Guest Post: Facing your TRUTH, and healing, after the end of a relationship.Posted: November 25, 2012
The piece that follows was written very recently by a dear friend of mine, facing one of the greatest challenges of their life. Whether they realise it or not, being this honest is incredibly brave, and I am immensely proud of them for finding the courage to face their truth in this way, so they can begin the hard work of recovery and healing. [Author’s name withheld on request – please respect copyright.]
Getting help for depression and anxiety after the love of your life has already left you is kind of like waking up from a coma and finding out your best friend has died.
My girlfriend left me not long ago, after three months of slowly watching the person she loves become an emotionally isolated stranger. The most heartbreaking moments must have come when my love for her managed to show itself – small flashes that reminded her of the person that was in there, somewhere. Little moments. She was walking barefoot and came to some broken glass; I picked her up and carried her across. She held on to me like a koala. She laughed in my ear. For that beautiful moment, she was happy.
She left me two weeks later. She had no choice.
There were the mood swings. Can’t find a food storage container? Why yes, I will lose my fucking mind over it, thankyouverymuch. I will check and re-check every cupboard in the house. Then I’ll turn around and speak to you like nothing just happened. I won’t understand what you were upset about. Your eyes will be pleading with me, searching for the person you know. And I won’t comprehend the stress that I’ve been putting you under. Because in that head space – in the grip of this awful, invisible illness – nothing is about you. It’s all about me.
The first week after she decided to leave, I went through flashes of acting out like a wounded animal – being cold towards her, lashing out, emptying all her possessions from the house I was simultaneously trying to argue was still hers, wailing that she never truly loved me. But deep down, I knew she wasn’t leaving because she didn’t love me. She was leaving because she did. Knowing this, I also realised that something had to be incredibly wrong. What could push someone who cares about me so much, who loves me to their core – what could push that person to decide that she couldn’t do it anymore?
Within four days of her leaving, I had my first therapy session.
The cruel irony of it all is that the better I start to feel within myself – as I slowly start to emerge from the deep fog that had set in my brain – the worse I start to feel. Because I can feel. The loss of my girlfriend has gone from a source of anger, of irrational feelings of betrayal, to a total, unrelenting, unbearable ache. My indifference has become an endless longing. The thoughts meander through my head in an endless drone.
What is she doing right now? This would make her laugh. How is she feeling today? Did she have a good day at work? Does she still think about me? Will she ever be able to trust me again? Does she still love me?
The endless drone goes on. Again, it’s the little moments that hurt the most. Every time I see a yellow car, I feel a little jolt in my heart. A reminder to me that, even when I was lost in myself, I was still with her. But she couldn’t feel it. She couldn’t see it in my eyes.
Not long ago I asked her to take me back. Seeing the difference in me, she desperately wanted to, but couldn’t – she was too scared that things would go back to the way they were. With hindsight, it was too soon for me to suggest any kind of reconciliation. I need to become strong on my own. There is another factor – that while I became the emotionally isolated stranger, she developed feelings for someone else. As much as it hurts, I can’t hold it against her. The person she fell in love with had vanished.
Seeing that person re-emerge after losing all hope must be equally heartbreaking. I imagine the questions that she might be asking herself.
Where were you? Why couldn’t you see what was happening? How could you not know how much you were hurting me?
And maybe the worst question of all: Why did you have to come back – why did you have to remind me of the person you really are – when it could mean I have to lose you all over again?
It’s entirely understandable that she wants to protect herself from that pain; it’s also entirely understandable that she wants to protect me from the harsh reality that, when it comes down to it, I drove her to someone else. But for me, protecting myself from the pain isn’t the point. The point is feeling it, simply because I can.
Allowing myself to sink back to that place of nothingness is a tempting escape from this constant feeling of heartache and loss. But it isn’t an option. The person she met and fell in love with was confident; independent; funny; creative; energetic; passionate. That person lived for each moment. That person was fearless. That person will always be worth saving.
And now the hard work starts.
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New post from me next Sunday. Off to a gathering of family and friends… and what a wonderfully warm day for it 🙂