Hello from the darkness

Hey internet friends,

I’m not in a super great place today, but that’s like half my life at this point, so I’m over it. I figured I would greet you from the void, and let you know what I’ve been up to.

The Fall term is almost finished, and I write my first of four finals next Monday. I feel pretty confident and caught up on the material. So that’s pretty good.

I’ve been seeing my family more often than usual, which will only increase during the holidays, so I guess I’m covering that base pretty decently.

I haven’t overdosed or self-harmed in around a month and a half (maybe two months?), and I am eating a varied and sufficient diet.

Oh, and I’ve been going to the gym. Yaaaaay endorphins.

Overall, things have been a LOT better than they were in September and October. But a feeling of loneliness constantly looms over me, and it often triggers a depression-loneliness-self-loathing spiral of doom. Currently, I am in one of those spirals. I hate studying and I hate going to the gym and I hate seeing friends and I can’t imagine feeling happy ever again. I feel completely alone and cut off from the world, and I’m pretty sure nobody loves me and nobody will ever love me and this will be the rest of my life and then I’ll die. But like whatever.

I miss her again. Not her exactly, but the way she made me feel in the beginning. This time last year, I was completely head over heels for my ex. We hung out everyday. We did other things everyday. We always wanted to be around each other. I felt things that I had never felt in my previous relationships. After January, everything went to hell, but last December was incredible.And this December won’t be.

I know it’s pathetic, but I am just desperate to feel that way again. I probably need to learn how to cope with loneliness instead of jumping into a new relationship, but that sounds difficult and unpleasant. So I swipe through the approximately 6 queer women on Tinder, hoping a message turns into a coffee date turns into something more.

I could work on building friendships instead, but there haven’t been many social events lately as everyone is studying for finals. And again, solid friendships won’t bring back the feeling I miss more than anything.

That’s about all I have to say, and I’m not really sure how to conclude this. There isn’t a happy ending or a silver lining… at least not yet. Essentially, I just wanted to vomit depression all over everybody. Sorry.

But I certainly feel hope that things might get better. And that’s enough for today. I’ll sit here in this hole until that “getting better” thing comes to fruition.

Until then, hello from the darkness!

Sarah

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Old Unfinished Post: The 5 Stages of Relationship Grief

I wrote this half-post about a week after my ex broke up with me. I was able to analyze my initial emotional reactions to the breakup, and it was easy to map them onto the infamous stages of grief. But when I got closer to describing my present emotions, the categorization seemed much less clear. I think this is because I hadn’t yet processed these fresh feelings, so even putting a name to them was impossible.

Regardless of the reason, I abandoned the post, and it has been sitting alone in my “drafts” ever since. I don’t want to delete this record of my experience, so I figure I may as well post it.

Without further ado, I hereby present “The 5 Stages of Relationship Grief”

I am fortunate enough to have never had anyone close to me pass away.

So when I began to notice parallels between my feelings of heartbreak and the infamous “5 Stages of Grief”, I was reluctant to verbalize this or even validate it. What I am experiencing is “just a breakup” and is nothing compared to the devastation of losing someone.

When I met with my counselor last Wednesday, she provided me with the validation I denied myself. She told me that the brain reacts to breakups and grief in similar ways. I make no claims as to the comparative severity of my pain, as pain is subjective. I am only stating that my current struggle bears similarities to the grieving process.

I am currently experiencing my first heartbreak. What struck me about this process was that the pain existed in several “layers”. One painful feeling would pass only to be replaced by an emotion that was very different, yet equally painful. I feel like I am mourning several tragedies at once, never entirely sure which form tomorrow’s pain will take.

My emotions during this time align quite accurately with the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Experts say that these stages are not experienced linearly. They are not consecutive levels that, once beaten,  conclude with complete recovery. This is consistent with my experience. I move between the various emotions often and unpredictably.

So, here is a summary of what I have experienced since my ex-girlfriend broke up with me one week ago.

Anger

Surprisingly, my initial reaction to the breakup was anger. I immediately told my now-ex-girlfriend to gather her belongings and leave my house. I then proceeded to send her a slew of hateful text messages.I said things I am not proud of, consumed by a rage-fueled compulsion to inflict on her the pain she had just caused me.

Denial

The day of the breakup, I didn’t tell my parents. I cancelled our plans to have dinner with my mom the following day, but didn’t give a reason. My ex and I had broken up once in the past, and were back together within 24 hours. I did not desire to have the embarrassing “nevermind” conversation. I was constantly expecting a phone call, a knock on the door, a text message, some form of my girlfriend telling me she wished to reunite. That never came.

I began calling her obsessively, dozens of times in a row. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I would call her. When she blocked me on Facebook chat, I tried Google Hangouts. I sent her texts. I sent her e-mails. I couldn’t stop. In my mind, the woman who loved me and wanted to be with me was still there, and I wanted to hear her voice. I wanted that more than anything in the world.

