sexual abuse. Sort of. I'm not a Victim of sexual abuse. I think I could most accurately describe myself as a victim of a mental illness that mitigated the effect of a subconscious manipulation of sexuality.
Yeah, I consciously threw a lot of words in their to make sure that this comes across as complicated as it feels to me.
My last relationship lasted for 7.5 years. We were engaged for the last 2.5 years of it. But about a year or two into it, our sexual relationship hit a plateau and even started to decline. I lost desire. I still don't know if the loss was just my body getting back to its normal after the excitement of a new relationship or if it had something to do with stress or depression (I was in college at the time) or something else completely. But it was gone. Or more like, it was dramatically reduced.
It started as conversations. Cordial agreements about 'getting back to where we were,' finding passion again.
Over the years, the conversations progressed into arguments. The subject was such a blight on our relationship that when he asked me to marry him, I asked if he was sure because we had a lot of problems.
During the last couple years, I had become so afraid and exhausted by the arguments that I started planning my sleep schedule around his tiredness. If he was wide awake doing something, I'd say I was tired (even if I wasn't) and lay down in bed, pretending to be asleep when he finally came to bed. If he was tired, I'd say I wanted to stay up (even if I was exhausted) just so that he would be asleep before I quietly snuck into bed. All to avoid the fights.
But inevitably the fight would still happen. It was always the same: a move and an excuse. A quiet conversation. An accusation of my not being attentive to his physical needs. A counter-accusation of him not being attentive to my emotional and mental needs. A long, circular argument about neither of us being there for each other in the way we each need. An escalation into actual yelling for a while. A quiet moment where each of us feels the weight of the fight. Then one of us professes our love and a plea to compromise and find a solution. We quietly talk about what we could do. I become overwhelmed with guilt about my inability to be a good partner. I take the weight of the problem on my shoulders because he's the one pursuing a stressful graduate degree. It's all my fault. There is something wrong with me. I take all the blame. The guilt and fear of losing him overwhelms me to the point that I believe the only way to move forward is to have sex. So we do. And half the time I feel like crying because I'm only doing it to make things okay. I know that if we have sex, we can go another week or so in relative peace until the arguments start again.
These fights always occurred in the bed at night. That's why I started to avoid going to bed together...to avoid the fight. It got so bad that I was most comfortable when he was out of town every other month for school. That's when I broke things off and crushed him.
Now I know, deep in my heart, that he was not consciously manipulating me into having sex. He was not and is not that kind of evil. He was inexperienced in relationships and we never established a strong line of communication about intimacy. I still feel love toward him and we continued to communicate for a while after the break up.
But the damage was done. I felt guilted and manipulated into sex. I felt used. The relationship was broken, along with my sense of comfort in intimacy with men. I know now that my emotional well-being is fragile, and this experience struck a devastating blow to my confidence and sense of self. I still have intimacy issues. Sex and physical and emotional intimacy are difficult for me.
After my break up following an undisclosed affair and the onset of my most severe depressive episode ever earlier this year, I let my guard down. I gave up all hope for myself and my life let myself become intimate, physically and emotionally, with a few men that expressed an interest in being in my life. I love them all, truly, as great, dear friends. They all helped me in ways that I didn't understand until now. But all of them broke my heart in one way or another.
The last couple months of summer left me shattered. Yes, I did take back my ex who cheated on me and dumped me in January. Yes, we do have some things to work out. But he is the love of my life. We are both changed after this year and stronger than ever.
That said, I do still have issues with sex. My experience with my ex lingers in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I understand that what occurred was a form of sexual abuse. But then I think about him and doubt that. I think that maybe it really was just all me and my malingering, undiagnosed mental illnesses. I don't know. I still don't know how to process all of that... how to feel about it. I know it damaged me pretty significantly, but that's about it.
But, questions aside, that's been the biggest burden on my soul.
I'm not exactly clear headed now, but much more awake than the other night. Of course I don't exactly remember my train of thought, but I can imagine it had something to do with those thoughts we all get. Those numbing thoughts. The thoughts of pointlessness.
Seriously, though. There are few people in this world lucky enough to make an impression, good or bad, on a great many people. Most of us are lucky to leave a lasting mark on just a couple, if that. And when those people pass, the point of our existence passes, as well.
I know this is an awfully bleak subject, and my point is not to indulge in a philosophical debate. But if there's one thing I've clearly realized this year, it's that these thoughts and deeply rooted moods tend to emerge spontaneously. Whether I'm depressed or anxious or not, in a good mood or not, the feeling of pointlessness bubbles up from my subconscious at random times, with no precursor, to bring me back to reality, I presume.
But is this clinical? I recognize that questioning my value as a human is relatively normal, but at what point does it become a symptom rather than a side effect of existing with a brain?
A few months ago, I had the sudden consciousness of intrusive thoughts. I was having a perfectly lovely day when out of the blue, this thought, "I wish I was dead," blasted through my mind at full volume. I knew that in that moment it was a false thought. It wasn't real. But the intensity with which I felt it made me question my view of reality. All the times I've felt suicidal, was it just a random thought? What passes through my mind...how can I know what's real and what's a product of my ****ed up mind? Does it matter?
I don't know. What I do know is that I can't always trust what crosses my mind, but it's so hard to judge in those moments.
I don't know, I don't know. I wish I could shut my brain off and just exist.
Sometimes, I just don't care about living. Usually when I'm alone and have nothing to distract me, the thought often crosses my mind: what is even the ****ing point.
