Living with a Broken Heart

It’s been a while.  Sorry about that.  I’d love to get back in the habit of writing here and I think I will now that I’ve started.

As an update, I have been doing well.  In fact, I’ve been doing really well.  It has been just over a full year now since I have started taking my antidepressant, Sertraline which is the generic brand of Zoloft.  The medicine has been very helpful and has made me feel more like my old self than I thought was possible while I was in the midst of my depression.

I feel confident again.  I walk around with my shoulders back and my head high, the way I used to. I believe in myself and know what my abilities are and what I have to offer.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m being cocky with how confident I feel, but then I remind myself that 1. that’s really OK to feel! and 2. I’d take a little bit overly confident vs. self-loathing any day of the week/month/year/LIFE.

With that being said, my life is not perfect, not that I ever expect it or want it to be.  But I just need to be honest and open because it is one way that I cope with my struggles.  Certain things have been less than ideal lately – others in my life have been going through some really heavy and difficult times and I am not able to physically be there with them and that’s made me feel like a less than adequate friend some days.  But I do what I can and make sure they know I am here, on their side, and ready to support them the best way I can from where I am.  That has not bothered me.

Work has also been a bit stressful.  Many people have left or been let go lately and that is not always the easiest environment to go into every day, not knowing who may be the next to go whether by choice or not.  This has not bothered me.

Many more things have taken place that may be less than ideal – things with my parents’ health, my cat, my finances, etc.  None of these have bothered me.

What has bothered me most and kept me up most at night and made me feel the most empty is living with a broken heart.  Last year was the toughest year of my life, not just because of my depression but because of my breakup and its devastating nature.  I tried to be forgiving and understanding, so allowed things to continue but did not know that all the while I was being lied to.  At the end of the year, I still felt I wanted to be with this person.  They were the one I have loved more than anyone I have ever known.  I gave every ounce of my being to make sure that relationship could work and thrive and he could know I was there for him.  And at the end of the day, that was not reciprocated.  The worst part for me now, is I valued his friendship and role in my life so much, that I decided to try to remain friends with him.  We are still friends and talk and spend time together, but I can feel us slowly growing apart and it tears my heart into more pieces than ever before.

I did not know I could have a love so strong for someone.  I hope and pray that I can move on and find happiness in a relationship in the future, I just have no idea what that timeline looks like.  I have no interest in even looking at someone else in that way, not just because I am still getting over him, but because it does not even feel right for me to do so.  It feels as though I’d be ignoring everything my heart has told me for the last two years and that is not something I can easily do.  It makes me feel sick to think that I have lost something I never saw myself living without.  It makes me feel inadequate.

One of the craziest things is this person is one of my biggest advocates.  He tells me all the time that there is no reason I shouldn’t feel confident in myself or my work or my abilities or the things I have to offer.  And I agree.  However, how can the same person who tells me those things be the same one to completely reject me?  It is the most confusing and hurtful emotion to feel.  I had always believed him when he said those things to me.  And I believe them about myself.  Lately, he has mentioned he sees me doubting myself but I have not had the courage to tell him it’s because the person whose words I believed the most showed actions that went completely against those words.  How am I supposed to know what is real or not anymore, even in my own mind?  I don’t.

actions

“…it’s because the person whose words I believed the most showed actions that went completely against those words.”

Writing this and expressing this right now is so difficult.  This is something that has been stirring and manifesting in me for quite a while.  The worst of it is, since he is still a close friend and was my best friend for so long, all I want to do when I feel down is call him to talk about it.  But I have accepted that this is the reality.  This is my fate when it comes to him.  We can be friends, if I chose to continue on that path, but it will not be more than that.  He did not choose me.  He chose NOT me.  And that hurts.  Who do I talk to about this?  Where do I turn?  These are questions I have no answers for but sometimes cry myself to sleep thinking about.

I miss him dearly.  I miss him so much.  I could write a novel about how utterly certain I am that we were put on this earth to be with one another.  As crazy as it sounds, I still firmly believe that.  But I know with how much hurt he’s caused me that going back to the place we once were would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.  I want it and long for it so badly.  I still have hope that there will be somebody out there who can make me happy, but man is it hard to imagine replacing him.  And I hate that I think that, but I cannot deny my heart.  When my heart chooses to love someone, it does not give up.  Even when my head is begging it to.  I know in my head that moving on, being independent, living a life without him in it, and hopefully one day meeting someone who gives me what I want/need/deserve is what I should be focusing on.  But sadly, my heart is bigger than anything else within me and my heart is forever on my sleeve.  I love that man and it’s hard to imagine a day when I won’t.

