A Heavy Heart

It’s been a tough couple of weeks.

Seeing my ex again affected me so much more than I expected. I didn’t actually think it would affect me at all. But what gave her closure, opened up old wounds in me. Wounds, I realized, I had just placed a band-aid over.

Leaving the relationship was hard. The hardest part was leaving her behind, knowing I had hurt her by ending us. I hurt for myself as well, but most of the pain and sadness I experienced was for her. I would push my own feelings down as often as I could. I had a few moments here and there where I would just break down, and experience the pain I was in, the doubt, fear, sadness at what I had lost. I spent more time trying to convince myself that I was okay.

This time has been so much harder. I started off feeling a lot of anger towards myself. I caught myself thinking that I shouldn’t still be feeling this way. It’s over. It was over a long time ago, so there’s no reason for it to be an issue now. Thinking that I shouldn’t have gone to see her. But I did. I can’t change that. All I can do is accept the consequences, and deal with them.

Beating myself up for feeling this way, was just reinforcing a pattern I’ve repeated throughout my life. When I was thinking “I shouldn’t have gone to see her” that made the anger even stronger. Why? Because it sounds (and feels) like a demand and a judgement. The better way of thinking about it, is stating a preference instead. I wish I hadn’t gone to see her. When I changed it to the latter, I felt more compassion and gentleness towards myself, and the anger lost its sting.

It’s okay to feel this sadness. It’s okay to cry. It doesn’t mean I’m weak. It means I’m human. It means I loved. It means that I cared enough about someone to notice their absence and feel the loss. Our tears help soothe the pain we feel. They heal us from the inside out.

Our emotions, what we feel at any given moment in time, is neither good nor bad. They just are. I would rather feel, than numb myself again. Because at some point, that numbness will go away, and I’ll be forced to feel anyway. Whereas if I allow myself to feel all those emotions as they come up, they will pass quicker. These emotions aren’t going to kill me. I can’t rush it, I can’t force it. I can instead allow myself to go through this grief and see it through.

I feel that I’ve changed during this process over the past few weeks. There’s healing taking place. Not just with regards to the end of the relationship, but also in my relationship with myself. As painful as this process is, and has been, I can see the beauty in it.

I’ve been trying to treat myself with compassion. When we silence the inner critic, and let go of our judgments towards ourselves, the true healing begins. When we allow self-compassion into our hearts, it can change so much of our experience. It shows us that we’re valuable and worthy.

I took the day off from work today. I was feeling too bad, and needed time to just be. Away from the outside world. I took a long, hot bath, and did some art therapy. My new favourite thing.

You might think that I regret having gone to see my ex that day. But I don’t. Now I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it really is over. That there’s no going back. I also gained something important. That’s my closure.

My heart is heavy today. But it’s healing.

A Year

I don’t go onto Facebook often. A few hours ago, I did. Right at the top of my news feed I saw a post from my aunt, that knocked the breath right out of me. It felt as though someone had just stabbed me through the heart. The post was “Dearest brother, it’s been a year since you left us. We still miss you every day, and you’ll forever live on in our hearts.”

It’s been a year since one of my uncles ended his life. Right now it seems like just yesterday. I haven’t thought about him much since then, and the moments I did, I’d feel a sharp stab of pain that would only last a few minutes. I wanted to cry. I wanted to grieve, but my mind didn’t want that. It would just shut down. Exactly one year later, it’s finally hit me in full force. I’ve been crying for what feels like hours. The pain is unbearable, but I have no choice but to bear it.

I didn’t even go to his funeral. It was in another city and I couldn’t afford the plane ticket. A part of me also didn’t want to go. But now I regret it. I wish I could have said goodbye.

A few years ago, he started drinking heavily. Every time he would phone me, he was so drunk I could barely make out what he was saying.

The last time I saw him, I didn’t even recognize him. He didn’t look at all like the uncle I had known. Where was the strong man who used to make me laugh with his silly antics? The man who always called me his “little monkey”. I was angry with him that day. I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d ever see him.

A week before he succeeded, he had attempted suicide, but his ex-wife found him in time. After that, I just had this feeling in my gut that he would try again. And I was right. The evening before that day, he phoned me. But I didn’t answer. And I don’t even know why. What if he was reaching out, and answering that phone call would have made a difference? Instead, I just ignored him. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think about it much this past year. Guilt. Once again, I had let someone I loved, down. And once again, I failed at being there for someone I loved, in their last moments.

I wish I could go back in time. But I can’t. And no amount of wishing can change that.

So tonight I’m feeling what I haven’t allowed myself to feel.

I miss him, and wish he was still here.