I know this is common. I know many people feel like this when in crisis or when much of one's life is spent in dysthymic despair, but it usually hits me like a wave. Knocks me on my *ss when I least expect it.
What is the ****ing point?
I don't know. More later when I'm more conscious and my glasses aren't out of reach. I'm just tired of these thoughts busting through my mental barricades when I'm most vulnerable. Yes, more later; I need to be more clear headed when tackling this.
Love to all.
This has been a hell of a year for me. I was crushed from the beginning, and it's been a damn roller coaster ever since. As one thing went wrong, something else would step up and make me feel good. Then, inevitably, that good thing would fail me. And on and on and on.
I have placed my trust where it wasn't earned and got burned. I have pinned my happiness on others when shown kindness and got heartbroken. I have been disappointed by my faith in the goodness of others more times than I care to admit. I have let my heart, mind, and body take refuge in the hands of men who, knowing and commiserating with my pain and anguish, have taken full advantage of me for their own emotional and physical satisfaction just to cut me loose in very painful ways. These are some of my biggest regrets of this year, and looking back, I can see that I was not myself. Even when I was feeling good, I was not being true to who I am. It was all superficial. And every drive home, after every conversation ended, I can now feel the pain and discomfort in myself that I tried to ignore and rationalize away.
I have been wretched, too. I have caused pain. I have not been completely innocent in the great failure that is 2018. I accept my failings. I understand just how bad I got.
But now I need to figure out how to leave the past in the past.
I'm stabilizing now. There is still a lot work to be done, but I am feeling stronger. I've talked before about how I was a different person than I used to be. But I can see now...this depression swung me too far in the other direction. I thought I was getting better and happier, but I wasn't. My weakness was letting parts of me come to the surface that had long been buried by my facade. My shell was shattered, but what was inside was still raw and unseasoned.
I AM a different person now. But not the outgoing, sexualized, and forgiving person I thought I was becoming. I'm still the person I was before this year but somehow more comfortable in my skin. I'm more comfortable pushing my boundaries and reaching out, speaking the truth even with the potential of someone not being happy.
Oh, but I'm still so raw. I see my flaws. I still feel the pain of intrusive, invasive thoughts that drag me down, down, down. I'm haunted by ghosts and memories of my pain.
I would say that I'm on an upward swing, but I'm not. I'm balancing. Stabilizing. The roller coaster is leveling out and slowing down.
My ex and I have gotten back together. Even after he broke up with his girlfriend, I was so happy just having him as a friend. We'd always been able to relate to each other in a way I never could with anyone else; it was nice just having that part of him back. But the feelings never died for either of us, apparently. After a couple months of pure fun and friendship and many, many nights of long and deep talks about everything, he asked if he could kiss me while we were sitting on the porch one night. It was like the first time all over again. I loved him and missed him, and he loved me and missed me. We make a great team, always have, but I think we needed to be pushed back on course. He needed to realize that comfort is not a fault next to passion, and I needed to realize that passion is not a fault next to comfort. We both needed some balance, I think especially after dealing with his back injury last year.
That's not to say that everything is perfect just yet. We still have some trust issues after his affair, and I'm still haunted by memories when I'm alone. He has an abundance of guilt to resolve. But we're moving slowly and being completely transparent with everything. He is a changed man. In just the same way this year has shaken me to my core and birthed some new iteration of ME, he is just how he's always been, but stronger and more mature and rational. We've each evolved into versions of ourselves that seem to incorporate a little bit of each other, and it happened completely independently of each other.
And we have been having so much fun. We've started working on our projects together again. He's a woodworker and I'm a painter and wire worker, and we've always made kick-*ss art projects and home goods together. We've gotten really close with our neighbors and have a lot of fun with them. And we have fun stuff planned for just about every weekend from here to our neighbors' wedding at the end of October.
BUT, if there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that I can't pin my happiness to another person. I'm still taking time for myself and my art. I'm still working on developing my friendships with an old school friend, an old co-worker, and our neighbors. I'm still focusing on myself and becoming the strong, independent woman I always should have been.
I attended a bridal shower yesterday for my neighbor, which was incredibly hard for me. I spent the week before paralyzed by anxiety about my gift and spending a few hours with a bunch of women that I didn't know. Literally, aside from the bride, I knew no one there. I chose a table at random and ended up sitting with the groom's stepmom and a few other women I can't remember how they related. It was a blast! Incredibly awkward, but still fun. They all became fond of me and told me to sit with them again at the reception, haha. And the bride loved my gift! I got her something small from the registry and then a relax box. It was a wooden box that I stained and painted fall leaves on, along with their wedding date. I filled it with relaxing bath stuff and masks, a pumpkin scented candle, a small journal, some candy and chocolate I knew she loved, and a small 4"x4" painting I made of the woods in fall based on a picture she posts every year on her Facebook. She loved it all. And the groom's stepmom, upon seeing the painted box, asked if I do stuff like that a lot, and when I said yes, she told me I should talk to them about putting some stuff in their store (the family owns a local Christmas tree farm and have a gift shop through the holiday season). It was so endearing. And I was so proud of myself for not backing out of it, and actually having a good time there all on my own.
So overall, after a sh*tty, sh*tty year, I'm doing okay. The key here will be to learn how to not let my anxieties, fears, and memories get in the way of my happiness and progress. I've been taking a long break from being online and on my phone to focus on myself and rekindling my relationship, and it's been so freeing. It's also keeping my mind away from all the negativity of the past (when I'm not torturing myself by willfully looking at painful things for no reason).
