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Alone, But Not Lonely

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About three weeks ago, I decided to make a change. I wanted to be alone. As a person who has spent the better part of five years unconsciously trying to avoid being alone, this was sort of a big deal for me. For most of that time I had been jumping from serious relationship to serious relationship…out of love, yes. But also out of fear. After many bouts of depression, I was petrified of being alone and facing my demons; I liked the safety and security of knowing I could always pick up the phone and run to someone who loved me. And while I will never deny the beauty and selflessness of that kind of reliance, I acknowledge now that it wasn’t always healthy for me.

Last January, my partner moved out-of-country. I was screwed, to put it frankly. My friendships were shot to hell; my courage was buried under self-loathing and pity. I withdrew from the world and everyone in it. And from that spiral of depression I hit rock bottom—quit school, quit my job, quit my life in that town and ran back home. Though I was ashamed of these decisions at the time, I don’t regret them. They were scary and awful…and exactly what I needed.

Everybody says to do the things that scare you. This has been my mantra for years. But during most of the time I took that as my excuse to dive into relationships headfirst without taking a breath. What I should have done was take some time: for myself, by myself. I realized all of this about three weeks ago, in the midst of yet another serious relationship.

So we decided to take a break. I needed to know I could still accomplish my dreams of traveling the world, and I needed to know I wasn’t in that relationship simply because it was comfortable. It wasn’t exactly an easy time for us either—medication had made my libido completely evaporate, and the passion between us went with it. I constantly felt guilty because of this, which made me start to distance myself from my partner.

And just like that, we were broken up yet again; I was on my own. And for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t struck by paralyzing fear. I felt okay…the world wasn’t ending; the sunlight had not been buried by clouds. I was free to do whatever I wanted, and I did just that. I spent time at home more, I tackled projects I said I’d do months ago, and I planned new activities to try. I slipped back into a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time: self-reliance. I was alone, yet perfectly content.

Only then did I realize how stressed I had been. The combination of a full-time school schedule, a part-time work schedule, and squeezing relationship-time into all my free time had done a number on me…it wasn’t until I sat in my room one night and let it dawn on me that I had nothing to do…not one thing…that I felt delirious with joy. No more living half my week at my partner’s place, no more driving, packing, planning, and no more feeling guilty for being tired and drained when we finally had a chance to enjoy our time together!

This time by myself has been so important to me… I have woken up, taken charge of my life, and decided what needs to change and what doesn’t. Sometimes that means burning bridges and disappointing the people you love, and other times it means building bridges and letting yourself love more. Like always, I had let my tendency to people-please get the best of me these past months…But now, I feel self-aware enough to say no sometimes, and make my own plans. After all, if I’m not taking care of myself then I can’t give the people in my life the love they deserve.

And they deserve so, so much…

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Here We Go Again…

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Something I don’t find particularly charming about myself is my need to over-analyze my love-life. Maybe I watched too much Sex and The City as a teenager, or maybe it was the attachment to sappy teen romance novels as a preteen, but somehow I’ve turned into one of those people who always has something to fixate over in regards to their heart. And it annoys the crap out of me.

So lately I’ve tried to dial-back the romance talk on my posts, particularly because who really gives a fuck and two of my exes(?) read this. In hindsight, letting my then present-partners see my blog was not my smartest move. Sure, it was great because they got to get to know me, the real me, without the presence of hormones mucking up my thoughts like they do in real life. But it was naïve because later when they both had their moments of assholery, I couldn’t rant about them in an honest way, like I do to my female friends (and Mom). Even now, post break-up, I still watch what I say about both of them, because the written word can always be held against you.

