Am I Still Me?

I’m not quite sure what I’m dealing with.

For the past 6 days I’m having problems figuring out how I’m truly feeling. I just feel “different”.

I’ll start with last week Thursday, because that’s when it all seemed to begin. After the final skills group for the day I asked D (OT) for a hug (since I’ve gotten quite a few from her when I was still attending group). As a side note, since I was back in the clinic, I can now go to 12 more group sessions on Tuesdays. (I didn’t go tonight- needed a break from the clinic environment). I wasn’t expecting her reply. She told me she wasn’t allowed to (it was a legitimate reason as far as I can recall). In the past I would have felt ashamed and rejected and probably gone off somewhere to cry and nurse my wounds. This time however, while I still felt a tiny bit embarrassed for having asked in the first place, and quite shocked at her reply, I was okay. I was surprised at myself. There were no big emotions. Just tiny little hints of them, barely noticeable. I did, however, feel myself distancing from her emotionally.

Actually, as I mentioned in my previous post, I felt disconnected from everyone and everything since waking up on Thursday, so maybe that was why I wasn’t as upset as I usually would have been?

On Friday I didn’t get to go to any groups, as I had my psych appointments. After my appointments I went to D to let her know that I won’t be in any groups for the day, that I was leaving. And what did I do? I asked her if I could hug her goodbye. This time she did hug me. While it was the same amazing D hug, I didn’t feel connected to her. Now here’s the thing… I don’t really feel connected to anyone anymore. Not even my therapist. And I haven’t reached out to her, which is even more strange. Usually when I feel the connection slipping, I’ll send her a text or email, but not this time.

I also don’t care that my roommates haven’t been in contact. I sent them each a message on Saturday and they both replied with a very brief message and that was it. Usually I would have reached out again by now (I told them I might come visit them as they’ll still be at the clinic until Friday), but I don’t want to.

Elizabeth and I have sent a few text messages back and forth during these past two weeks, but it’s become less frequent. I took two days to respond to one of her messages, and vice versa. And it didn’t bother me when she didn’t reply for those two days. Every now and then I would feel a lot of anger and hurt during the first week after she broke up with me. But most of the time I haven’t really felt much of anything for and about her. It’s as if our relationship didn’t even happen.

I’ve had some moments during the day where I’ve felt pretty good. Not happy. But good. I don’t know what emotions come with that “good” though. I made an appointment to go see my GP today, and she kept telling me how good I look. That I look confident and am carrying myself differently. That she remembers the first few times she saw me… I was this shy, timid little thing. At some point during our conversation we got onto the topic of relationships and I told her that I’m sick and tired of letting people walk all over me. I’m tired of giving others power over me. That I’m taking back my power. Whoever doesn’t like it can remove themselves from my life. I’m not going to take any more shit. That “the bitch has emerged”. I surprised myself by how powerfully those words came from my mouth. I felt strong, determined and in control. Well, she seemed to like this new side of me. Problem is, I don’t know if I like it. Part of me does, part of me doesn’t. Part of me feels like I’m in “self protect” mode. Another part of me wonders whether this new attitude is good or bad.

I don’t feel like me. Not that I really know who “me” is. I just feel weird dammit.


On Connection, And Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was my last full day in the clinic. All that was left for me to do was to see my psychiatrist and the psychologist I’ve been seeing here this morning.

I woke up late yesterday morning, and felt somewhat disconnected from everyone and everything the entire day. My stomach had also been giving me issues, so didn’t feel too great physically either.

My time there was filled with anger, tears, anxiety, frustration, melt downs (both mine and some others), hard work, and drama. But it was also filled with care, support, friendship, connection, laughter, and silly fun. I learned a lot, and feel as though I have grown.

Coming into the clinic I didn’t want to connect with anyone. I had this almost defiant attitude. I was tired of connecting, attaching, loving, then losing. Of course, that intention didn’t last. When you spend so much time with people in an intimate and healing setting, you can’t help forming bonds with some people. Besides, it was exhausting trying to keep up that “distance” attitude.

The intensity of my connection to these people isn’t as intense as my connections usually are. I think I managed to strike a good balance. I made sure to spend time alone and give myself space from time to time, instead of my pattern of sticking way too close to a person or group of people, afraid that I’ll be rejected or forgotten about if I’m not with them the entire time. There are a couple of people I’ve met here, like my two roommates for example, who I hope to stay in contact with. I’d like to continue building these relationships. But I’m not as emotionally invested in it as I usually would be. Meaning, I know it might not happen. That we might lose touch. That it might not work out. But even though that wouldn’t feel good, I’m actually okay with that too.