Anyway, here's to hoping I can continue this and not let the demons bring me down. My love to everyone here.
Everything is still holding steady for me.
I've been getting along great with B and our neighbors. We take walks around the neighborhood and sit on the porch for hours most evenings chatting. This has become one of my most pleasant and stress-free summers now that all the rotten dust has settled.
I'm looking forward to fall coming soon. Neighbor has mentioned for certain that I'll be invited to her bridal shower next month and to they're wedding in October. It's so stupid, but I was getting anxious that I wouldn't be invited. I don't know why, but it was eating away at me.
B's son is here this weekend and he is growing into such a well-mannered sweetheart of a young man. He's over the moon about the police badge I made him. We all watched Batman and The Avengers movies last night, he loves them. Today, he asked so nicely for "Mr. Wonka's chocolate factory," so we put the old one on since we watched the new one last week. Then he asked for the new one when it finished. This kid loves Wonka. 😂 He sings along with all the songs and tells when the kids aren't being nice. 😂
I just adore this kid. He is so smart and so silly; for how exhausting he can be (he IS 5 after all), he just warms my heart. Being able to be a part of his life and watch him grow up over the years has been such a gift.
I also received my 5 year anniversary gift from work today. A big ole box with a plaque inside. I thought that's all it was, but the kid was playing with the box and found a ring sizer, which was weird. Turned out to also have a catalog in the box for me to pick a gift. After much anxiety trying to decide, I ended up picking a pair of sterling silver earrings. I cannot believe I'm still working for them after 5 years...I should've been laid off years ago after we were bought out.
Anyway, I guess things are going pretty well right now. As long as everything keeps holding steady on this plateau, I think I'll be okay. I still have one MAJOR life stressor ahead of me, but I'm trying not to dwell too much on it. I'm still fragile, I know. And I don't think I'll ever be rid of this anxiety. But I think I'm managing fairly well for the time being.
I started watching a show called You're The Worst. It's silly and cynical about people and love. I started the second season recently, which involves one of the main characters revealing her lifetime battle with depression as she fell into another clinical episode.
And here I am. I'm back to work today after a day off yesterday, and I couldn't bear the thought of sitting at my desk (a whole 3 feet from my bed), so I dragged my work computer to my bed and have been "working" from a horizontal position while watching this show.
I'm laying here, feeling brain dead, while watching a character overcome with one of the most convincing portrayals of anhedonia and depression I've ever seen in a TV show. She is enduring the "help" that her boyfriend tries to provide even though he admittedly doesn't understand clinical depression at all. He even pulled out the "just snap out of it" cliche.
"You need to stop. It's like you have amnesia. Every day, you think things are gonna be different, and I'll just be happy. Well, maybe you can understand this. I feel nothing. About anything. Dogs, candy, old Blondie records, nachos, you, us, nothing. So for the last time, please go."
"I'm scraped out. I'm... that car we sent to Mars, flipped upside down so the sun can't reach my solar panels. I've always been able to flip myself back over eventually but...I ran out of times. This is how I am now."
Sometimes, when I'm stuck in bed all day, it's hard to remind myself that it doesn't have to be like this forever. I've always flipped myself back over eventually; there's no reason why I still can't. I need to stop this backsliding. My anxiety is getting out of control and it's really dragging me down.
A random assortment of things and a massively upsetting, feature length dream from last night.
I haven't had much going on lately, which is good. My life has settled into a static rhythm after a year of chaotic misery. I haven't had much energy to post or respond a whole lot here; I'm still plagued with a strong lack of motivation and anhedonia, but I'm trying.
My sleep is still messed up. It's all over the place, honestly. From one night to the next, I'm not sure if I'll be getting insomnia, hypersomnia, frequent waking, early waking, fatigue, etc etc. I do hope that settles down soon.
I've been eating well but not healthy. After dropping 25lbs at the start of this year, I feel like I've put it all back on recently. I feel like I'm bursting at the seams every time I take a deep breath or eat. Thankfully, B and I are each starting to cook again, so that should help.
Overall, logically, I can tell that I'm doing better, but I just don't FEEL it. Though other people have noticed a change in me, and not just getting back to my last year normal. My neighbor commented to B yesterday that I seem so different. That for the past few years when we would all hang out, I'd say a couple things, sit quietly, and go home early, which is completely true. But now, after my total meltdown and year of treatment and rebuilding, I'm spending hours and hours with them and actively conversing the whole time.
I feel so awkward that past me was such a miserable and silent little ****er when I felt like I was trying so hard to be friendly and sociable. I just wish I understood where this change in me came from. This is not just me getting back to my pre-MDD episode self. This is a different me.
I wish I felt the difference, too. I can tell that it's easier for me to talk, but inside I still feel like the miserable little s*** that I've always been. Is this my new normal? I just feel so uneasy about everything, like I have no idea what I'm doing. Like a toddler taking her first steps - suddenly I'm mobile in a whole new way and it's enjoyable but also awkward, and soon enough I'll fall flat on my face, and I'm just not ready for that.