Yep, Fred and Jessie read my blog. Two of the most important significant others that I’ve had (thank God I never revealed this blog to Charles!) stay updated on my recent ramblings, and included in that package is the ramblings about my love life. Therefore, I sometimes like to avoid the subject, but have trouble since one of my major hobbies is pondering, analyzing, and picking-apart my romantic follies. It’s a predicament entirely of my own making, and probably makes all of you readers with better sense laugh and shake your heads, thinking: “Ah, I’m so glad I’m not that crazy mother-fucker…”

But anyway, on with discussing my love life: So, like usual my current situation is a complicated mess that is the result of me trying to do the right thing, but also being young and stupid. Jessie and I broke it off a few weeks ago, right before shit hit the fan and I decided to quit school. It started with “things aren’t working” and ended with him wanting to date someone else. So naturally, I was pissed, because he was being a complete hypocrite. Ever since I told him we should see other people and quit pretending to be nuns/monks (because hello! we live in two separate countries!), he’d been holding it over my head, saying petty shit like, “Well if you really loved me you wouldn’t want to see other people…” But then there he was, wanting to have a legit, full-blown relationship with some other chick. So I didn’t speak to him for an entire week, had my little mental breakdown, and did some soul-searching. Where are we now? We’re better, but still broken up. Since I’ve got a non-refundable ticket to Central America and still care about him a lot, we’re determined to do the whole friends thing while I visit him for a week later this month. But he still flirts with me and considers us something, so I’m wary. Am I still attracted to him? Yes. Do I think sleeping with him during the week we’ll spend together solve any of our problems? No. He doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life, and neither do I, and we broke up for some very valid reasons which haven’t changed despite the fact that he “broke up” with his little side-chick. (See?! You don’t “break up” unless you were legit together! Hypocrite!)

Speaking of, you might say, what about your fuck boy that you’ve mentioned? Well, here’s the thing: I started seeing this fella with zero expectations. He doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life either, and he isn’t into the whole monogamy thing, so we want separate things. Therefore, I was just seeing him casually, going on some dates now-and-then, but not committing to shit. I figured, we like spending time together, so as long as I don’t put him on some sort of boyfriend-potential pedestal it doesn’t matter that we’re seeing each other. But then my grandpa died, and fuck boy was really really nice about it, and then when school was falling apart he was really really nice about that, and the tone of our hanging out changed. I started to trust him, and I think he started to become comfortable with being honest. So now we’re in this place of being best friends, not together, not committed, just enjoying each other in our lives while it lasts…

Yep, the fuck boy is Fred. The same guy I dated for two years who broke my heart into a billion pieces by cheating on me and living two hours away. So you’re probably asking why on earth I’d ever hang out with him again, to which I respond: Look, after a long time of not speaking, Fred and I realized there was still some unresolved things left between us. So rather than go through this huge internal struggle, we just decided to try hanging out a few times and get to know each other all over again. Maybe we’d get along, maybe we wouldn’t, but either way we’d try. And we did. And slowly we became best friends again, confiding in each other about our hopes and dreams and major faults. And despite everything, we’ve accepted each other. So we hang out, and this time we aren’t ruining it by planning a future together or playing the “boyfriend/girlfriend” roles. We just spend time together, simple as that, no monogamy involved. Do I think we’ll run off into the sunset together? Probably not. Like I said, we don’t want the same things, or have any part of our futures figured out. So there it is. All out in the open.

And there’s more, because if you haven’t learned by now, I’m nothing if not complicated. I’ve been on three dates with this girl from Tinder, and I have no clue what is going on. First date was alright, she seemed to like me and was a nice person. I wasn’t sure if I was attracted to her, honestly. Second date was great, we were clicking and I felt something between us. Third date was strange. I was awkward and she was nervous and neither one of us were courageous enough to make a move. I thought I had blown it, really, but now we’ve got a fourth date planned. What she wants from me is a complete mystery, and I have yet to break it to her that I’m soon going to be moving away from college town and therefore can offer her nothing. So like usual, I’m just going with the flow and being a complete jackass.

How do I feel about all of this? Okay I guess…I’m sort of at the point now where all I know is that I’m too fucked up to offer anyone a relationship, so I feel good knowing that Jessie and I are just friends, Fred and I are just friends, and that the Tinder chick and I haven’t hinted at either of our intentions in the slightest. I do feel skeezy about not being straight forward with the Tinder girl, not to mention feeling bad about the inevitable anger of Jessie once he finds out that Mr. Fuck boy is Fred, but Tinder girl is probably better off without me fucking up her life and Jessie will just have to realize that he hasn’t been Mr. Monk-Saint-of-Celibacy either. At the end of the day, I’m still single—belonging to no one but myself and my depression, both of which are making any attempt at a relationship impossible.