So here I am.  Admitting that while my body has mostly healed from its depression and I can make it through nearly all of life’s difficulties with a strong and confident attitude, that I am most definitely living my life with a completely broken heart right now.  At first I felt ashamed by this.  But I now realize that admitting it will just be part of the process of helping me move on.  If there is anyone else going through something like this or who has ever been through this, I feel for you.  I’ve been broken up with before, and those breakups made me sad.  But this.  This feels like half of my soul got up and walked out of my body without any intention of ever coming back.  I would not wish the pain on anyone.  I only hope that those who have experienced it can find comfort in any way.  I am not sure I’ve figured out my source of comfort just yet, but I look forward to the day I do.

-mnw

Fear and Questioning

I was going to write this all in my journal, but something keeps telling me to write here instead.  I’m not really sure what it is that is going to come out, so hopefully it is something productive.

Well, I have been doing much better lately in general, but then I have moments.  These moments are so dark and lonely and sad that I can hardly bear to think of them.  I am experiencing one of those times right now.

I feel alone.  I guess it is hard to explain because ultimately I know that I am not alone, but that it what I feel.  I am tired, in every sense of the word.  Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion are overcoming me at certain times, and those times seem to be happening closer and closer together.  Those times make me apathetic.  I care about nothing.  Sure, I still love my family and friends and want the best for them but I feel I cannot control or contribute to that in any way, so ultimately what does my caring provide?

I generally feel sad.  I am confused on so many things, big and small.  From things like what I should eat (or if I should eat) to why does life exist?  I can’t seem to come to terms with anything.  I just want sound, logical answers to everything and it turns out that life does not have many of those to offer.  I hate that.  Sure, I like a bit of gray area here and there, but sometimes I need a black and white answer.  It helps keep me sane.  And right now, I do not feel I get any black and white answers.  Just more and more gray areas and confusion.

I am also questioning myself a lot lately.  Sometimes I feel I am getting back to my old self, but then I do something or react in a way I never would have and I’m wondering if I’m becoming another new version of myself.  It is scary.  I feel I don’t even know who I am and what I have to offer.  It’s like reuniting with a friend you haven’t seen in 10 years and realizing they have changed so much.  I feel I have changed so much and I can’t even describe who I am or what I want anymore.  It makes me feel lost.

I’m also hurt.  I have had a hell of a year in every possible way and I am just hurt by so much of it.  I have been rocked to my core in ways I did not know were possible by things I never thought were possible.  It sucks, frankly.  It has left me hopeless.  I have no idea what my future holds in any aspect of life.  I do not mean to be alarming by saying this, but I honestly question whether I even want a future.  Sometimes, giving up and letting go of the pain of so many things in life seems easier and quite honestly better than living through it.  You do not get a prize for persevering, so what is the purpose?

Everyone struggles, I understand this.  But nobody can ever really identify why they continue.  I guess if you are a parent, you mainly continue because of your kids.  But what about those that aren’t parents?  How do you find your will to live?  Most days I am OK, but some days I can’t even fathom getting out of bed.  Most days I do, and I go to work or go do whatever else it is that’s in my plans, but what have I gained?  What has changed?  Sometimes I wish I could give my life to someone who would make better use of it.  I feel ashamed that I have so many gifts and my mind makes it so very difficult for me to use them, or at least use them in a way that can help others.  It feels embarrassing and selfish of me.  Which only perpetuates my self-loathing, naturally.

I genuinely just want to feel peace.  Sometimes I do not even pray for happiness, but just peace.  In my mind and heart and soul.  Maybe then I could understand myself better and begin to try to find something that I can offer to the world.

 

-mnw

Change, uncertainty, and what comes next?

It’s been longer than I would have liked since I last wrote, but I cannot stay away for too long.  Too much builds inside and I know it is time to clear my head in the way i know how – writing.  To describe how I have been feeling lately is going to really take some effort.

My depression and anxiety have been seemingly under control which is a great feeling.  I say this knowing that it is still an underlying issue at moments, but for the most part, I am in a good place.  Anxiety has been more prominent lately than anything, but through my work with therapy I am fortunate enough that I can manage my anxiety on my own as long as I am not having a full-blown panic attack.

With all this being said, my life has been an emotional whirlwind the last month and I am finally running out of gas and not sure what is next.  I’ve remained so strong throughout it all – finding out some unsavory information about the guy I have loved for the last year and a half, being offered a job in a city completely across the country, watching my brother move home closer to our family,  and falling in love with improv.  I feel like I have lost myself and found myself all at once.

It’s taken me my entire life, but I am currently so ecstatic about the person I am.  I am doing things I have always feared doing, but doing them because I want to pursue them and not for any other reason.  However, there is still a missing piece to the puzzle and I just am not certain as to what that piece is.  My happiness is no longer dependent on another person; however, having someone to share the happiness would certainly be great.