In other news, here is my terribly long description of my very upsetting dream from last night:
I was back at college. For some reason I had started attending my classes again (not new classes, mind you, classes I was already enrolled in but hadn't been attending). I remember the first on my schedule, a Germanic history class (or something like that), so I started there. I was unprepared to attend any classes when I decided to, so I had grabbed an old book bag and whatever binder I found. I spent the whole class digging through the book bag and binder trying to find my class schedule so that I could figure out what and where my next class was…to no avail. I did take some notes in class and found a bunch of vape juice in my old book bag. So after the class was over, I went to a computer kiosk in what looked like the Cathedral of Learning's Commons Room and tried to log into my account to pull up my schedule, but I couldn’t remember my log in information. Then Jon, an old high school pal, came up to me and started asking me what was going on. I explained that I was trying to find my schedule because I decided to attend my classes again but I had no idea what they were!
Then somehow, I was at a house that I think was supposed to be where my brother was living; it also sort of felt like my childhood home. I was in “my room” trying to find something to wear but couldn’t find the right top at all. My favorite green jacket from high school appeared in my closet, as well. My brother at this point is cutting class himself and his friend showed up so that they could go off and do whatever it was they were doing.
Then I’m in a large common room. There were a lot of chairs, computers at the front, and a giant screen playing a Predator movie. There were people all over the place moving around. I remembered that I still need my class schedule, so I go up to one of the computers and try to log in. My mom and brother (and his friend) are there for some reason, and my mom starts pestering me about trying to find my schedule. I remember looking back at her and stopping to watch Predator for a minute.
At that point, I started to realize the situation we were all in. It was like a North Korea vs. South Korea situation, and we were all trapped on one side (of whatever this situation was) and desperately wanted to get back to our friends, family, and lives on the other, much less oppressive side. A bunch of people, myself included, got called up to be evacuated and sent back home. We all went through “processing,” which was just our belongings getting searched, and then waited in a massive crowd to be let through. Once I was let through, I walked into the building on the “home” side, which took me into an old high school gymnasium that had people in the bleachers and all over the place waiting for their loved ones to return from the other side. I walked through the gym hugging my overstuffed book bag and binder close to my chest and looking for anyone looking for me. I got to the other end of the gym, and even though I saw a lot of people I recognized from high school, no one was waiting for me.
Then I was at “home” again. I was lying on my bed and bawling in fetal position with the thought going through my mind on a loop that no one was waiting for me. I was devastated and crushed. Outside of my door, I heard B and his ex talking and laughing (at me) as they were leaving to go somewhere. I kept crying and thinking about how I really was alone – that B and his obsessive ex got back together, which meant that I lost my good friend again.
And that was that. Totally miserable dream to wake up from.
My life these last few days has been consumed by B and his ex. I've tried to help her, but she's fixated on getting him back and unreceptive to anything I say. Anything anyone says, really. So I've severely limited my contact with her. I cannot handle that kind of stubborn negativity right now.
On my end, I've felt myself slipping today. I think it's just from getting caught up in other drama. It's hard to stop myself, though. I have a really hard time not caring for people that are hurting. But I have learned this year that I do need to prioritize myself sometimes, especially in the face of stubborn negativity.
Well... just like that, my empathy broke. His ex, a young and apparently immature person, has not only continued to constantly text him, but has given his number to other young, immature people who have texted him to tell him how awful he is for breaking up with her and not responding to her contact attempts. And I, having heard both of their perspectives, know that all she is telling these people is that he broke up because she is depressed and now he won't talk to her.
Am I really at the age of shaking my head at today's youth? Ugh.
I don't know, I think seeing this break up from the sidelines, remembering where I was 7 months ago, and knowing how I'm doing right now, I'm surprised at how far I've come. I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of issues, but I think, for right now, I'm okay.
The biggest thing going on right now is B breaking up with his girlfriend.
He did it Friday evening. She is young and has never been broken up with before. She deals with depression and anxiety, but I'm pretty sure her overriding diagnosis should be BPD - she fits it to a T. She is not taking it well to say the least. She has been messaging him constantly, sending him pictures and audio clips of her pleading with him.
I honestly liked her and she treated me well. Since B is strictly refusing contact, even at the urging of her own brother, she's tried to reach out to me. I've been trying to give her guidance based on my experiences (I was dumped this year, too, but after a 3 year relationship/engagement and not 7 months). I've been trying to help her realize that begging him and constantly texting him won't make him come back, that the both need to heal and have this time apart before anything else.
Somehow, she is of the mindset that love means obsession, dependency, and complete involvement with the other person. B expressed concern about her non-stop cutting and suicidal ideation and her refusal to ever compromise or get any sort of help. To appeal to him after the breakup (two days ago), she claims that she's fixed all those problems - she stopped cutting, she got her depression under control, she's doing everything he "wanted" just for him (not for herself...) to get him back. She is solely focused on him.
I've been trying to steer her into realizing that this time should be spent on herself and finding her happiness and life outside of a relationship. But she's refusing. In complete denial. And believes that having B back will fix everything and will give her all the happiness she needs. No matter that they fought constantly, had vastly different ideas about relationships, and honestly brought out the worst in each other.
When she blatantly denied and ignored everything I said for two days, I backed off. I reminded her that I was only trying to help and that I'm still dealing with a lot of sh*t, too. We haven't messaged since.
I'm just finding it very frustrating to even attempt to help someone that asked for help but is refusing absolutely everything I say. I feel for her so much, I wish she could just hear me. I was exactly where she is 7 months ago. But I tried.
B, on the other hand, has been nothing but gracious for my support. I guess that's the difference in maturity (and lack of narcissism). The only strange part is him beating himself up about choosing her over me 7 months ago. And of course his family thinks this means we could get back together now. Umm... doesn't quite work like that.