Over this past week, I was hit with a revelation. It’s nothing I haven’t known before, but until this week it had just been head knowledge. People are going to come into my life. It’s okay to connect. It’s okay to form attachments. It’s a beautiful part of life. It’s also okay if things don’t work out. Yes, it hurts when people leave and relationships end. But I’ve been through enough “abandonment” and endings to know that I’ll survive. Boycotting connection is even more harmful. As humans, we thrive on connection. We’re built for it. It’s a basic human need.

I felt good when I woke up this morning. I was ready to leave and come back home. The goodbye’s were sad, but I also felt so grateful to these people who have been a part of my life over these past two weeks. I took a piece of each of them away with me. They inspired me.

It’s strange being back at home. I don’t quite feel like I belong here. I miss the clinic, but not too much either. I feel a little lost, but I guess that’s normal. I have to adjust to life outside that sheltered and safe place again. I’m not entirely sure how I feel. How I’ve felt since I left the clinic. But that’s okay. I’m going to read a chapter of a novel I’m busy reading, and make it an early night.

It’s the best thing I can do for myself right now.

The End.

I guess I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. But I didn’t believe that it would actually happen.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Elizabeth and I broke up two weeks ago. She came over the Sunday evening and she asked me whether we could try starting over, and get back to that “honeymoon” stage. I was confused as to how to go about that, since every relationship naturally goes through different stages, but I agreed anyway. She mentioned that we’re too comfortable with one another, and it feels as though we’re just friends. She mentioned things such as not getting changed in front of one another anymore. I didn’t get how that would bring those feelings back, but I was willing to give it a try.

We went for a walk after that, and this time she actually took my hand again as we walked. The way she used to in the beginning. It wasn’t me who had to initiate it (I was still a bit weary of holding her hand in case she didn’t want that). It felt good. We watched a movie when we got back, and she actually let me hold her. I felt hopeful again. That things were going to be okay. But then, when we got into bed, she was distant again, and told me she had taken a sleeping pill, turned around and just said “goodnight”. No hug, no kiss. I suddenly felt very hurt and angry. So I got up and went to go sit outside for a while.

The next morning when I left for work, she also left to go back home. I was about to kiss her goodbye, but she just bypassed it and gave me a hug instead. One that again, felt cold. For the rest of that morning I didn’t allow myself to go down a negative thought process. I tried to hold onto the hope that things would get better. Because, after all, things rarely change overnight.

Elizabeth didn’t tell me when she got home safely, so a few hours later, I decided to send her a message asking whether she was at home, and okay. She told me she was, but that she had a lot on her mind. I asked her what was bothering her. And that’s when it started.

She told me that she doesn’t think she’s attracted to me anymore. That her feelings have changed, and she doesn’t think it will change back by continuing to “try”. She asked me what I thought, what I wanted to do. I told her that I still want to be with her, but I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t really want to be with me. I told her that I’d been feeling as though she’s been pulling away from me. Distancing herself from me, and she admitted that was the case. So it wasn’t all in my head, as I thought it might have been. I had thought that I was just oversensitive, and projecting. But this time, my feelings and intuition had been correct.

While all I wanted to do was beg her to please stay and give us another chance, another part of me knew it was better for the relationship to come to an end. I couldn’t keep living in that state of confusion and walking on eggshells.

Having your heart broken over voice notes is not the best way to have things end. For two entire days that week I was so angry with Elizabeth. I felt rejected, hurt, and betrayed. I had felt so confused, depressed and anxious in the relationship the last couple of months, and she knew she didn’t love me “anymore”, but just continued to let me believe that she still had feelings for me. That we would get through it. I doubt she ever really loved me. Can love really just vanish like that? If it can, I’m not interested in having anything to do with it.

We’ve agreed to stay friends. When Jasmine and I broke up and decided to just be in one another’s lives as friends, I found it pretty easy. But with Elizabeth, it’s not. I haven’t seen her since we’ve broken up, but we’ve spoken over text on occasion. I’ve limited the contact, because I found it too hard. Once I’m out of the clinic, she’s going to come fetch the things she left at my place. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I see her for the first time again.

Can we be friends? I don’t know yet. She’s already spoken about meeting someone again “like maybe in a month- how will you take that?” (her words). How do you think? It will hurt. I told her that it’s her life and I can’t tell her what to do or what she’s not allowed to do. But of course it will hurt, especially since she said that she can’t sustain a relationship right now, there’s too many other things in her life. If she meets someone else so soon, what does that mean about the relationship we had? That she wants to be with someone, just not me? She told me that she enjoys being single, but it gets boring after a while. So having heard all of this from her, can I have her in my life as a friend and be okay? I’m not ready to cut her out of my life… I don’t even want her to come get her stuff yet. As the psychologist I’m seeing here in the clinic told me (about something unrelated), I don’t have to make any decisions right now.

