Letting go of O.

Today, I realised that my friendship with O, my ex-fiancé, has officially ended. Not only that, but it ended a long time ago, when I met S and stopped sleeping with O. For a long time, I believed his promise of always being there for me, and his assurances that we’d always be best friends. Even when we didn’t speak for a long time, I let it slide because I thought he’d eventually call or text.

Nothing, though. I haven’t heard anything from him for months, and I think it’s time to close the lid on that friendship. I’ve realised now how gullible I was; O was only sticking around for sex, and once I stopped giving it to him… well, it didn’t take him long to drop me.

It makes me feel sad in a way. My relationship with O was turbulant and paranoid, and we were woefully mismatched, but I’ll always look back on our time together with fondness. My feeling for S have far eclipsed what I ever felt for O, but I was happy, sometimes. It was my first adult relationship, and we were together for over four years. Knowing he’ll never be in my life again is a strange feeling, but can I ever offer friendliness to someone who only wanted something physical from me in the end? Who dumped our ‘everlasting friendship’ once I met someone and fell in love?

I feel shamed that I let O use me and believed him when he made promises to always be there. It seems that friendship came with conditions; that I couldn’t meet anyone else, but he could have a girlfriend and two children.

Those conditions just seem unfair.

Worry. Worry worry worry.

Found an unpublished draft when I was going though old posts. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago:

I fell asleep last night worrying that my lack of nervous breakdown over not seeing S over the weekend means I’ve fallen out of love with him. Ignoring the obvious signs that I’m utterly batshit-crazy over the guy, I decided that because I wasn’t weeping into my pillow, it must mean that somehow, overnight, my love for him has died.

Sometimes it’s like another part of myself takes over, pokes me and says, “Hey! You know the way you weren’t worrying about anything? Now you are!”. I set myself up to get upset for no reason at all, and it’s frustrating beyond belief when I start imagining that my relationship with S is doomed, because there’s very little sense or reason to any of it.

I’m not as bad as I was with O; not by a long way. Still, sometimes I do worry that I may be without S one day, or that he might in some way betray me. The thought crushes me, and I don’t seem able to entirely banish that worry from the back of my mind.

I sometimes even worry that I’m not worrying enough. Or worry because I’m worried; so something must be wrong. I’m not half as anxious as I used to be (thanks to cipralex and beta-blockers) but the fear still lurks in the background at all times. It’s still there, just muffled by chemicals.

I also worry that worrying is normal, and I’m treating something natural like it’s the enemy. I know my flight vs. fight response is broken, and I panic rather than make a useful move whenever something stressful happens. My reaction to panic is to calm myself with anything which will numb my feelings, which continues the whole addiction cycle. Is that a normal reaction? There’s no doubt that worry and fear has caused a lot of problems in my life, making me react dangerously to situations and get myself into emotional states I can’t control, and I can’t quite see that as being the way everyone else reacts.

I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has told me to just stop worrying, and live in the present. I’ve tried – god knows I’ve tried – but all I can often see is a gaping chasm where my future should be, a dark place full of uncertainty, and it scares me. I can’t help but think about it, and thinking naturally leads to panicking.

A few years ago, I was a permanent nervous wreck. Speaking to strangers was out of the question, and I spent most of my time squashed up against a wall, trying to avoid conversation in case I said something stupid. Speaking on the telephone simply didn’t happen, and I never answered the door or knocked on someone else’s. Somebody else would have to pay for me in shops, because dealing with the whole process of speaking to staff and counting money out sent me into a panic attack. I couldn’t function.

I’m a million miles away from that now. I still struggle with worrying and panic attacks, but the medication has them mostly under some sort of control. If I miss a few doses, I’m back to hovering over the phone in case someone texts me and refusing to communicate.

It’s strange to know that, under this chemical mask, I’m still a nervous wreck incapable of reacting rationally to small problems. I’ve been this way for so long that I can’t ever see a time when that anxiety will be gone for good. It’s a part of who I am; the panic has become ingrained into my personality.

Never take friendship personal

friend·ship

[frend-ship]