Anger

When my attempts to contact my girlfriend went unanswered for days, I was forced to accept the fact that we would not be reconciling. This breakup was permanent. My anger returned, and so did the nasty texts.

Acceptance

At some point, I stopped caring about my ex. I resented the way she had handled our breakup, and I no longer wished to be with her. I felt empowered, and got excited about finding someone better.

Denial

One night, I became incredibly frustrated that I had not yet received a real explanation for the breakup. I knew I deserved this, and was going to get it.

Bargaining

 

Depression/ Anger

 

?

 

 

Sad

I’ve been posting a little bit less lately. At least I think that’s the case.

Regardless, I’ve been doing better. A lot better. And I tend to write less when that happens.

I’m really coming out the other side of this. It’s now been over two months since the breakup, and I think about it less every week. I’ve been eating enough, going to the gym, keeping up in school, and most importantly, staying out of the hospital.

But obviously, since I am posting today, something is wrong. And something is. But not really.

Nothing bad has happened. I have been to plenty of social events this past week. I’m doing well in school. The weather has been nice. I no longer miss ex girlfriend or the relationship I had with her, because I can see how toxic and unpleasant it was. But I’m still sad.

Maybe it’s because it’s been almost exactly one year since I met her. Maybe it’s because I had an extra lecture with her this week. Maybe it’s because I’m on my period. But I just feel really… sad.

I guess I’m disappointed that things turned out the way they did. I felt so much excitement when my relationship was beginning, and even though it went to shit by January, I grieve for the relationship I thought I would have and for the person I thought my ex was.

That relationship felt so special, that I still sometimes have trouble believing that it ended. Part of me really thought I would end up with this girl. And while I certainly no longer want that, I feel so horribly sad for the girl a few months ago who did.

I don’t know if this makes any sense. But I hope everyone is well and I’ll try to write again soon (maybe even without being sad!).

Sarah

Bad Day

Basically what it sounds like; my day was shit.

I woke up ill-prepared for the Algebra midterm I had to write at 3:30. I had a doctor’s appointment, then studied, then attended a friend’s talk on Graph Theory, studied again, then headed towards the building where I would write my test.

Not only is Algebra my most difficult class; it is also the class my ex is in. The anxiety of seeing her compounded the already-high anxiety about the midterm, and it wasn’t fun. We ended up entering the building at around the same time, which is when I decided it was high time to take a half-milligram of Ativan. The second half-milligram was taken immediately after the test, when I no longer required cognitive abilities but was acutely aware of my poor performance.

I should mention that there is a Math and Stats Pub night currently taking place at my local pub. I know that sounds incredibly boring, but it’s a lot of fun, and there’s free appetizers. I have been planning on going for weeks because I’m working hard on being more social. I found out this morning that my ex (who is also in the Math department) was planning on going with a little posse she had assembled, undoubtedly as a power move to stake her territory with Math people. I know I sound ridiculous, but she NEVER wanted to go out when we were together. Why would she lobby her friends so hard to go with her? It’s just a little suspicious.

But anyways, I ended up not going, because of fuck that shit. At first, I planned to hold my ground and go to pub night anyways, but nobody I know is going, and I can’t look pathetic by myself while she laughs with her stupid friends. I have actually been really pissed about this all day.

I am aware that my current mental state is 80% caused by lack of sleep, 10% caused by academic stress, and maaaaaaybe 10% caused by my ex being an asshole. I have been feeling great these past few days, and I am more over my ex than ever. But today, I find myself wanting to do very destructive things (that I won’t do, don’t worry).

Anyways, time for me to go to bed.

Sarah

 

I (Actually Don’t) Miss Her

Today is the first day since my breakup that I do not miss my ex-girlfriend.

As I continue to gain distance from the relationship, I become more and more aware that it was riddled with problems. But today, I found some old screenshots from arguments we had (They were taken in the context of venting to my best friend). This made me remember how many stupid fights we had. How often I felt like my ex didn’t care about me. How often she complained about trivial issues when I was in the middle of a crisis.

Like I said, I have already accepted that my relationship had problems. But I didn’t realize until today how prevalent these problems were. My memories of the past year are coated in nostalgia that I’m finally realizing is undeserved. I was never happy with my ex.

During the past year, my anxiety worsened, and my depression improved but stubbornly lingered through months of consistent eating, multiple med changes, and countless therapy appointments. I thought all of this was my fault. I was crazy. I was broken. That’s why I was so unhappy all the time. My girlfriend was the epitome of selflessness for putting up with my flaws.

I now realize that these thoughts were incorrect. I have the capacity to be happy when I’m not in a stifling, anxiety-provoking relationship that causes me to hate myself and neglect my needs.