What makes this breakup so much harder than all the others combined, is the fact that the first couple of months were amazing. It finally felt like I was in a healthy relationship. She was everything I had wanted, and more. I felt content with life, even though the other parts of my life sucked. But she allowed negative outside forces to take up too much space in our relationship. I fucked up as well, but we always managed to sort through things. I guess sometimes things are just bound to fail.

Since I’ve been in the clinic I’ve been somewhat distracted. I haven’t had the time or space to deal with this properly. Today there aren’t any groups, as it’s a Sunday, and both of my roommates and other patients have day passes, so it’s the first time I’ve had a few hours just to myself. So I haven’t been able to “run away” from allowing myself to experience the hard emotions. I feel broken.

If she wanted to get back together, would I? Again, part of me will be overjoyed with that, but the biggest part of me feels like it will just be repeating the same pattern. What if after a few months, this happens again? She loses that feeling again? I can’t go through this again. It hurts too much.


Relationship Confusion

I’ve been confused, anxious, and depressed lately, and just wanted some opinions, and other’s perspectives on a situation.

For the past few weeks things have felt very unstable in my relationship with Elizabeth. Late last week, I thought we had worked through everything. But the past few days it seems nothing has really changed, and is maybe becoming worse.

There have been a few good moments, but they don’t seem to last, and feel like they’re coming fewer and further between.

I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around her. Even over text and on the phone. I’m almost constantly scared that I say or do the wrong thing, and she’ll be upset. It seems she’s becoming more and more irritated and sensitive to everything I say and do… Even my facial expressions. I’ve explained that sometimes what she thinks she sees in my expression isn’t actually what I’m thinking. She assumes the negative quickly.

I don’t need much in a relationship to be happy. I just want to feel secure, loved, and like I matter. Isn’t that what everyone needs from a relationship? I thrive on intimacy. Meaningful conversation and physical affection (as simple as holding my hand or a hug) is important to me.

Lately, I’ve been feeling insecure in the relationship. I don’t know where I stand with Elizabeth. Just when I think everything is fine, one small thing can shatter that “illusion” and I’m left feeling confused.

Elizabeth has GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), so she gets overwhelmed easily. I can understand that to a certain extent. I also get overwhelmed easily. But I don’t let that interfere too much with the relationship. I don’t let it change the way I treat her. I’ve been wondering whether I’m too much for her. I try not to be. I give her space when she needs it. We see one another once, sometimes twice a week, and I try to limit my texts to her.

She seems cold towards me sometimes. And it feels as though I can’t do anything right. That so many things irritate her and I never know whether something I say, do, or even a facial expression, is going to make her get irritated with me and pull away. I’m scared to ask for a hug when I feel I could really use one, because she might not be “feeling it”, and she told me that when she’s anxious or in a bad space, she doesn’t want to feel obligated to give me something I need, because when she does that, then it feels like she’s not being true to herself. She needs to take care of herself. I get that. I told her last week that when she pulls away from me it feels like I’m being punished, but she said that’s not what she’s doing… She just needs me to respect her need for space then.

I’m even too scared to hold her hand when we’re walking, or cuddle up to her when we’re watching a movie, because she’s made it clear that when she’s not “feeling it” she doesn’t want to show or accept affection… And it feels like she’s at that place most of the time lately. It seems like affection is only okay when she feels it’s okay. It’s not about me… Her needs and wants come first. If she’s going through a hard time, I try to be as supportive as possible, and am willing to put aside my own struggles for a while in order to be there for her. But she told me she can’t do that for me. That it overwhelms her and makes her resentful.

The worst thing is that the more she pulls away, the more insecure I get. But I’m going to try not to make that known, so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and miserable in the relationship. But how do you know when you get to the point where you’re giving up your own needs and wants just to make sure that your partner is happy in the relationship? Or whether you really are the problem and your needs/wants are just unrealistic? Maybe I’ll get used to things this way and won’t feel as insecure, because she’ll be more affectionate again? Maybe I’m just too sensitive, and by just going with “the flow” I’ll become less sensitive over time?

If I don’t do or say anything that day that irritates her, or makes her feel “bad”, then she’s affectionate. I’m scared every time I have a quick reaction to something she did or didn’t do, or something she said, that she’ll see it on my face, and I know that pisses her off. Even if I don’t say anything. Just the look on my face is enough for her. And then for the rest of the day she seems cold towards me. Is this normal? It doesn’t feel normal, but then again, I’m not too sure what’s normal in a relationship and what’s not.