First Love

Lonely tonight.

I had her.
I lost her.
She let me go.
She broke my heart.
My first love.
A love I never experienced before or since.
There were others I thought I was in love with.
I wasn’t.
I was just infatuated for a short while.
I had been fooling myself.
But with her it was real.
Unexplainable.
Painful.
Beautiful.
What if she was the one?
My only shot at true love.
My last.
Now meant to be alone.
Forever.

Love heals? No, love destroys.

Fighting For Air

This time of year, I feel the grief of everyone I have lost through the years. Too many people. Some gone too soon. Others leaving a broken heart in their shadows as they walk away.

Tonight is one of those moments of intense grief. Memories drifting through my mind. The pain and hurt proving that I’m still alive and breathing. Even though I don’t want to be.

I wish I could scream out loud. Swear at the universe. Instead, I scream on the inside. Because I don’t have that voice that allows me to express these emotions in as powerful a way as I feel them on the inside. So they remain there. Where only I can hear them.

These waves of grief wash over me. Pulling me under. Drowning me. But I fight for the surface. I fight for that elusive air.

Already Missing Her

Today I had my last therapy session for 2016.

The next time I’ll be seeing Therapist is on the 10th of January 2017. I know I’ll survive and that life will carry on as usual, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t miss her and think about her every day.

I’ve been having a lot of bad dreams about her going away. About me not being a part of her personal life. But on the other hand, I love this therapeutic relationship. It’s more intimate than any other relationship I’ve ever had, and I know that it wouldn’t be the same if we were friends, or even family. The therapeutic relationship is a very special type of relationship, and I treasure it.

A part of me feels abandoned by her. That she won’t be here for me during December, which is the worst time of the year for me. But that’s Emotion Mind speaking. Rational and Wise Mind knows that this break is important for her. This part is glad that she’s going to have a break and be able to recharge. That she’ll be spending time with those she loves. And that makes me feel happy. It’s just hard to reconcile the two parts at the same time. It’s either-or, depending on which frame of mind I’m in at that moment.

The fear of her not coming back in the new year is there too. The fear that she’ll forget about me. But I trust her more than I did in the beginning few months, thanks to her consistency. So that isn’t my main fear. Especially now that we’ve already set a date and time for our next session. That really helps as well. She also sent me a beautiful recording, which I’ll listen to whenever I feel I’m missing her too much and just want her to come back. I don’t want to forget her.

I think my biggest fear is that I’ll lose that connection I feel with her. What if when she comes back, I don’t feel that connection anymore? I tend to push people away and put a shield around my heart if I don’t see them for a while, or feel I’m going to be rejected. That way I won’t have to feel that intense longing or pain. But I don’t want to do that with her.

I told Therapist about all the plans I have in place for December. Constructive activities that will help me through this difficult time. Such as working on the book I’ve started writing, blogging, studying Psychology through those free online courses (MIT’s Introduction to Psychology, for example) and textbooks, reading through Marsha Linehan’s DBT Skills Training Manual (and practicing those skills). And most importantly, spending time with my girlfriend, who recently told me “I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere”.

Trying to explain to someone (like my dad and stepmom) who just don’t get it, about how hard this is going to be for me, is like trying to explain physics to a three year old. Yes, I’m attached to my therapist. And maybe that’s not normal or understandable to most people. But it’s real to me. And it makes sense for me.

Going into this session, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t expect the goodbye would hurt this much. I feel this overwhelming sense of loss, and I don’t know why.

I don’t want to see it as a “goodbye”. Instead, I choose to see it as “see you soon”.

Why

This is a letter I wrote a few years ago, for a friend of mine who ended his life when we were 19 years old. I’m hoping that sending this out into the universe will help me let go.

Dear M,

You were one of my closest friends that year.

Standing on the balcony, without looking at me, you told me that you were in love with me. I didn’t know what to say. I just didn’t feel the same way. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I knew I didn’t want to lie to you either. I told you the truth, and I could see the disappointment and hurt all over your face. When you walked away, I wanted to come after you, but I didn’t.

You were in the house right across from me. Before I fell asleep that night, I thought of you. I didn’t know that it would be your last night. Why didn’t I come see you? I should have come to you.

But I never got a second chance.

Why couldn’t I tell how you were feeling? I’m usually good at seeing beyond masks. So then why couldn’t I see past yours?

I’m so angry with you. Why didn’t you talk to me and tell me what was wrong? Why did you leave me behind? It’s not fair.

I had just been dealing with my dad’s suicide attempts. And then you went and succeeded. How was I supposed to feel when I had just lost a few of the most important people in my life over a 2 year period before meeting you, and had to deal with my dad, and then you?