But we can actually be roommates now without this dark cloud hanging over us. Somehow we're able to talk about dating and our romantic/intimate situations without awkwardness. We've been able to share the very deepest secrets and details of our lives and still laugh and joke around. We've somehow been able to form a completely fulfilling friendship with each other, and it's wonderful.
To get out of the house, stay distracted, and avoid any chance of his now ex showing up at our house, he spent yesterday with his family while I was with my brother. When we were both home, our neighbors came over and bs'd with us for a while and B convinced them to start a bonfire, so we sat out there for a while. Today, they popped over and asked if we wanted to drive down to the mall with them. So the whole day was just the four of us tooling around. I've always liked the guy neighbor, but I used to be so anxious around his fiance. But for whatever reason, I was totally okay this whole weekend, more social than I usually am. I can't remember when I've laughed this much.
I'm still dying at the near heart attack B had when our neighbor rang the doorbell... and seeing him standing on the toilet (with the seat up!!) to look out the window and figure out who it was (afraid of it being his now ex)... when the damn bathroom window is on the back left of the house and the door is on the front right. 😂😂😂
Anyway, this was a long rambling entry about people other than me. I just wanted to write something. This was such a fun and enjoyable weekend all around. In the back of my mind, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but really trying just to enjoy the here and now. This was the weekend I've been needing for a loooooong time. I felt so normal for once.
My friend and roommate, B, who is also my ex-fiance, finally told me today that he sees how his new relationship is toxic. Dear god, finally.
This situation is only complicated by the fact that he cheated on me with her, thus leading to our break-up and my spiral into depression once again.
But it's been 7 months or so, and in that time, B and I have gone through the stages of break-up pain and somehow came out of it as really good friends, especially after his surgery. We've been able to sit down and talk for hours about everything and anything going on in our lives. It's been great.
But as sweet as his girlfriend is to me, I've apparently become a reason for her to pick fights with him. She still lives with her ex, too, but it's not a great situation and she'll move this fall. But while she can hang out with me, chat with me, ask for advice and help, look up to me and my "strength," and be really supportive of me... behind the scenes, it seems that she's trying to pressure B to kick me out and guilt him into letting her move in. Eek!! She's talking to him about having a baby to help "kick start" her life and responsibilities, because getting a dog didn't do it for her.
B, of course, crying this morning because of all this... How much she reminds him of his ex-wife (volatile, narcissistic, immature, etc). How he doesn't know how he could've choosen her over me. How unstable she is. How he does not want her moving in with him because he can't trust that she'll be responsible (since she's not now). How anytime they argue or she's not pleased with him about anything, she says that she's going to cut or **** herself.
Just today, she left early this morning and apparently assumed that he would follow her (without actually asking him to). Said she waited down the road for half an hour, texting him constantly (he was talking to me about all this at this point). She assumed he was upset with her. So when he explained his perspective of her leaving (that she had to take care of her dog, and hadn't been home in a while), said he had things to do today, and tried to calm her down, she texted him a bit later that she cut her legs again, "deeper than before," "not deep enough," but that she's "getting braver." He tried to call her, but she declined it, texting that she didn't want to talk. (Which is her usual M.O. ...get upset with B, say hurtful things and deny anything he tries to say, and then refuses to talk.)
B knows this is a toxic relationship and that what he's going through because of her is inexcusable. He knows that for his sake he needs to end it...but he's afraid that she'll try to **** herself if he does. I try to talk to him, to help him understand that he needs to take care of himself, that he can't be guilted or manipulated into maintaining a relationship that leaves him feeling chained and miserable. He told me that he's secretly hoping that she'll end the relationship...the little chicken sh--!!
Ahh but now that she's told him she's cut herself over this and no one wants to help her (on a waiting list for a psychiatrist apparently, has a psychologist who's urged her to go on a voluntary hold, which she refuses, and says she's been waiting for 20 minutes for an online suicide chat), he feels obligated to fix things. As much as he doesn't want to, he's going down to her house right now to check on her. He says "I don't know what else to do."
And sadly, he feels bad about leaving ME to go to her because he knows I've been in an awful place recently. He was on vacation for a week and a half, and the first 3 days after he got back was pretty much exclusively spent with her, until this morning when she left. We didn't even speak a word to each other yesterday because she was making a big fuss about god knows what. He feels bad about what this is doing to me, too, because he knows that I'm in a bad place and cares about me. But I told him I'll be fine, I can take care of myself. I'm just working anyway. Truthfully, all I needed these last few days/week was just a little of his companionship. He knows how to calm me down. I think that's why I was crying so much yesterday, I reached a breaking point and my friend was unavailable because of his narcissistic and toxic girlfriend.
I just hope he has the strength to take care of himself and not let her pull him down any further. I've never seen him as upset and tearful as he's been because of her. He even broke his damn windshield because of his frustration with her and the relationship a few months ago (when he broke up with her, only to, as he said "take it all back for whatever reason" an hour later). Yet every time this happens, he gives in to her outbursts, accepts all fault, and comes back to me saying "we worked it out, I think I'm finally getting through to her."
She's talked to me before about him. She thinks he's bipolar (he's definitely not), and that their issues stem from him overreacting to her problems, making a big deal, calming down later, and apologizing. That he's always willing to sacrifice their relationship when he doesn't get his way.
