I wish I could hide the things that I feel and fake it for a while but I'm such a bad liar. I just can't help but being honest about everything and not holding anything back no matter what. Because to me, if I ain't living my truth, I'm not really living at all. I still have mixed opinions if that is a blessing or a curse, but being an open book can be difficult at times. At the same time, I hate liars. I hate when people think they are entitled of lying to you, or manipulating you. So I don't do to others what I don't wish done to me.
When I first realized what anxiety was and started to notice how it worked, I realized I've been living with it my whole life. I have some very specific memories of anxious times, good and bad. Like when I was 7 and the teacher wrote a note to my mom on my notebook saying I was behaving badly in class and my mom saw it on our way home and said, in front of the other parents that were around: "we'll talk when we get home." I still remember the feeling of "God. I'm going to get my ass whooped." But anxiety showed itself in different forms too. When I was 10, I wanted this super cool Harry Potter sticker book but our local paperboy didn't have it for days. Man, it was some torture to wait for it to arrive! When my grandpa bought it for me, it was such a relief to my 10 year old problems. Of course, as I got older it got worse, and since I had no idea it was a mental disorder was and my family had no knowledge about such subjects, anxiety planted its roots deep inside of me. Around middle school I already started to feel in passing tests and making it to the next grade. I would worry all summer about what was going to be left of my life if I didn't pass my tests. When I was finally old enough to start realizing my interests in other people, it grew into anxiety over relationships. I never had FOMO (Fear of missing out) in a committed relationship. But the anxieties over not knowing weather a potential relationship would be something serious was usually the cause of the doom for them. I've had few relationships in my life but I can say for sure that they all started the same: anxiety over no response to messages. Fear that the person would break up with me the next date. Fear of things that were not disclosed yet in the relationship. Fear of not being enough for someone in a monogamist relationship. When those relationships were over, fear I was going to have to go through those first anxieties all over again in order to have another shot at love. But the real question here that I've been thinking about lately is... Why did/do I have to be so freaked out about everything in my life?
Recently, I experienced the worst kind of pain I've ever felt, which it was having someone breaking up with me because of my anxiety. Our lives together were intertwined so beautifully, we were going in perfect rhythm towards the future. And then boom. It ended. One week I was thinking about our wedding in a not-so-long distant future. The next, I was homeless, heartbroken and lost. I still don't know what the future holds, but for now, I'm trying to focus on giving my anxiety some attention. I tried so hard the past few days to understand why it ended the way it did but I always seem to come up with the same answer: they couldn't handle your mental illness, so they gave up! And that sums everything up! And I do not mean that in a bad way: I get why they gave up. But since I already had the answer to that, no need to waste time trying to make sense of it anymore. I have to move on to the next question: how do I fix myself? The answer I got was: I can't. Because I'm not broken. My anxiety is something that can't be "fixed." But wait... "So you freaked out and now you want to say there's nothing wrong with you?" No. Not at all. My anxiety is the result of the biology of the brain I inhabit, therefore, yes, there is something wrong. Something is not working the way it should be. But it doesn't mean it's broken. It's just the way that it is. Can I do anything to fix it? No. It's not broken, as I already stated. But I can change it.
I've spent quite a lot of time this year thinking that I was broken and that I needed to be fixed. And to be honest... Quite a lot of time being told that by my partner (which I came to learn later it wasn't a very nice thing to say.) There was a lot of self-pity involved. "Look at me. I'm so broken. Why aren't you sorry for me? Why can't you understand that if you don't pick up the phone I will die inside? Why are you leaving me and expecting me to get better? I will only get worse" and down spiral of the rabbit hole, it only gets worse and worse. At some point this year I even thought that it was funny that I'm a nightmare in relationships and "trust me, you don't want to be with me. You don't want to pick this fight." Going from "my partner will lose his patience at some point" to "I'm so lucky my partner loves me and accepts me the way I am" was the problem. I should've kept thinking that at some point anyone would be fed up with my anxiety. Not because they were not good for me but because I needed to do something about it. I was trying, honestly. But it wasn't fast enough. The night of my break-up, a buddy of mine who has severe depression said that I'm only ever going to work with somebody who understands my mental illness and respects it. Someone who doesn't give me ultimatums like "if you ever lose control like this again, I will break up with you" and then does it to prove their point. I agreed with him. His wife, one of my best friends, said that there were times she wanted to run for the hills because of his mental illness, but she stayed because she understood it wasn't his fault and he wasn't acting that way because he wanted to. I agreed with her and started to think that my partner was wrong for leaving me, because being the victim was easier. But then I found out that that was all before my buddy started seeing a therapist. And taking medication. And doing the work. All of the things I haven't done, not for enough time at least. I understood the reason of the break-up.