But how can I be mad at you when I have been wanting to take my own life since I was a little girl? That makes me a hypocrite. But I never followed through. I stayed when every part of me wanted to leave this life. Why couldn’t you? Why did you have to leave? Sometimes I hate you.

I couldn’t even look your parents in their eyes at your funeral. How could I tell them that I was the reason you were gone? Because that’s how I felt at the time. That maybe I was the reason you finally gave up. Sometimes I still feel like that. It seems like the only explanation. I couldn’t bear to look at your picture. I just sat there. Numb. Empty.

I was so angry the day after you left, when they told us all that God had called you home. I wanted to stand up and yell at them. How dare they say that! That was the beginning of the end of my journey of faith. I know you would probably be disappointed, but I just can’t believe in a god that allows so much injustice and suffering.

Everyone else seemed to be over it after a few days, and carried on as if it had never happened. But I just couldn’t. Nothing felt real, and everything was a blur for the next few months. Life seemed to go on around me, people talking and laughing, my best friend didn’t even know how much I was struggling. I couldn’t talk about you. I wasn’t interested in anything. The voices all around me, seemed like they were miles away.

My heart is broken today.
Never again will I see your warm smile.
Never again will I hear your contagious laughter.

You were only 19. Your whole life was ahead of you.
You’ll never get to see another sunrise or sunset.
You’ll never get to feel the cool breeze on your skin.
You’ll never get to see the beauty of a baby being born.
You’ll never get to see the random acts of kindness that warm the soul.
You’ll never get to experience the love you deserved.

I’m so sorry for letting you down.

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.

You’ll always have a space in my heart.

Love,
Rayne

Feeling The Grief

I’ve never liked that word. Grief. Even as I’m typing it out, I’m cringing inside.

But as a friend recently told me, words are just that. Words.

The morning after having written my post ‘Basking in the Sun‘, I woke up with this feeling of intense sadness. It’s followed me through the entire week, and I’m still feeling it.

Random spurts of crying accompanied it. Even at work, while focused on what I was doing, I was acutely aware of the aching inside me. And sometimes I couldn’t contain it any longer and the tears would just spill out. Obviously not wanting anyone else to see, I would go the bathroom, and let it just come. But only for a minute or two, and then I’d compose myself and walk out smiling, as though nothing had happened. I’m grateful that it’s not easy for people to tell that I’d been crying. It only becomes noticeable if I’d been crying for a long time.

Even while out with a good friend yesterday, I couldn’t get rid of this sadness. I was spending the day with her, her new boyfriend and his family. At one point I pulled her aside and told her that I was struggling emotionally. She gave me a big hug and told me that it’s okay to feel the way I am. That it’s normal. She was so caring and and supportive. I felt safe. I don’t usually tell friends or family that I’m struggling with something, but I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to be vulnerable with people closest to me. I’m glad I told her, because she helped me realize that it’s okay to feel these emotions and to deal with them.

The reason for my sadness is I’m missing someone that was a constant part of my life for years. I’m grieving for the life I had. It wasn’t the good life, but it’s familiar. I miss the place, the people, the person… Just everything. Now I’m in a new place, new environment, and nothing is familiar. I know I’m starting to build the life I want, that I’m slowly starting to find my feet, but I’m overwhelmed. I feel as though I shouldn’t hope too much, or allow myself to feel happy, because it will just come crashing down around me anyway. I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy and to have a happy life. That it’s just not meant for me. The day after having written the above mentioned post, I felt guilty. What right did I have to feel that good? What right do I have to feel good, when so many other people are suffering and in pain?

I haven’t really allowed myself to fully experience the loss of all I left behind. I thought I had. I thought I had let it go. But I haven’t really. Because most of the time I would just push it away or play it down when the thoughts and feelings would surface. I would tell myself that I’m fine. But I’m not fine.

I’m allowing myself to really sit with, and experience these emotions today. To sit with the sadness and grief. With the unbearable pain. With the thought that I made the biggest mistake of my life. That what if all we needed was this break? I’m sitting with the longing to go back to my old life. To the person who’s love was conditional, admitting that she took it away sometimes in order to punish me, but at least I had that love sometimes. I never felt safe when I was living that life. But that life feels safe now. Safer than where I am at this moment. But I know it’s just the grief talking. That if I go back, nothing would have changed. Maybe it would be different for a little while, better, but then what? So many ‘what if’s’ consume my mind, and I’m allowing myself to ask and answer those difficult questions.

It’s so hard and painful. And I’m so unsure about my future.