Now I know him really well. I've never gotten any of that kind of impression from him. That's just not what he's like. But she's projecting everything on to him. He admits fault when he's caused problems between them (and even when he hasn't); she never has. I worry that he'll get to her house today and apologize for doing absolutely nothing wrong (aside from not following her when she never asked him to, and apparently not wanting sex this morning). He'll just want to make her feel better and not **** herself. He'll apologize and say whatever he has to, which will only reinforce this immature and manipulative behavior of hers.
He needs to get out of this relationship. He is supremely depressed and anxious about it. But there's only so many ways and times that I, his ex-fiance, can tell him that.
Ugh, so much for a short vent. I just feel awful watching this all happen and not being able to do anything about it.
I'm not used to being wholly and completely alone. Intellectually and rationally, I know that's why I should be. As all the motivational quotes and articles say, you have to love yourself before others can love you; you can't expect to find your own happiness in someone else; and other b.s. like that.
I don't even know what to think about it anymore. Maybe if I was healthier emotionally, it'd be easier for me to be without a relationship or close friendships. But truthfully, even when I had those things, they were usually broken. Maybe I've been alone all this time without realizing it. I've certainly not been emotionally healthy all that time.
But at this point in life, I am very much on my own. Sure, I have acquaintances I can chat with occasionally, but even though they vaguely know about my troubles, I can't bring myself to reach out to any of them in particularly bad moments. I can talk in detail with my ex, and I know he'd be there whenever I need it, but he has a life of his own, and there's only so many times I can cry and say I feel bad/lonely/useless/anxious/etc for no particular reason before I feel like an annoyance.
I don't really know what this entry was meant for except that I'm feeling acutely lonely tonight. Actually the word of the evening is "unimportant." I feel unimportant.
The most annoying part of this is that I understand that depression can cause all of this negative self-talk and cognitive bias. Intellectually, I can usually recognize that this is all "the disease," but then, I don't have a lot of evidence in my actual life to prove otherwise. So what's true?
I don't know. This could be gibberish. But I know that I will go to sleep (hopefully soon) and wake up to "work" all day and go about the time until I sleep again trying to distract myself from falling too deeply into these feelings lest I won't be able to stand up again.
I pulled out my laptop to write - I'm expecting this to be a saga.
I don't know what I'm going to write or why, only that I feel this pressure from deep inside. I feel like a pressure cooker. I need to let the steam off, but I don't even know what's cooking.
This episode began nearly 6 months ago. Compared to then, I'm doing much better. Compared to then. But I don't feel good. I don't really know what good is, to be honest. Most of my life has been a constant ebb and flow between functional depression, anhedonia, and comfort. I fell into the darkest pit I've ever know when this wretched year began. I've harmed myself. I've very seriously felt I needed to off myself. I've taken the steps to do so. I've given myself to others. I've been hurt and hurt and hurt. I've caused hurt and hurt and hurt.
I trip with every step I take. Sometimes I fall flat on my face and sometimes I'm able to recover with bumbling grace. I don't feel like I'm moving forward, but my days of not eating or sleeping, of crying randomly and constantly, of feeling like I was on my deathbed, are so far away.
I've let myself trust, either out of pure naivete or desperation. How foolish to let myself believe that those who can give me relief, who can make me smile and laugh and feel comfortable. How foolish to believe in the promises and presumed intentions. I'm not better myself. I hurt just the same as I've been hurt. I don't feel good about. I really don't feel good about anything that's happened this year. I feel like a fool. A naive, thoughtless fool who keeps letting herself get taken advantage of. But I have no will to fight it. Part of me doesn't even really care. Part of my is disappointed in myself for believing that there can be good around me. I'm toxic. She who is desperate for companionship pushes them all away.
But, you know, somehow this is better than I was in January. All I've experienced this year has only confirmed what I've thought about myself for a long time. It just took a few decades to be exposed.
Don't get me wrong, I know I have some good in me. I know I have some value, somewhere. Even if it's just being a prop in other people's lives. See, now I'm just being self-pitying and self-deprecating. It's funny, too, because I hate seeing this in others, and here I am, hating on myself.
After the paralysis of this depression began to life, I threw myself headfirst into "hobbies." I'm told I've gotten fairly good at painting (though I only the problems on my canvases). I've started making hair accessories from leather and metal, and while I think they're amateur and pedestrian, I've had strangers tell me they'd willingly buy them if I ever decide to sell. So why can't I see the good? Why can't I be happy and proud and satisfied? Why does my mind prefer instead to remind me that I'm worthless and don't deserve to be alive? Why does it tell me that I'm a waste of flesh and breath?
I'm guilty and embarrassed by some of what's happened this year. I'm disillusioned with myself and some of the decisions I've made. I could blame it on the depression, but I won't. I think this is just who I really am. This is the first time that I've been single since 2005. I think what my life is now is what relationships have been masking for 13 years. This is me. Hopelessly depressed with a thread of light that's only plucked in the company of kind words. I see my flaws but fall vulnerable to a smile. I give myself with a single touch. I have a powerful brain, but I talk without using it. The thought of having a partner in my life has vanished with some foolish words and a cruel neglect.
Am I too clingy? Do I have the amazing skill of speaking out of turn? Does my compulsively picked skin and ratty hair not hang well from a strong arm? Do the ladies and gentlemen not crave the companionship of a strong but troubled mind, face, heart, body?