So that’s tonight’s post of Something to Make You Feel Better About Your Love Life. Thanks for letting me indulge my self-absorption and divulge my many faults of the heart. See you next week folks, with the a post most likely called Why You Should Never Reveal Anything, Ever.

The Hard Decisions

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I didn’t plan it like this. I have no plan. Maybe that’s a problem, maybe it’s not.

Last night I suddenly found myself asking my partner for a break. It was incredibly hard, because a) I still love her very much b) I knew she would not be happy about taking a break c) I absolutely hate disappointing her, and generally anything that makes her unhappy. But it was the right thing to do, and I have to keep telling myself that despite all of the guilt I feel.

It’s not like I’m unhappy being with her. On the contrary, she makes me so happy and content with life. But there are things I need to learn about myself, and I need to learn them alone. Like, for instance, how to have a life a part from my relationships. I disappear in the people I love, and I stop doing what I need and do what they need instead. And that’s not the worst quality to have, I know, but it’s not fair and it’s not what I want. I want to be able to love someone and be self-reliant at the same time. I want relationships that are healthy, and not functioning as my lifeboat.

She’s an amazing person. She makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, surprises me all the time, and inspires me to pursue my dreams. But the thing is, I don’t know what my dreams are anymore. And while I was happy to be with her, even long distance, I found myself trying to live through her. I would wait for our Skype conversations each night, and her texts each morning. Everything else was just passing time. So I found myself questioning if that was the kind of life I wanted to live for the next two months, until I see her again.

It boils down to this: I’m not ready for the kind of serious relationship where you start thinking in terms of years from now. I’m only 21, and I have so much left to figure out about what I want in life. I don’t want to decide who I’m going to marry because I haven’t even decided when, where, and how I’m going to grad school. I haven’t decided what kind of career I want to have. I haven’t decided where I want to live, where I want to travel, or even where I’m going to live this fall when my lease is up on my current apartment. I’m just not ready, and I’d rather be honest about that than try to make promises I can’t keep.

It hit both of us last night when my partner (ex-partner?….sigh) said, “I know that you’re the best thing for me.” And I said….nothing. At least not at first. “You seem so certain about that, and the thing is, that’s what I want.” I wiped off my tears, “I want to be that certain about something, whether it’s a person or a place or anything. But…I’m just not.”

It was the kind of brutal honesty that leaves you with nothing to say. I looked at her and could practically hear both our hearts breaking, because that’s not what she wanted to hear and not what I wanted to say. But it was the truth, and while I hope one day I can say all of the things that make her happy, I’m just not there yet. And I’ll be damned if I hurt her even more by leading her on and pretending to be ready for things I’m not, like Fred sort of did with me.

So that’s where I’m at. I think this is important because I don’t want to lose her, and I didn’t want to break up. But I did it, I made the hard decision, because I believe it was the right one for me. And I’m not ashamed of not being ready, and I’m not going to beat myself up and say I was the bad guy.

I’m just a young person, searching for a purpose, a dream, and a chance to become the person I’ve always wanted to be. I need time to grow up, and then someday, whenever that may be, I’m going to use that progress to build a life with someone I love. And I’ll not only be the person they deserve, but the person I deserve, too.

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To the Guy Who Dumped Me Because of My Depression:

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Dear Isaac*,

I’m better now. I know it was probably scary for you that night when I showed up at your doorstep covered in cuts. I was scared too.

It was so scary that night, when I kept cutting and cutting and cutting. I don’t know where it came from, or why it happened. I just woke up earlier that week and felt the depression lurking behind me. I’d distract myself with work, school, music, and Netflix, but it was still there waiting for me when I had a moment to myself. Every night I’d close my eyes to go to sleep and see it swallow me up in the darkness. I had no answers about my future, my present, or past. All I could think of is every shitty thing I’ve ever done, every person who I felt secretly hated me, and how no matter how hard I’d try, I couldn’t stay happy. The depression always found me eventually.

