The Weekend My Feelings Did A 180
This weekend back home changed everything.
On Saturday I woke up and my girlfriend left for a vacation with her family. She’s gone for a week, and it was so hard to say goodbye. I’d be in that lonely apartment for a week, alone and bored and trapped with my feelings. I was not looking forward to it. So later that afternoon I texted my old best friend Val. We set up plans for dinner, and I set off on for my two and a half hour drive. I needed this trip home badly. Everything was going to shit in my mind; I had become reckless, let my thoughts wander into ideas of self-harm, I wasn’t talking about what was getting under my skin to anyone, and there were frequent periods of crying. Depression’s symptoms were starting to emerge and it scared me. It scared me how secretive and closed-off I had become, how quickly my self-esteem had plummeted. But it would be okay—I was going to hang out with Val, I was driving in the sunlight listening to the radio play those catchy summer songs. Sure, my feelings were shitty, my parents were putting my dog to sleep that day, and my girlfriend was gone for a week, but I could handle it. I’d get through this. I was trying to fix it.
And then my phone dinged. It was Fred. Immediately I was happy because I had been wanting to know if he was free that night to hang out with me and Val, but this message wasn’t about that.
“Honestly, I’ve slept with another person. Sleeping with them has not changed how I feel about you or the various possible futures that exist. I’m sorry that this might hurt to hear, but if it is an inevitable obstacle, we might as well face it sooner rather than later. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you would like to not talk to me, that’s okay too. I’m following your lead.”
And there it was. I managed to stay on the road for five minutes or so before pulling off at some exit, crying my eyes out. I had no reason to be jealous or upset, we were broken up and he was single and free to do whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted, but I was completely heartbroken. I gave this person everything…he knew all of my secrets, my hopes and dreams…he knew my family and accepted them despite their many flaws…he had seen all the old scars, held me when I cried, made me laugh countless times, went on road trips with me, danced with me, drank with me, fell asleep holding me, fell in love with me. And now he was moving on, and giving someone else his time and affection…and though I love my girlfriend I wanted him to still love me as I loved him. So eventually I got back on the highway, cold and numb and angry. And when I got into the suburbia where Val lived I went to the nearest store and bought two things: razor blades and band-aids. And I knew what I would do would be wrong, and that deep down I didn’t want to cut myself, but I didn’t care. I was done trying to fight it. So I sat in my car, in the parking lot, ready to cut and patch myself up before seeing Val, but I didn’t. I just drove to her place instead, and we went to dinner. I told her everything, not right away, but eventually. I told her everything except about the razors. (I didn’t use them until later that night, when I was too drunk to tell what I was doing and too tired to do anything other than some thin, tiny cuts.) And then I decided it would be best to try to see Fred, because if Val was with me than I could get through it. So we finished our dinner and went up into the city and had adventures and talked more and we rounded up Fred and went back to his place, drinking and smoking and talking the way old friends do. I still felt the pain deep inside my heart, but I also felt happier than I had in a long time because I was there and alive and was able to handle seeing him.
We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning and fell asleep together, all slumped on the bed. When I woke up I knew I had forgiven Fred, and that every decision I had made that night was something I didn’t regret. I had gotten back some of the pieces of myself that had been missing over the past few weeks, and even though I still hurt I could feel confident that I was still the same person I had always been, and that I’d get through this the same way I got through everything else.
And here I am, a three days later. After spending Sunday with Val and Fred I headed back to my college town, and spent yesterday working on my online class at my job, and then training for my internship. I didn’t once feel scared or lonely, and actually enjoyed my time to myself. I’m not foolish enough to believe that my problems have disappeared or that everything is suddenly fine, but I do think I’m feeling strong enough to face these issues more directly than I have in the past couple of weeks.
Basically, I wrote this post for my readers who have experience with depression. I know what it’s like to remember all the pain, all the work it takes to get through these feelings, and not want to admit to yourself that you may be on the verge of being depressed again. When I was talking to my friend Val she said, “I think you need to start seeing someone again.” “Like a therapist?” I asked. “Yeah.” And then I told her how much I didn’t want to do that. Because even though I believe in therapy with all of my heart, and know that it has worked miracles for me in the past, I didn’t want to go back because I would feel like I failed. I didn’t want to feel broken again, to tell another therapist about my time in outpatient, all the support groups, the meds, the coping skills I knew like the back of my hand but couldn’t bring myself to do. And I think a lot of people who struggle with depression feel the same way. We don’t want to go back, to be stuck in the same cycles or taking three steps forward and four steps back. Nobody wants to believe that their whole lives will be plagued by the same problems and same shitty feelings. And I don’t know all the answers to my own depression or anyone else’s, but let me tell you something:
I bought those razors at 6:47pm and was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face at 1am. It doesn’t always change that quickly, but it does change.