I just cannot fathom trusting a person right now.  I know how I feel towards myself and I do not believe that anyone will ever truly be able to see all the good that I have to offer.  It is great to be confident in yourself, but for me I love reaffirmation from others.  It tells me that my thoughts are valid, real, and not exaggerated.  While I do not NEED that, it is so nice to have.  This period of my life has been the most transformative not in the sense that I have changed, but that I have realized who I am and what I deserve.  It is definitely overwhelming to experience and makes you question so many things about life.

i think this feeling of being overwhelmed and unsure of the future is what is putting me in my current funk.  I finally know myself, but now what to do with that knowledge?  All I can hope is that I can help people.  That is what makes me feel fulfilled and happy.  I love helping others and making them happy.  I know I can do that now I just need to figure out the best way to do that and people who want that from me as well.

 

-mnw

An Emotional Day…and beyond.

As humans, every day is emotional for us. For better or worse.  Today was one for worse.  I felt anxious.  That physical anxiety that you feel not just in your chest but your whole body.  You are short of breath and feel light headed.  And then your body goes numb.  You cannot feel your hands; it starts there and continues up your arms and just permeates your entire body and really your entire existence. In that moment you are the most helpless you’ve ever been.

And maybe just maybe if you’re lucky enough to get over the anxiety, then you start to recap all the things that made you feel so awful.  Then you become depressed.  Work is hard, interacting with people is hard, just keeping up the facade of “being okay” becomes harder than you ever imagined.  Yet you hope someone will notice but you’re trying so hard to disguise it, how could they ever believe something is wrong?

Then finally upon coming home you realize you are so drained and exhausted from trying to keep up with the facade all day that you do not have the energy, or desire, to do anything.  You are expended.  So, you skip dinner and put on a TV show for background noise to try to drown out your own thoughts.  Sometimes though, putting on the TV is worse so you just lay in bed staring at the walls and ceiling just waiting for it to get dark so hopefully you can go to sleep.  But you know you won’t be able to sleep.  You never do.  You wake up in a panic in the middle of the night.  You sweat so much it’s unhealthy.  And worst of all you never get the rest you need after exhausting yourself all day. So you wake up more exhausted before the new day has even begun.

I hate this cycle.  I absolutely hate it.  It sometimes feels unbreakable.  I hope this is not the case.  It is too hard to continue living in this way.

That was my day today.  The only saving grace I was able to find was, after we had a huge storm I finally got motivated to take out my garbage which I have not done in a month.  Yes, that is how little I do at home.  But I walked out and immediately I saw it.  A cardinal.  I always see cardinals in times of difficulty and what it has come to mean for me is that God is telling me I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment.  I literally walked right up to it because I was in disbelief.  We stared at each other for a minute.  I then took went around the building to throw my garbage out and by the time I came back around, he was gone.  Completely out of sight.  I needed him today.  The day is still hard, but without that it would be even harder.
-mnw

More to a tree, and me, than meets the eye.

One thing I think about often is how I believe everything happens as it is supposed to.  Sometimes I do not want to believe this and try to convince myself that maybe this is not the case.

However, then I look around me and reflect.  When you look at a tree what do you see?  Do any thoughts come to mind? For some reason, especially when on a longer drive, when I look at trees all I can think about is the grand mystery of nature and the earth.  How all events in history (whether you believe in a higher power or simply just think it is science) conspired for this moment to happen.  The tree has so many parts to it, yet we only see its exterior and take for granted its story.  Where it is from, how long it has been growing, and all the parts of it that we cannot see but that make it the tree we accept and see.

I think this is a lot like our lives in a way.  People look at us and see us in a moment.  Everything in our lives, and everything in the universe for that matter, worked together to put you in this place.  But people only see that moment.  They do not see what has made you who you are in that moment.  They do not see your story, what you have been through, and all the parts that make you uniquely you.  This feeling can be exhausting.  It leaves us feeling misunderstood, attacked, and alone.  For me, I often go on the defensive immediately if I feel someone does not understand where I am coming from or agrees with a decision I make.  

But I am coming to realize, it’s ok for people to not know the whole story.  I know it is ok because I can still look at a tree, know nothing about it, and find beauty in it.  And those are the people we need in life.  Those who can look at us, know nothing or everything, yet love and care for us regardless.  Those types of people are rare and hard to come by.  I am fortunate to have a few, and everyone deserves to have people like that.  Life is too hard to go it alone.  As much as it may be hard at times, do not be afraid to lean on others.  Independence is great, but the universe has put these other people here for a reason, so you might as well take advantage.
-mnw

Respect yourself, because others may not.

How are you supposed to act when you find out the last several months have basically been a lie?  What is the appropriate response?  Crying, yelling, screaming, saying nothing, running away?  What do you do?