I was scared. So scared to open up and talk about this weight I felt on my shoulders. You were the only person around who really seemed to care. Despite months of trying to keep you at arm’s length, I ended up letting you in my heart. And I really didn’t want it broken.

I only mentioned this to you once, in a very short and dismissive manner, but I was in a couple of serious relationships before you. One of them lasted two years, and I found out he cheated on me during those two years while I was seeing you. I didn’t want it to affect us getting to know each other, but it did. I was still very upset about my ex cheating on me and was struggling to trust others, as well as myself. And in a lot of ways, I felt so worthless. I wasn’t ready to believe in kindness again. I wasn’t ready for you.

When I told you about my depression that night, and said: “You don’t have to say anything…I know this is a lot to lay on a person and I don’t expect you to fix it or anything…and I totally understand if you don’t wanna see me anymore…but I just need someone to listen and accept me despite it.” I meant it. I don’t blame you for telling me days later that you just couldn’t do it. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it either, honestly, but I have to. And I’ll be stronger for it. I know how stressful and heartbreaking it can be to watch someone you care about hurt so badly. It’s a terrible helpless feeling, and I understand not wanting to sign up for that. But I hope one day you will love someone enough to be willing to do that for them, because it is one of the most rewarding and life-changing things you can do—to bring someone hope.

My depression is my burden to bare, and I’m sorry if I made you feel overwhelmed and stressed because of it. But I’m not sorry I told you about it. I put my heart on the line, I took a chance, and it was a really hard thing to do. And I did it because I believed in you, I trusted you, which wasn’t a mistake. I still think you are a great person, and I’m glad I at least got a shot with you. The thing is, while I will always be grateful that you held me that night, as I willed myself not to cry in your arms, I will admit that it wasn’t a hard thing for you to do. The hard part comes after, in the morning when you realize that last night will not be the only night filled with tough conversations and tight hugs. And that’s the part that so many people seem to struggle with…every guy I’ve met seems to want to be my knight in shinning armor until they realize that this battle isn’t a one time deal. So I’m glad you were honest and told me you couldn’t do it. I’m glad you left instead of whispering in my ear that you wouldn’t hurt me.

There are people out there who love me in spite of the depression. They pick me up each time and let me know I’m loved even when I don’t love myself. They keep me going, because I know they will always be there on the other side, when the depression is gone and my smile is back and things are easier. Their love has no mental health conditions, and their opinion of my never wavers based off of my depression. They are my friends and family and partner, and they are the ones I should have gone to that night when I knocked on your door.

It’s easy to want that significant person in your life to be the one that you lean on, and it’s hard to tell the people you’ve known the longest that you’re struggling again. Thank you for teaching me that I don’t need a knight in shining armor, and that the ones who will fight for me the hardest are the ones who have always been by my side.

Wishing You the Best,

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*pseudonym

Look At Me, Growing and Shit

So I found out that Fred cheated on me during those two years we were together. Needless to say, I told him to never speak to me again. And you know what? Life is actually going alright. Not much has changed, really. I still go to my classes, I go to work, I hang out at home with my roommates, I sit outside and listen to music in between classes. I’m thinking about creative projects I could start and homework I should probably be catching up on instead. I’m planning my tattoo. Life goes on.

That’s not to say that I didn’t call him Monday night after a week of silence and scream and cry at him over the phone. After all, he deserved to hear how much he hurt me. But it’s all really for the best—it’s useless to fight for a person who lied to you and betrayed your trust. So I am happily embracing life—because my life is mine now. No more trying to plan a future around Fred or his failed attempts at finishing his degree. No more boundaries around when I can go travel (well, except money…:/), no more trips home unless I actually want to drive those two hours.

As if that wasn’t enough, I came out to my dad earlier that Monday. He was lecturing me about having lesbian friends and straight up asked if I’m interested in girls or guys. After a long pause I finally said, “Both”. It went better than I expected. Naturally, there was yelling and I almost walked out on him, not to mention him subtly threatening not to pay for my college anymore, but by the end of the conversation I said, “Love you Dad” and he said “Love you too.”