I’m doubting myself a lot lately. Wondering whether the problems in the relationship is all just me. That maybe I’m just too much. Maybe I just need to change? I’ve made some changes already, and she’s acknowledged that I’m trying and have been doing better. But it still seems as though I mess up more than I should, and that now she’s even more hyper aware of every little thing.

The last evening I spent with her was on Monday, and usually we always say goodnight with a kiss. That night she didn’t. I wanted to kiss her, but I could sense she didn’t want that, as she had already said goodnight and turned around. When we were saying goodbye on Tuesday morning, she gave me a hug (again, no kiss), but the hug felt distant and cold. I have no idea what I did wrong. The rest of the day (yesterday) she seemed cold over text as well. It still doesn’t feel right today. But maybe it’s just my imagination.

I’m going to try to be better. I think that maybe if I just hide it better when I feel overlooked, hurt, or upset, that maybe things will be better. That I need to be more considerate maybe.

I don’t talk about this to my friends because I don’t want them to treat her any differently (they like her), and I feel a bit of shame for how I’m feeling only 6 months into the relationship. So I thought I’d post this here and see what you guys think?

Please keep in mind that these are my feelings, thoughts, and perspective on the relationship. So you won’t know how things are from her perspective. There are probably other factors involved as well.


About a week or so ago, I came across a video on Facebook from an interview with Brené Brown. As usual, I was captivated by what she had to say.

In this interview she talks about the importance of boundaries, and how empathy and compassion go hand in hand with having good boundaries, which is something I haven’t realized until now.

Then, a couple of days ago, I also came across an article on the topic of boundaries. It felt like the universe giving me a sign. So since then, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

I’m sensitive to other people’s energies, and tend to take their feelings on as my own. If someone is stressed and overwhelmed, even if I was in a peaceful mood, I suddenly become just as agitated as they are.

This leads to me feeling as though I need to “fix” them. That it’s my responsibility to make them feel better. Could this perhaps be a selfish thing? By making them feel better, or doing things that I think would make them feel better in such a situation, isn’t that just an attempt at making myself feel better? Almost like saying “I don’t like that you’re feeling this way, it’s making me uncomfortable because what you’re feeling, I’m also experiencing.”

When I look at it this way, then in this interview, when Brené says that some of the most compassionate people she knows are also some of the most boundaried, then her words make sense. If I have good boundaries, I won’t be taking on the other person’s emotions, but will rather be able to keep a healthy distance. And that will help me better support that person. Does this make sense?

I’ve realized that because I don’t have firm boundaries when it comes to what I let in, I’m almost constantly emotionally exhausted. I can’t, and don’t want to, do this anymore. It’s not healthy.

I got to practice this just yesterday. Elizabeth was upset with someone who had crossed one of her boundaries and was being rude and disrespectful. She had walked away from this person in order to get some distance, because she was feeling overwhelmed and didn’t want to say something she might regret. I listened to her, and really focused on what she was saying and the feelings she was expressing.

Just being present with her there in that moment, but mentally picturing a bubble around each of us, helped me gain that necessary distance between her emotions and mine. I could still empathize with her, and offer compassion, but her emotions didn’t affect me negatively. I wasn’t able to keep it up for very long though, but I think this is one of those things that we become better at with continued practice. The little bit I managed to do already helped quite a lot.

When she was feeling calmer, I told her I’m going to go do my own thing for a while, while she speaks to the person who had upset her. I went to the room, put on some music, and worked on some photo’s. I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed, like I would have and managed to let go of the little bits of negative emotions that she had expressed. Knowing that those emotions weren’t mine, I was able to more easily return to my own equilibrium.

Boundaries are so important. And they aren’t selfish. After all, you can’t be there for someone if you’re so overwhelmed yourself due to having weak boundaries. In 2018 I’m going to focus on strengthening my own, and implementing them more effectively. I only realized, after watching the video, and reading the article, just how much I’ve been negatively affected by other people and situations. Unnecessarily so, because I haven’t had proper boundaries established. It’s my responsibility to look after my mental and physical well-being. Not having the right boundaries in place, has made me give my power over to situations and other people. My goal is to work on that. I’ve already started, and I know I can do this.

Here’s the video for anyone who’s interested:

You can find the article here:

10 Great Things That Happen When You Set Boundaries

Wishing you all a wonderful 2018. Thanks for all your support this year.

The Dangers and Complications of Assumptions

I finished a Wilbur Smith novel a few weeks ago. The ending unsettled me.