noun
1. the state of being a friend;  association as friends: to value a person’s friendship.
2. a friendly relation or intimacy.
3. friendly feeling or disposition.
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I haven’t spoken to my best friend, face-to-face, in weeks. Our last contact was through Facebook, where I said I may pop round (I didn’t), about two weeks ago. She’s called me once, and left me a few messages online, but I’ve ignored her.
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I care about Z, I really do. Her mental health problems (she’s bipolar) helped me learn about BPD and, as a result, finally get a diagnosis for all the barmy behaviour I’ve been participating in. I worry about her a lot; she’s incapable of budgeting or giving priority to bills and things she has to pay for. She argues a lot with her fiancé, and rarely takes her medication. She never got over her cousin’s suicide a couple of years ago; he hung himself in his garage, and she still can’t cope with anything to do with suicide (not that I blame her).
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Despite the fact that I love Z, I have problems with our friendship. Or rather, friendship in general. I have no real long-term friendships, because I tend to back away after a couple of years. Am I afraid of getting too close to somebody? Maybe, but I suspect it’s not quite that simple.
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Firstly, I have no idea at which something becomes a friendship, and I worry that perhaps I’m assuming too much by calling somebody ‘my friend’. The whole process seems to come naturally to others, yet I find it almost impossible to understand the whole socialising thing. I want to socialise and have friends, but something stops me actually doing it. It’s not that I’m particularly unpopular; making friends doesn’t seem to be a problem, it’s keeping them which troubles me. It’s like I get scared, but I don’t know what by.
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Looking back, I didn’t always have this problem. I was a shy child, but was in the ‘popular’ group in primary school, best friends with Emma, Bridget and Tom*, and often hung around in the cul de sac around the corner with the kids from the area, riding bikes and scooters, or going next door to play on the Master System. It’s only when secondary school started and some of my friends went to other schools or got put in other sets, that issues started to develop. Once I started getting bullied, I became more introverted than usual and found it difficult to speak out anymore.
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I never had much confidence, but my experiences in school destroyed the little I had, and friendships began to fall by the wayside as I drew myself further in. For no reason, I was lying to my friends, stealing from them, insulting them… I began acting in a cold way, almost like I was trying to get them to hate me. Looking back, I think this point is where BPD really started showing; I was becoming incredibly irrational and convinced that everyone was talking about me, even when they clearly weren’t. I started hearing voices, but that’s another story.
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At the age of fourteen, I lost all my friends. I disappeared; left school and, after a stay in hospital for self-harm and anorexia, cut off all contact. I just didn’t feel like anyone understood and, after going entirely batshit crazy in front of a number of friends on regular occasions, I couldn’t face the world anymore. That’s the path my life has taken ever since.
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Keeping friendships can be difficult enough when you have a mental illness, but when you add chronic illness and pain into the mix, it can get impossible. I worry that I’m a burden on others – it’s hard not to, when you’re constantly having to cry off plans because of tiredness – and I still don’t feel comfortable admitting that I’m, well, sick. So I go along with things, suffering, and after a while I can’t take it anymore and back away. Or someone upsets me once, and I become convinced they hate me, so I save them the trouble of trying to get rid of me and I  just stop speaking to them.
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I have become adept at burning bridges; it’s almost a talent now.
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* poorly-invented names

Dream on, ’cause it’s got no meaning

 

For the first time in my life, I dreamed my teeth were falling out.

According to Freud, dreaming such things is a symbol for  “castration as a punishment for masturbating (castration’s complex)”,

DreamMoods says that “Another rationalization for these falling teeth dreams may be rooted in your fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of yourself in some situation. These dreams are an over-exaggeration of your worries and anxieties. Perhaps you feel that you are unprepared for the task at hand. However, you will find that your worries are unfounded in most cases. Sometimes what plays out in your mind is far worse than what is reality” read more

To be honest, I don’t believe in dream symbolism, preferring to see dreaming as a natural response by the brain to the thought process. Still, I do like to consider what my dreams might be saying. I won’t go into them, because there’s nothing more boring than reading about someone else’s dreams, but it just interested me that it’s taken me this long to have the tooth falling out one. It was creepy.

It doesn’t really help that my teeth are in a pretty poor state anyway, after years of bulimia and avoiding the dentist. I noticed a few weeks back that I’m starting to get some hefty dark stains near the gum line, which no amount of scrubbing or picking will remove. I can only assume it’s decay. Smoking like a chimney and drinking red wine doesn’t help either. I can drink ten cups of strong coffee a day without noticing. Really, I’m amazed I still have teeth. Oh, there’s a lot of pain – I can’t eat sweet things anymore without major toothache – but I’m loathe to face the dentist. I don’t even know if I still have an NHS one; I missed my last appointment for X-Rays.

It’s the cost. I know I need quite a lot of work done, and it’s not an amount of money I tend to have to hand. Especially if I’ve lost my position at the clinic and need to go private.

I sat in the garden earlier, talking to my mother. Broached the subject of S and I getting a flat, and she started her usual panic/worry rant that if I move out, I’ll lose my benefits. I don’t know what I can do to ever get her to change that view; she’s adamant that I’m destroying my future by wanting to move out, and what can I say to that?

Yes, there’s a risk that I may lose the high care component, but I can contest it. Just because my mother isn’t going to be my carer anymore, doesn’t mean someone else can’t, or that I’m not crazy anymore. I’ll still be unable to work and be disabled no matter where I live. Having my own place with S will just make life that bit more bearable. I wish she could see that.

 

Dear Diary – 14th/15th/16th January 2006

< 9th/10th January

< 11th/12th/13th January

Saturday 14th January 2006

When I’m alone a million fears creep in. I get insecure, anxious, panicky; but the second I’m with O, I find those fears evaporating. I almost wish they didn’t, because then I find it impossibIe to talk about my thoughts and I really need to. He goes to Hull for training on Monday and I’m worried how I’ll cope with not being able to just call him or go for a coffee together.

Every week I get nervous about going in to college on Tuesday, but the thought of going back next week makes me feel sick. I really don’t know what I’m going to do about the course; it’s looking more likely that my health – long and short term – is going to make it difficult. I’m desperate to get the anaemia sorted before it kills me; who would have thought that something so common coud feel so horrendous. I’ve lived with it for six months now and I just want to stop feeling so tired and drained. I’m 21, yet I feel like an old woman.