Another part of this honesty project I’ve got going on was admitting to my ex-girlfriend that I cheated on her with Fred. It was the worst mistake of my life, and I told her she could punch me in the face, but she didn’t. “I still love you,” she told me. “I knew you cheated on me, but what hurt was that you wouldn’t admit it to me.” So, amazingly enough, this incredibly kind, caring person forgave me for being an absolute dick. Just like that, I felt myself become a better person for admitting my mistakes. After all, I don’t want to be Fred, and use people at my leisure.

Another thing. I’ve been seeing this guy. Now I know I don’t need anymore drama in my life at this point, but that’s the great part about him—he doesn’t stress me out. It’s very casual, and he’s a really nice person. We only see each other about once a week and we don’t have to constantly text or commit to any labels. Basically, we’ve just been getting to know each other. (Although for me that means omitting all of the current events on Fred and my ex-girlfriend….we’ll see if I get there with this guy.) But I’m really happy with it. Sometimes it’s nice to surround yourself with new people when your life is becoming a whole new experience.

I wasted years of my life loving someone who put in minimal effort and didn’t show me respect. It’s time to just figure out what I want my life to look like, and go with the flow.

A Flashback to Breakup Feelings

So much can change in a month. A month ago, I felt like I was scrambling to pick up the pieces of myself lost to depression and stress. I had just survived a breakup with someone I really loved, I had barely patched together old friendships, and I was sleeping on the floor of an empty apartment. And here I am, a month later, happier than I’ve been all year and excited about my life. It didn’t change over night; I’m still taking antidepressants, I’m still figuring out the role my ex(es) play in my life, I’m still working on building back my friendships to where they used to be. But everything feels different.

I found this in my documents from around then; back when my breakup was still hitting me in all sorts of ways…maybe you’ll relate to it, maybe you won’t:

And it hurts just so fucking much. That moment when you look at someone and know that you will never have some memories back. You’ll never lie naked in bed on a lazy Saturday, you’ll never kiss the back of their neck while they do the dishes, you’ll never feel that kind of invincible love as you two drive off into the night. And the worst part is that they still have the same eyes, they still have those lips. They have the arms that held you and the heartbeat you listened to when you wanted to thank God or whoever for making that human being. You’ll look at them and it will look the same, but feel so different.

I’ll never think of incense or bananas or jeeps the same way again. Every person who passes by me on a bike makes me do a double take. There are streets I never would have gone down, restaurants I would have never ate at, and people I would have never known, if it hadn’t of been for you. Life goes on, but it goes in a slightly different direction because of you.

I wish I would have told you I loved you more at the end. I wish I had welcomed all of those conversations, those kisses, those ideas. I wish I could have been better for you, and I wish that you could have been better for me. It’s one of the worst kinds of sadness to love someone and know that you don’t belong together.

It hurts to look at you. It hurts not to kiss you. It hurts that you don’t need me like you used to. Everything hurts, but is worth it if I can be a part of your world. I don’t want to hope you’re happy, I want to know you’re happy.

Everything is different now, but some of those feelings will always be the same. The people we love change us forever; they give us love that we pass on to the world through the smallest acts of kindness and make us strong enough to love despite any flaws. It’s my own personal belief that love never disappears, that I’ll always love Charles, Fred, and my ex-girlfriend, and that it simply evolves into what we need to change us for the better.

Pretty sappy, right?

The Single Plan

So, after two (almost three) years of a constant stream of relationships (mostly with Fred, but also some others while he and I were broken up) I am single. It’s the strangest feeling…I haven’t been single since I was 18. Seriously, the energy I spend people-pleasing will now all be spent on me, and what I want…and for once I’m not chasing anyone, I’m letting myself take a moment to breathe, before plunging back into the dating world.

My girlfriend and I broke up last night. It was very much mutual; for about a month or so we both were considering it, but last night she finally put the words out into the open. (The plan was to break up fab32dbae7083ba1143c03bfcd584d61Friday and simultaneously move out, but this worked too.) Anyway, it was very straightforward at first, and then she left the room and started packing her things. And she was PISSED. But we didn’t fight, I just kind of hid in the room until she came back. We talked, we were calm, and we said all the things we couldn’t the past month. It boils down to three facts: our communication skills sucked, we weren’t happy anymore, and we just aren’t that compatible. The biggest takeaway for me is that a) I need to speak my mind more often, and b) even though you love someone, and want to be the right person for them, sometimes it’s just not meant to be. So we ended on a good note, by the time I left this morning we were joking and kind to each other, our parting words being: “Goodbye, gorgeous.” “Goodbye, handsome.” And just like that, I walked out the door into my new, single life.