As much as I love my family, I blame them for not helping me with my mental illness. Not in a way of "it's your fault I am like this, don't ever talk to me again" but they are to blame because they should've noticed. I remember when I was 7 I told my mom I didn't want to live anymore and I was tired of life and her response was "Already?" If that was my child, I'd take them to a therapist the next day. That and a other thousands other things that I know my family failed to see, in regards to my mental health. How my mom thought it was a good idea to try and to cure my OCD by whooping my ass because I didn't want to touch the door handle, 'cause it was "dirty." To this day, I still check my front door 5 times before I leave to work to check if it's really locked. I have a lot of loose ends in my mental health and I try my best to be understanding. My family did not have the knowledge or financial resources to take care of my brain. But I'm an adult now, so it's my turn to take care of me.
My partner told me to find myself first, and then we could talk. I don't even know if that's real or not, but he's right on something: I need to find myself. I don't want another relationship filled with waiting by the phone for a message while I stare at the ceiling. I don't want to feel uneasy if my partner needs to go on a family trip without me. I don't want to think that cheating is the only possible reason my partner can't talk to me at that moment. I don't want my first instinct when I'm mad to be to run away. To leave. To get an Uber home. If I did any of those things, that was because I have a bad wolf inside me making me see only the negative side of things. Honestly? I don't believe in fake positivity. That can be toxic just as much as negativity is. I don't believe in "fake it 'til you make it" or anything like that. I believe that you can be happy, but you don't have to be happy to live. You can be sad. Real life is not happy and the world is meaningless, so yeah, you can be sad. But the problem with sadness is that being sad makes it easy to be negative. And being negative is not ok. Even though the world is a horrible place, there are still good things in it. There is good and bad in everything, everyone, every situation. There was good in my relationship. So much more good than bad. The key is to find balance between both.
I really don't think you have to be single to find yourself. Alone perhaps, but not single. Even when you're in a relationship, you can still get time alone. Like Ben Platt says in one of his songs, we can "grow as we go." I admit that if I'm dating someone and my partner tells me they need time alone, like go on a trip by themselves for example, I would think it's a bit sketchy - but that's something I need to work on myself, and I am. But looking through the lenses of the big picture, if you really trust someone and they tell you they need time alone, you give it to them. There's nothing wrong with having a little individuality inside the relationship, and even though that is a tough lesson for me to learn, I know it's true. But finding yourself is not an easy task. It takes time. Months, years even. And of course I'm talking mainly about a long-term monogamist relationships here, but if you feel the need to change and the need to find yourself, I don't think you have to end your relationship to do so. You wouldn't completely let go of your friends or family in your soul-searching journey, would you? I mean, maybe some of them. Just the people that don't fit in your life anymore. If that's the case with your significant other, it's understandable. It's okay to break up. But do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. I feel like life is hard right now because my hurt is coming from knowing I didn't have a choice in this. It was my partner's choice to let me go. I'm sure, in this specific case, I do not need to be alone to find myself. I was in the process of doing it: going to the therapist, writing a journal, reading books about it, listening to Alanis Morissette's podcasts. That's the part the hurts the most.
I'm still in the process. I think it's something beautiful to say, actually. When people ask me how I am, I don't say good or bad anymore. I just say "I'm in the process" because that's where I am. I'm in the process of hurting, of letting go, of healing and of learning. I'm the process of finding myself again and learning how to love me in a way I've never done before. Sometime last week, I was drowning in depression again because I had decided that yes, it's over and I'm tired of being ghosted by my partner. If that's what he really wants, then there's nothing else I can try. So I let go. But with letting go, some rules come, at least for myself. Because if I let go of it now, I can't allow it to come back later. It will hurt too much. Recently I realized that no matter if it takes 2 months or 2 years, if my partner tries to come back into my life it will hurt the same and I can't let that happen because it won't be fair to me. Who was there for me these past few weeks? Who picked me up off the floor? Who held hand all of those days crying in the shower? I did. So later, no matter how much I want this person to come back, my understanding of fairness to myself needs to be stronger than anything else. That's me loving myself more than loving others and that's a tough lesson, but one I've been needing to learn for a long time.
I'm obsessed with creating playlists on Spotify, so logically after the break up I made a playlist represent it. I erased the first one and made a new playlist representing pain in general. We all go through bad things, in relationships but also in every aspect of life. It could be family issues, fake friends, mental illness, betrayal, or grief. All of these bad things in life are what gives life meaning. We should honor and feel them, just don't get attached. Learn to let them go. Music is my outlet, as I said before, I mainly use music to speak through this Blog. So in case you need it, here's my playlist about pain. It might bring you some comfort or help you to let some of those emotions out:
If my partner is ever reading this, I want you to know I will always love you. I'm doing what you told me to do. I'm loving myself more now. Unfortunately loving myself means that I have to let you go forever. That's not the case for everyone, but that's the case for us because you chose it to be that way. I never needed to be fixed. I just needed some patience. Some water and sunlight while I grew my roots stronger. I thought you were that sunlight the whole time, so much that I used to call you "my Sun." But I was wrong. You are not the sun in my life. I am.
Hope this was a lesson learned for the both of us.