I have been struggling with this blog for
weeks months. Both this entry, and the whole concept of maintaining a blog.
I mean, what’s the point? What is this? What am I doing here? Is this blog my modern equivalent to writing in a diary or journal, like I’ve done since I was 6? If so, why not leave it private? Is it an opportunity to hone writing skills while also venting and problem solving? (I mean, what else is journaling but a channel to vent and solve?) Also, is public blogging attention-seeking? Why? Or, why not? There may be a quiz at the conclusion of this blog…
It’s so tempting to lay it all out there, every excruciating and rather nauseating detail – if you’re familiar with my previous blog (now set to “Private”, sorry, but I imagine I’ll republish a few of them as I go), you already know some of the nitty-gritty. I do have something to prove. But this blog won’t be about proof, blame, or guilt. This blog is just me adjusting to life as a single woman.
Will there be some juicy detail here and there? Probably. Should you “follow”? Only if you’re prepared to see some of the worst of Yours Truly. But also, maybe some of the best.. because yes, this is my modern version of journaling. I have nothing to hide. I’m a 43 year old woman who’s lived a little and if there’s any doubt that you might be squeamish, best turn away now – I’m about to get all sorts of vulnerable up in here.
My 19-year relationship fell apart last year. It was my fault. But then, it was her fault. I spent nearly half my life with one person, and then (very) suddenly, she was gone. Not dead, but gone just the same. It was completely and utterly devastating, and sometimes it still is, BUT it’s getting better. I’ve read that it should take one month per year in the relationship to really “get over” that relationship after it ends. In that case, I’ve only got about 3 months to go! Woop! Of course, everyone does it differently, but I do believe that grieving the loss of a long relationship is normal. It’s to be expected. My response has also been normal. And finally, I’m okay.
I’m okay. For the first time in a long time, I feel okay! Here’s the thing: I was terribly, horribly depressed for a very long time. Different from wanting to end it all, this depression was subtle, lazy, and complacent. But it was there, lingering behind every peppy Facebook post, every half-hearted smile, every snarky glare – sadness to the very core. Every now and then, I’d find myself at the receiving end of an equally nasty glance in return. I saw the ugly in myself like a reflection.
I avoided professional psychiatric help for a long time in large part due to a history of misdiagnoses in my 20’s which led to taking a mess of meds that were all sorts of wrong for me. I knew on some level that I needed a “tweak” once I entered my 40’s – I was using substances to self-medicate and I struggled to accomplish day-to-day activities and simple chores. I didn’t recognize the depth of my lack of interest, hope, or happiness, nor did I contemplate an escape (well, not often), I just kept plugging along as I always had.
My ex, who, in the interest of privacy, I refer to as “Love Bomb” for the purpose of this blog, recognized my depression to some degree, but was never really able to support my efforts to get better. Discussions about it always came down to her saying, “I’m just trying to make you seeeee…” which drove me absolutely bonkers. I grew tired and resentful of accusations pointing the finger at all the things I was doing wrong, from managing my depression to filling the dishwasher.
What I needed was a cheerleader, not a coach or a boss (she’s very good at being someone’s boss)! I needed Love Bomb to offer to be with me as I made the call for an appointment or perhaps even drive me there .. or to the pharmacy. I needed for her to sit quietly with me when I was struggling without providing any insight or instruction. I needed her to be honest with me about my substance abuse, and NOT pacify me with it in an effort to avoid my shit mood when I went without. Furthermore, she should have told me that we couldn’t afford it! (I was woefully uninvolved with our finances.) I needed for Love Bomb to put aside her irritation with ‘Sober Mazie” and get real about solving some of the issues that were affecting us, like finances, a crumbling home, aging parents, depression, anxiety, and unhealthy coping strategies. But she didn’t want to do any of that.. She didn’t want to deal with me or my depression or anxiety anymore.. She didn’t want to endure a recovery.. “I just wanna have fun”, she said. 19 years, down the drain in the interest of fun – for one of us.
Meanwhile, I fell apart.
Fast forward >>> it’s been a bit over a year since 1. the breakup; and 2. I sought help for my depression. I feel both pleased with my recovery and saddened that I didn’t recognize it or seek treatment sooner. Who knows what the future might have looked like had I acknowledged my depression and worked to feel better, sooner.
And maybe that’s the moral of this story … feel better, sooner.
Depression is a muthafucker and if you’re affected, I want you to know that I am here to gently encourage you to seek help, whether that involves meds, or not. I can recommend both psychiatrists and therapists and then I’ll help you dial the phone. I’ll pick up your prescriptions for you, if you need me to. I promise never to judge or direct you when what you really need is a simple, kind ear. If you deal with substance issues, well, welcome to the club – I am far from perfect, but I can certainly empathize, and we can work though our cravings together.
I tell my story because I’m searching for some way to make sense of what happened to my relationship … and to me. I tell my story because each time I do, it brings a new clarity to a ridiculously complicated situation. I tell my story because each chapter is mine, but sometimes I share…
Right now, I am working on myself and writing my own chapters, for a change. It’s a humbling place to be at 43, but it’s not the end of the world. I love the little life I’ve created for myself, even when I’m lonely. And yes, I am lonely sometimes, but that’s okay .. it’s okay to feel lonely, work through it, and come out the other side a stronger you. Are you loving the life you’ve made for yourself? Isn’t it time you did?