Not that this makes everything in my life simple. Nah, I may have just finally unloaded the guilt stacking on my shoulders this past month, but c’mon people, this is ME we’re talking about. So naturally, last night while we were talking and finally coming clean to each other, finally being ourselves free of any expectations, we totally had break up sex. And then we fell asleep together, and woke up this morning and had more sex. What can I say? Just because we are broken up doesn’t mean I don’t still think she’s hot, or that we are suddenly bad at sex together. Nope, it’s like we picked up right where we left off back in May, back when we were happy. And then we discussed possible friends-with-benefits arrangements. I don’t know if we will still hook up or become friends or become strangers, but I do know that I will always care about her. So I’m happy where things left off.

As for my new single life, the plan is to stay single for a while. I need to gather up the pieces of myself and try putting myself back together, into an even better version of myself than I was before all of this. So on Friday I’m moving out, spending the weekend home, and then moving into someplace else on Sunday night. I’m going to find myself, gain back my confidence, and take charge of my life. That’s the plan.

Let’s hope everything unfolds as it should.

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.

Moving Through the Steps

Do you ever feel like you’re watching your life through a window? Like you’re moving through the steps, but you’re not really there? It’s as if the days are a complete blur, the people are just people you’ve dreamt of another lifetime ago, and your heart is completely still. That’s how life feels right now. It feels like a dream, like a bubble just waiting to burst.

I went home last week and it was hard for a number of reasons. First off, it was hard to leave my girlfriend after just moving in with her and starting the summer. A whole week without seeing her, touching her, and sleeping next to her each night was a struggle to imagine, let alone endure. And then there was my dad, who was hard to see and talk to once I got home. My dad always means well—he always is trying to protect me or teach me or provide for me, but he just goes about it the wrong way sometimes. He is blinded by his own opinions and prejudice to the point where he doesn’t care about anyone else’s happiness anymore. Basically, he told my mom flat out: “I don’t want a gay daughter.” Though I wasn’t surprised by this statement, avoiding him for an entire week was a bit tricky. I skillfully scheduled hang outs with my friends, errands, and naps when he wanted to talk or give me jobs to do, all without giving him the idea that I was mad at him. But even seeing him or hearing him around the house made me uneasy. And then finally there was seeing Fred. That was hard not only because it was the first time we had spent time together post break up, but because we were faced with the arduous task of being just friends, something we had never been before. Readers, I don’t know if you have ever planned out your life including a wedding, kids, travel, living space, and career with another person and then broke up and tried to be friends with them, but if you haven’t let me tell you: it is hard stuff.

It started out fine, just the normal, catching up kind of conversations and common interests like Game of Thrones. But then the topics talked about became deeper, like how we both felt about our break up and each other. And then it got heavier, like him talking about starting to see other people and analyzing the last month or so of our relationship. It all boils down to two facts: 1) Fred and I still love each other & 2) Fred and I should not be together right now. Those two facts are enough to stir up a whole plethora of conflict within my heart and mind…but there’s nothing I can do but accept them both.

Honestly right now I’m in the angry/avoiding stage of my break up. Hearing him talk about other people and doing things with other people makes me feel so hurt and so pissed that I would just much rather keep my distance. I really don’t know how I’m going to let him go enough to not feel that way, but still be his friend. I want to hear about his life and for us to be honest with another, yet I also want to vomit at the thought of him sleeping with anyone else. It’s complicated, and only going to get better after a lot of time.

On the other hand, my relationship with my girlfriend is solid. We just keep getting closer and closer, and it’s made a lot of previous insecurities fade. With her, I feel so safe and secure…almost like a dream. I still can’t believe that she’s real when I wake up each morning and see her next to me. And living together has felt very natural so far; I expected it to be more uncertain and conflict-building since neither one of us have lived with a significant other before. But nope, so far we have gotten along great and it’s been stress-free.