I think I need to write a letter to O and give it to him in person. I know that if I try to speak, it will all come out wrong. I don’t want him thinking I want us to split up or anything; that’s the last thing I want. The thing I’m trying to prevent. Perhaps I’m blowing things out of proportion anyway; it wouldn’t be the first time.

Sunday 15th January

Found it hard to get to sleep last night. The room was too hot and my legs were restless, my mind clunking along. Lay in the dark with my leg touching O’s and thought too much. As usual.

I feel guilty for staying at his every weekend; I worry I’m imposing on his family and putting them out. O says it’s fine but I’m not sure it is. I wish we had enough money to get somewhere to live, but that seems impossible. It’s embarassing, wondering if his family can hear us having sex, having to go through the living room to get to the loo, being seen with no make-up on. I suppose I don’t think enough of myself to believe I could be welcome.

Monday 16th January

Woke up thinking about college tomorrow; I’m dreading it. I’m so convinced I’ve made a mistake with my career choice*. I feel like I should go back to something academic, my brain feels useless. I’m not used to more manual thinking and it’s just not me. I worry I’ll turn out losing the things I know; I’m already having trouble remembering stuff and backing down far too easily in debates. I was devastated when my memory didn’t return after the overdose, so what if this is the same thing, happening again for a different reason?

O got to Hull okay. He had to go on his bike, which I admit I was a bit worried about but I don’t want him to lose his job. As much as I hate him working at the bike dealership (where everybody hates me) he needs to do it. Like college; I hate it but I have to do it for money in the future. It all seems to come down to money at the moment.

*hairdressing

I’m learning to walk again, I believe I’ve waited long enough

Spent most of the night wasting time online, reading other blogs and smoking. I never sleep well the night after I leave S’s house; I miss having his arms around me when I fall asleep. I know, soft isn’t it? I’ve never liked sleeping in the same bed as somebody else – I move around a lot, kick, flail, get too hot then too cold – but sleeping with S has never been the problem it always has in the past. He just has to put his arm over my chest and dig his nose into my back, and I’m calm. I sleep like a baby.

In contrast, most of today has been spent catching up on the sleep I missed last night. I did manage to get out for a walk (admittedly, I was forced to go because tobacco supplies were running dangerously low), wander down the embankment near the marshes and actually get out on my own for once. It’s been a long time since I felt able to go for any real kind of walk, but the sun (it’s been another hot, unseasonal day) buoys me up significantly.

I paid for it, of course. Aching legs and a headache. I used to walk miles every day without thinking about it; now all I can manage is a trip to the shops. Sometimes, that’s a really depressing thought.

I’ve never been particularly into fitness, but in my childhood I ran around a lot. In my teens, I walked constantly, wandering for hours. Early twenties, I’d make myself go out every single day for long walks along the sea front. I love the freedom of being outdoors, which is strange considering my agoraphobia; you’d think I’d hate the wide-open spaces and being able to see right across the sea. I don’t though; it’s only people I can’t stand. On my own, I’m in my element. I miss having that freedom now, and feel almost cheated that it’s been taken away from me by chronic pain and fatigue. I want to try walking again – today’s attempt could have gone much worse – but I’m worried by my limitations. I still don’t know when to stop, how to conserve energy for the rest of the day.

Sometimes I worry this is all I’ll ever be able to do. That my strength is gone.

I still don’t have the guts to weigh myself. I should have done it two weeks ago, but I’ve been putting it off in case I somehow weigh more or haven’t lost anything. I’ve been controlling the binges quite well, and I’ve stopped eating in the middle of the night, and along with loosely following the Slimfast diet I think I may have lost a couple of pounds but I just don’t dare go step on those scales in case it sets off a series of events I can’t control.

 

Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

Diet cherry Coke and The Sims. A joint. My laptop screen. The only things keeping me company as I attempt to pull an all-nighter to reset my body clock. Stupid daylight saving, stupid upside-down sleep weekend.

The weather was beyond glorious over the weekend, and S and I spent most of it sat in his landlord’s garden, smoking, drinking red wine and talking about nothing. On Friday, I sat under the veranda of the pub and waited for him to finish work, nervous with anticipation and apprehension about telling him we’re not going to be able to rent the house. Sat and smoked, feeling a bit paranoid I was being watched; a silly delusion, but happens when I’m stressed.

Of course, I needn’t have worried. I need to stop letting myself panic so much; S has proved over and over he’s not about to run away screaming if I hint at any commitment. We had a drink and I told him I’d had a message from the woman, saying she was going  to sell instead of rent it out. S just shrugged and said, “oh well, we’ll have to find somewhere else then”. We spent an hour or so looking at flats and houses online, and – surprisingly – there were quite a few nice ones within our budget.

I had to let paranoia get a small look-in, so I asked S if he really still wanted to live with me.

“Of course, i want to wake up with you every day, I need to live with you”.

Where did I get that man from? And can I never have to give him back, please?