This post isn’t about bashing my ex. She handled the breakup in an incredibly shitty way, but our problems were not necessarily her fault. We were two unhealthy, incompatible people who tried to be happy together and it didn’t work. I’m bashing the dynamic more than the person I shared it with.

Anyways, this post has a negative vibe to it, but this is an incredibly positive development. I do not miss my ex today. I do not miss our relationship. I am excited to be free from that toxic situation. I am beginning to emerge from the deep pit of my depression and feel the sun on my skin. And I’ve never felt anything better.

Sarah

 

 

Reasons why my breakup was a positive thing

I met with my therapist today, and we spent the session discussing various negative thoughts and emotions I have been having with regards to my breakup. I mentioned that I have been increasingly considering it in a positive light, but that I often forget my reasons for thinking this way, and return to feelings of sadness and regret. She suggested that I write out the reasons why I am ultimately happy the breakup occurred, so that’s what this post is.

Behold, the various reasons why my breakup was a positive thing:

  1. My relationship had a lot of problems, many of which were not clear to me until recently, when I finally had enough distance from it to gain perspective. For example, my girlfriend and I had a hard time communicating, and this lead to many arguments. Additionally, I often felt like my girlfriend didn’t care about me. At the time, I attributed this to my own insecurities, but in retrospect, there are things I need in order to feel cared for in a relationship, and she was unable to provide those things. However, I was very comfortable in this relationship, and very uncomfortable with the prospect of being alone. I don’t think I would have left the relationship myself, meaning I wouldn’t have the opportunity to find something better. I have that now.
  2. I have learned a lot about myself during the past month-and-a-half. I have been through absolute hell, and am now beginning to emerge out the other side. I did not think I would be able to cope with this, but I was. Not only that, but I have been actively seeking out help and working tremendously hard in order to feel better. I see my doctor and counselor weekly, as well as my psychiatrist every 2-3 weeks. I have begun to exercise again, despite the lack of motivation that accompanies severe depression. I am currently fighting my lack of appetite (and the Anorexic thoughts that resurfaced when this lack of appetite lead to weight loss) to nourish my body and mind. I have attended counseling groups I wanted to skip, used DBT skills I thought were stupid, and done therapy “homework” I didn’t want to do. I have learned that I am much stronger than I thought, and that’s really cool.
  3. This breakup has forced me to better myself. I didn’t notice at the time, but I largely neglected my personal development when I was in a relationship. I didn’t challenge my social anxiety and meet new people, because most of my time was spent with my girlfriend. I didn’t put much effort into counselling, because I felt “fine” a lot of the time. I even neglected schoolwork to spend more time with my girlfriend. This year, everything is different. I am expanding my social circle, working hard to recover from ALL of my mental health concerns, and spending my time and effort keeping up in my classes and taking care of myself.
  4. I am currently facing my biggest fear: being alone. A lot of my mental health concerns stem from this fear. Loneliness is a huge trigger for my depression,my eating disorder was both a friend in itself and a way to make people care about me, and my social anxiety likely developed (at least partially) from a fear of driving people away. I should note that I am by no means completely alone. I have family members who love me (in their own ways), and who keep trying to spend time with me. I have an INCREDIBLE best friend/ roommate, who visits me in the hospital every time I end up there (despite the fact that hospitals trigger her PTSD), who goes to social events and the gym with me so I actually go, and who is always ready to listen in the rare event that I choose to actually talk about my feelings like a grownup. I have amazing healthcare providers, who miraculously fit me into their schedules every 1-2 weeks. And I have a number of more peripheral friends, who have certainly made a difference as well. Nevertheless, I feel much more alone than I did when I was in a relationship, and that has been hell, but I am surviving it. I think that in the future, I will be less dependent on my significant other, and will not be as afraid to leave a relationship that isn’t working.
  5. Everything is about me right now. I spend my time the way I want to spend it, consider post-graduation plans that fulfill my dreams, and run errands when I feel like running them. My ex certainly did not control these aspects of my life, but I felt like I needed to consider her in every decision, so I did. I no longer feel that obligation, and it is incredibly freeing. I could cut all my hair off tomorrow and not give a fuck about anybody’s opinion of it. I can try new things and make new experiences without fear of a significant other’s disapproval. I can figure out who I am, after having this process stifled for years by the church and by illnesses.

So yes, I have experienced a tremendous amount of pain recently. And more than once, I took actions that could have ended the life I am now excited to live. I still deal with sadness and depression on a daily basis. But I believe that this experience has been worth it, for the reasons I have listed. I’m glad that the worst is over and hope I don’t experience anything like this again for a little while, but I feel grateful for everything I have gained from this experience, and I would not take it back if I had the chance. If you had told me even two weeks ago that I would be saying these things, I wouldn’t believe it. But I am. And that is everything.