My hand hurts from spending all day painting. A canvas of blurry, distant, and dark foliage with bleeding sunflowers. A requested piece for someone I like but shouldn't. A girl who's been nothing but kind to me, whose presence reminds me of my failures. She looks up to me, but she doesn't know that I think she's better. Underneath the top layers of paint, on the original sketch, I included flowers with poisonous negative symbolism, to counterbalance the flower she really wanted. I painted them in detail and then washed the canvas with green and black and brown paint for a different idea. But they're still buried under the new beginning. I feel bad...but then, I'm toxic.
I am only a decent person in the service of others. In my head and when I'm alone, I'm vengeful and jealous. I am misanthropic. I am critical and worthless. And that all vanishes, without any conscious effort, once there's someone else in any way, shape, or form. I am a better person with others involved. I supposed I'm not meant to be alone. What a cruel joke - having a life in need of others but overflowing with anxiety when it comes to others. This is a cruel world! Cruel, cold world.
Well, this brought about some unfortunate self-awareness. Onward I go. I will live to fight another day.
Sometimes I feel uncomfortable about my depression and anxiety, especially here.
Compared to a lot of people, I've had a decent life so far. Not great, but not awful. Parents divorced and hated each other, but still provided for my brother and me. I've struggled to get along with my mother since I hit preteen years and with my father since I reached late teens. I do still see and talk to my mom periodically, but not my dad.
We've always been a working poor family but got most things second hand and through the food banks. I've been fairly successful at finances as an adult thanks to living a very frugal childhood. My parents were not very actively involved in my life, so I became pretty independent from an early age. I pushed myself to do well in school and put myself through college, the first in my family, and did very well there.
I've never been subject to any physical or verbal abuse. Perhaps there may have been some benign emotional neglect in our independent household and later in life some manipulative sexual abuse. But overall, I skipped past any traumatic tragedy.
On the whole, I'm capable of taking care of myself in nearly every aspect of my life because I always have. That's just status quo for me. I survive.
But when it comes to depression, I feel so... trivial. I studied psychology in college and spent 4 years working for a depression research program. I keep up-to-date with research as much as I can. I UNDERSTAND depression. I get it. I know that tragedy is not a prerequisite. But I feel unworthy of help and support and silly for complaining because from the outside, I have an okay life. And I worked insanely hard to have my okay life because I've never wanted to live helplessly in poverty and misery the way I grew up. But I do recognize that from the outside, it feels like I have no reason to complain.
On the inside, my world is bleak and sad and filled with anxiety about everything and anything. It's lonely, even around others who I know have "been there" too. It's always seeing the negative. It's a roller coaster of emotions when I don't know whether I'll wake up hopeful and energized or melancholic and exhausted. It's not trusting others because what if...? It's doubting everything about myself no matter how many times I'm told or have evidence to the contrary. It's the thought, popping into my mind "out of nowhere" throughout most days, that "I should be dead," "I wish I was dead," or any conceivable variation. It's wearing a smile and laughing and encouraging others because I can't bear the thought of being a burden AGAIN or of repeating the same miserable thoughts that keep passing through my mind day after day. It's feeling like a lazy slob when I spend most of my time in bed or avoiding others or the outside. It's beating myself up over social interactions yesterday and 5 years ago. It's standing up for myself and then feeling like a selfish fool. It's downplaying any achievements and up-playling faults. It's always expecting the worst. It's trying to better myself and keep busy and work on hobbies only to feel woefully inadequate, to feel like a fraud and a phony. It's a constantly revolving door of pessimism, optimism, sadness, happiness, anxiety, hopefulness, misery, pleasure, insecurity, confidence, turmoil, and peacefulness.
This has been my life for at least 15 years. The anxiety is number one. The depression rises and falls, sometimes with triggering events, sometimes without but always living ominously in the background, ebbing and flowing at will. But the anxiety is always there, clinging to my neck and choking me every chance it gets.
Like I said, I'm a survivor. I always get through things somehow, even when I don't understand how I did. I feel like I have the pieces of a quiet warrior inside me - always pushing me through but never whole enough to take over, to push the blackness away for good.
But the point of this... I read so many tragic and terrible stories here. The things that so many have gone through... To still be surviving and pushing on...I can't imagine that kind of strength. I look at my life and think why the hell can't I get it together?? I know depression is equal opportunity and has many variables, but it's hard not to feel like a fraud.
I try to do my part and offer encouragement and support when I can. I try to be helpful, here and in real life. I try to be a good, honest, and virtuous person. But I feel so inadequate complaining about my own melancholy. I feel like a fraud, and it honestly makes me feel so much worse.
I have no obvious point for writing here right now, but it's late (1am) and I'm not tired at all, so here I am.
This week was rough. I was very panicky and sensitive. My thoughts were running wild and I was having trouble fighting them. Pure misery. It culminated in a couple long crying spells on Independence day (of all days...). It'd been a while since I've had panicky crying fits like that.
My mood devolves like that when I start to focus on how crappy my life feels compared to the people around me - when I feel jealous, bitter, inferior, etc. I hate it, but sometimes I just can't control it. I think the trigger this time was all the time B spent with A. I like both of them very much... individually, but when they're together doing couple-y things, I just think about all the sh*t I've gone through this year, and it wrecks me.
I vented some of the awful thoughts that passed through my mind and got the reassurance my mind craves (for the hundredth time). I felt fine enough to enjoy some neighborhood fireworks.