As for things with me, other than feeling head-over-heels in love or drudging through my post break up feelings I’ve been in a really strange place. I don’t want to call it a numbness, but there’s a definite avoidance of certain triggering thoughts. I’m not quite sure what I feel to be completely honest…I’m not sure what is real and what isn’t…

I’m at a point in my life where I have absolutely no idea of what to expect from the future. I’m sort of still inventing myself at this point, and am just throwing myself into new things and new people. It’s very uncertain, but it’s exactly what I need.

More Things I Shouldn’t Be Thinking (Nothing Is Forever)

Nothing is forever. This is a realization that keeps dawning on me, drumming into my mind louder and louder. It’s like when you lie down to go to sleep and suddenly hear your own pulse—once you hear it, it’s hard not to. And so these past weeks I’ve been living trying not to know this realization…trying, but failing.

My family isn’t forever. I always knew that, but while I was depressed in high school, I thought that once I committed suicide it would bring my family together. My parents would be affectionate and kind to another, my brother would value his relationships with them. They would all regret how distant our family had been when I was alive, but would all live better lives as a result of it. Or, on the other hand, my parents would get divorced and my mom would marry someone who deserved her. My dad would finally understand how much he can hurt people with his selfishness, and change for the better. My brother would use the experience to make sure his own future marriage would last his lifetime. They would grow into their potential, and the beautiful lives they deserved. They would be a better family, or not a family at all. But I never did commit suicide, so now I’ll have to watch my family become worse and worse and avoid them like a cancerous growth until it kills me (not literally, emotionally) to be around them. That will probably be the ending of my family instead.

My friends are not forever. A few months ago I felt so connected with my college friends, and they meant so much to me. Now I feel utterly disconnected; I question how much we really have in common and how much they actually like me as a person. I’m not sure I would like me if I were them. And then there are my high school friends, who know me like the back of their palm. They are far away back home and at their respective colleges, and I miss them every single day. But our lives will probably never intersect the same way they did in high school—they will get married and settle down, or find jobs in different states, or embrace new lifestyles that call for a nomadic existence. We are all on separate paths, but love each other. What a torturous kind of love.

Speaking of, there’s my girlfriend and best friend Fred. How did I manage to fall in love with someone on a different path in life than me, and then fall in love with someone else on an even more different path than me. Why does everyone I love slip out of my fingers? With each of them, it boiled down to one person staying and delaying their potential plans to wait for the other. And what a guilt-ridden way to live, knowing that someone is waiting on you, putting their life on hold.

I thought Fred and I were forever. The real deal, you know? Everyone told us how perfect we were together. Everyone knew we were going to get married. We knew we were going to get married. But then the more progress we made, the more life wanted to tear us apart. I guess the universe got jealous of something so beautiful, or we forgot the value and rarity of finding something like that in a world so messed up. And so we messed up; I messed up. And the worst part is, it wasn’t a mistake. Our time was up, just a lot quicker than either of us anticipated.

My girlfriend and I won’t be forever. That is such a hard thing to swallow, and I absolutely hate admitting it. She will get bored, or I will screw up, or we will decide we want different things, or one of us will eventually die. There’s a ticking clock, there always is.

My depression is ticking, too, and I can hear it. It’s a metronome that my thoughts use for their rhythm. I can hear the rhythm getting slower and slower…ticking away as my time depression-free dwindles. I’m starting to think about the wrong things more, starting to crave the old habits that made me feel so low…

But even depression isn’t forever.

My life isn’t forever. Even when I think I have a plan, it changes. My idea of myself is constantly evolving, for better or worse. All I have is my history and my gut to keep me constant. And even then, memories can fade and rationality can wear thin—I could lose myself, just like I could lose everything else. Just like I will lose everything else. As much as I have gained since my last encounter with depression—all the happy memories, the friendships, the opportunities and the confidence—it all goes back to the knowledge that one day I will be alone.

Either alone with my death, or alone with my depression. But then again, they are kind of the same thing.

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