In the second last chapter, the main character’s wife finds “evidence” that her husband has just been with another woman. All the signs were there. Her assumption could easily have been correct. But it wasn’t. Things weren’t as they seemed. It ends with her taking her own life.

Because of an assumption, a husband lost the wife he adored.
Because of an assumption, a young child lost his most significant attachment.

This really disturbed me. I felt like throwing the book out the window. If you’ve ever watched the movie “Silver Linings Playbook”, you might remember the scene where Pat (the main character) reaches the ending of a book, yells “what the fuck?”, and tosses it through the window. This scene resembled my reaction upon reaching that part of the book I was reading. The only difference was that I didn’t actually throw the book. I treat books like gold.

I had been wanting to write this post since that evening, but hadn’t gotten around to it. But then today, something came up that reminded me about it. I’m not going to go into what it was, as I want to keep some of my relationship details just between me and Elizabeth, where it belongs. I’m not one of those people who will call up their family or friends to complain about their relationship. It’s okay to discuss these things in therapy, but that’s about it. That’s a personal choice.

I accidentally stumbled on something that looked very suspicious (regarding Elizabeth), and my automatic reaction was one of shock, horror, and I felt the blood drain from my face. I went ice-cold. The assumptions came fast. When I became aware of these thoughts and the accompanying emotions, I decided to take a step back. It wasn’t easy, as the adrenaline was coursing through my body. It was difficult to focus. Once I had calmed myself down enough, through the square breathing technique I read in my CBT for Anxiety Workbook (it works!), I started challenging those thoughts. The strangest thing is that deep down inside I already doubted those assumptions, knowing that Elizabeth wouldn’t do something like that, but the feelings and thoughts were so intense that it kind of muted that doubt every few minutes. I knew the thoughts wouldn’t stop (I struggle with obsessive thoughts), or that I would continue to go around in circles with my thinking, so I did what I believe everyone should do when situations like this arise. I asked Elizabeth about it. I told her what I had seen, and asked what was going on.

Something like this had happened before. Not to such an extreme, and nothing this intense, but still significant none the less. I had held onto the assumption I had made, and indirectly accused her, which she quickly picked up on of course. That day, after talking through that, Elizabeth and I had made an agreement. We would ask one another when things like this happen, and not let assumptions rule until we have a chance to talk things through. I remembered that, so this is what I did.

After we had spoken about this thing today, she thanked me for asking her and not accusing her of something that wasn’t true, or automatically running with, and believing the assumption without having spoken to her about it and listening to her side of it. I feel like our relationship has strengthened as well. I’m more secure in it than I’ve ever been.

Anyway, it was not what it had initially looked like, and those assumptions actually didn’t even make sense. They didn’t add up, but the facts did. What she told me, the truth, made complete sense. She even sent me proof, even though she didn’t have to do that, because I trusted her word. There was no fighting, no argument, just a mutual exchange of information and facts. I chose to trust her. I still choose it. She told me that something like this might come up for her in the future too, and then she’ll also ask me before making major assumptions and letting those assumptions dictate her behaviour. I like this agreement. It works. I do trust her… More than I have anyone else in any of my previous relationships. She’s geniune, and has been completely open and honest with me from the start, so I have no reason to doubt her.

In the past I would have believed the assumption though, pushed her away, and vowed to never trust her again. I’ve dealt with lots of negative consequences due to believing the assumptions my mind threw at me. We can’t stop that initial sting, that initial doubt, anger, or any other unproductive emotions that pop up. But we can choose what to do with it once we’re aware of them. Do we challenge them, or do we let them consume our minds, causing further distress? The choice is ours.

Assumptions can be dangerous, as I saw in that novel. I know it was only a novel, but these things happen in the real world as well. That’s the scary part.

The saying “assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups” is a true one. The “ass” in “assumption” rings true as well.


Left Out

I miss my therapist.

I feel this insane need for her right now. I’m not a part of her personal life, and while I’m usually fairly okay with that (well, at least resigned to the boundaries that exist in this relationship), today I’m not. Today it hurts like hell. I want to be where she is right now, or for her to be here. I just want to hold onto her and cry. I want to joke around with her. I want to see her smile. I want to hear her voice. I want to laugh with her. I just want her.

The most confusing thing is that I’m not even sure where this is coming from. There are so many other people it would be seen as “normal” for me to miss right now, yet for some reason, it’s her that my mind is focused on.

The worst part is that most people would think I’m fucked up for missing a therapist. They just can’t understand. The only person who ever really understood this, and gets it, was Jasmine. But she’s not around to talk to anymore. At least I can still share it here and not look like an idiot.