Of course, the next day, I was down again, feeling like I made a fool of myself. Lived with that for a day until I got some more reassurance. I hate so much how much reassurance I need to feel okay. My biggest goal right now is learning to feel good about myself without the influence of others.
But I've been doing well since then. Renewed my wire-work hobby. Did all my house work this morning. And am going to try to learn some leatherwork tomorrow.
On the whole, okay days are starting to outnumber the bad days and I'm starting to feel like I have a better sense of myself. But the bad days are so bad! I know I have plenty of things to work on, but most of the time I'm just so tired of trying to be strong and of fighting for myself and of dealing with these damn negative thoughts. I get so tired and just want to give up and sleep in bed for the rest of my life.
It feels like when I'm down and can't get out of bed, I'm conserving all this energy, and eventually it kicks in and I have a string of good days. And once that conserved energy is spent, I'm right back in the hole again. I can't stand the roller coaster.
BUT I do recognize that I'm not nearly as bad as I was in the past. I'm grateful for that and do see (sometimes) that I'm a strong person and doing the best I can. I just wish I could remember all that when I slide back into the pit of despair.
I've been doing relatively well lately, at least compared to the first half of this year. I want to figure out how this happened so that I can keep it going, but I also want to enjoy this time and take advantage of it to move my life forward, once I figure out what forward is.
Because I know how depression works and I understand that chronic clinical depression can rear it ugly head once I drop my guard, and I'm not strong enough to hold that guard up forever. I also know that I'm still vulnerable and one setback can send me down into the pit.
I'm waiting for the waves to pull me under again.
My life is far from where I want it, and I really don't know how to get it there. Or if it even matters anymore.
I'm not happy exactly, but I'm not painfully depressed. All I'm concerned about right now is enjoying simple pleasures and not getting bogged down in the worst of the world. It's unbelievably exhausting, though. Depression is such a terribly tiring thing to cope with. As well as I'm doing, I'm just tired of being strong, even though that's my only option. It's either that or withering away to a tragic life in the shadows and a quiet ending alone.
This entry really has no point. I'm just going to try to enjoy what I can of life before the tidal waves come along again.
I want to thank you for showing up in my life again. If there's been one constant in my adult life about you, it's your ability to show up after I've given up on you.
As you now know, my email address and phone number haven't changed in at least a decade. You've had the ability to contact me whenever you wanted, but you never wanted to, I guess.
I first saw who you truly are at age 18. You became distant when you no longer had to pay child support (thank you, again, for letting me know that on my 18th birthday) and when my brother was in another country with the army. You know it hurts an insecure, depressed teenager to feel like she's not good enough without her brother around.
And when I started college, you were all but gone. You stopped calling and wanting to see me. You complained to my brother, who was in Iraq, about hardships in your life, like feeling overworked at your sh*tty job and feeling lonely. You complained to him about me; you lied to him, saying that you've called and written to me but I was ignoring all of your attempts. You don't think my brother forwarded me all of your lies? He stuck up for me more than you ever did - even while serving in another country.
But I eventually gave you another chance.
Then, what?, you found your crazy pothead girlfriend? You disappeared completely at that point. Ran off and married her, right? Or was that the next woman? You missed my college graduation - the first person in our family to even go to college. Was it worth it? You missed my brother's wedding. Was it worth it?
And then your wife died, apparently. I only know that because your dad, my only grandfather, died shortly after. Of course I went to his funeral. Do you realize how anxious and terrified I was to go to my own grandfather's funeral because you would be there?
But I gave you another chance.
We met for dinner a couple times. For our last dinner - the last time I would see you or talk to you - you asked if you could bring a "special friend." You didn't end up bringing her, but you sure did vanish again pretty quickly after that.
I already knew you got married for the third time. I do see your family on Facebook. I guess I wasn't important enough - you chose to be in her life and not mine.
No, you only tried to contact me because you found out how weak I am these days. Your niece filled you in on my current struggle with depression. How pathetic. You do realize that the sense of worthlessness and inability to trust I've been feeling for so many years partly came from how you treated me for most of my life, right? You treated me like I'm dispensable, only wanted to connect with me when you didn't have a woman in your life, when you were depressed and lonely.
I've given you a few chances now, and you've betrayed me every time. Now you call and email and text me saying you're different now, things have changed. You apologized for letting the years go by and take all the fault. Why did you wait until I'm in a weak, depressive state to talk to me? Don't you realize how much that hurts? Don't you realize how vulnerable I am? Maybe you do. Maybe you realized that this might be the most effective time to guilt me into a relationship again with your sad voice and pleading words.
You see how I can't trust? You see how much I doubt your motives after more than a decade of this back and forth? Why should I let you back in? I'm trying not to let you make me feel bad for defending my feelings and mental health. No, you can wait until I'm ready, if I ever am. You can live with that self-doubt and pain of being rejected by your flesh and blood.
Just know that I'm doing great right now. I don't give a sh*t about the depression. I've been taking care of myself for a long time, I'm strong, and I will get through this like I always have. Because this isn't the first time. And it won't be the last. This is the time when I discover my strength and conviction and assertiveness, because I'm tired of being let down and tossed around like a rag doll. This is the time I let you and everyone else see that I am more than just capable of keeping my head above water, afraid of making waves. It's a shame, too, because I have a big heart and I enjoy spreading love and happiness around, but you might've used up your last chance to experience that - I haven't decided yet. But this time it's my decision.
Thank you for the push to assert myself. I couldn't have done it without you.
Sincerely, Your Daughter