My heart has been broken by someone that I love (eventually that will say loved in the past tense, but that will take time).  When something like this happens, it really makes you question and doubt yourself.  It’s making me think “what was wrong with me?”  Well, I think if there is anything I have learned from having depression and anxiety is that your mind is powerful enough to convince you of anything.  It can tell me how I was not an ideal partner because I was depressed.  Although to be fair, anyone who is worth being with should accept you as you are.  I can also tell myself I wasn’t nice enough, skinny enough, funny enough, caring enough, demanding enough, etc. etc. etc.  What it comes down to at the end of the day though is NOT me.  It was not me.

He made the decision to talk to and hang out with another girl.  He made the decision to omit that from every time I asked about it.  He made the decision to treat me as though I were disposable.  I cannot place the blame on myself.  I do that each time I find myself in a situation like this and finally, I have realized, it is not my fault.

I am very, very good at blaming myself for things.  But this time is different.  I can’t and frankly, I won’t.  I have wondered for so long why he could not and would not commit to me fully, and now it is clear that he was never sure.  His actions have fully backed that and I cannot change who he is or what he feels.  I will never be able to.  I do not know if or when I will be able to forgive this, but I know I need my space to sort out my own thoughts and feelings before figuring out what will come next in life.

I will come out of this stronger and I will be better off for all that I have learned from this situation.  There is no doubt that I will eventually find happiness, in whatever ways I can.

The only thing I regret is letting my heart open up to someone who couldn’t even respect it.  I will be guarding my heart more carefully than ever after this.  Trust will not be given anymore, as it always has been with me in the past.  From now on, my own happiness will be my priority and not the happiness of someone else, especially someone who cannot respect me.

 

-mnw

Own your emotions.

One of the hardest parts of feeling depressed, which I can say I am feeling less of these days (medication, therapy, & life changes all contributing factors), is realizing it is alright to own your emotions.  I spent so much of the beginning parts of my depression feeling bad that I was feeling bad.  This did not help anything; and it also took me quite some time to realize and admit this.

At first I was embarrassed for feeling depressed when on paper there were so many good things in my life.  So I suppressed those feelings and tried to tell myself I did not feel them.  Which just made me feel worse because I was lying to everyone including myself.  Eventually, I hit a breaking point.  I could no life deny how worthless and shitty I felt: physically, mentally, emotionally.  I was exhausted.  So I admitted to myself and a few others that things weren’t so great.

Slowly, I realized this was helping.  Once I started talking to my therapist, she helped me realize the importance of allowing myself to feel whatever it is I am feeling.  That it was OK to be sad.  Even as she told me this, I did not understand nor believe this.  I thought that was part of her job, to tell me to “let it out” or something.  Sounded cliché and easier said than done.  But eventually, during one of my mid-driving cry sessions, I remembered what she said.  Just feel it and give the emotion its time to marinate.  So I did.  I relishes every second and every tear.  I cried as hard as I possibly wanted or imagined without thinking or questioning myself.  And eventually, I stopped crying.  And I kept going.

It was weird to be honest.  But I realized at that moment what she meant.  When you are happy and something great happens, don’t you just let yourself feel that?  If something is funny, don’t you let yourself laugh?  Well, if you’re body and mind is telling you are sad or feeling off, there is likely a reason so you should take the time to listen and let yourself feel that.  It has felt so great at times to just allow myself to feel.  To own how I feel.  To own my emotions.

It sounds so simple.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  But I promise, experiencing my emotions the way my mind and body is telling me to has been therapeutic in its own right.  While it has not been a cure, it certainly has been a helpful coping mechanism in the meantime.  I hope that owning my emotions can help me heal.
-mnw

Emotions: Inexplicable.

Mid-breakdown right now and the only thing I can mentally fathom doing is writing.  I cannot function otherwise.  Not even able to get up off my couch.  I am thirsty, could use a Kleenex, and am cold.  But I cannot move.

This was the first time I have ever been in the midst of a depressive attack while simultaneously being aware I am in the middle of an attack.  It was like I was seeing my thoughts from above.  Like there were two people in the conversation.

The main voice in the conversation is telling me how difficult things are right now.  Not just with one aspect of my life, but many.  Work, finances, friends, family, relationships, and pets.  That’s without all my mental health issues I am trying to work through.  I am not saying my life is any more difficult than anyone else’s, because I do not believe it is.  It is probably actually much better than most.  But that is another reason why this voice in the conversation is so frustrating.  I know things are not as bad as they sometimes feel, yet this voice will not let me believe that.  This voice wants to tell me over and over how bad things are and how they will not get better.  No matter what.

So that is one voice.

The other, quieter but much more frantic sounding voice is the one saying “do you hear yourself right now?” This voice is telling me how ridiculous the loud voice sounds and is trying to remind me that the loud voice is wrong.  But then the loud voice comes back in and says, “how can I be wrong? Do you hear how loud and overpowering I am? I must be right.”  And I am wrestling.  Somehow I am currently wrestling nothing other than my own mind.  And let me tell you, it’s a very helpless feeling.  Knowing that you are your own worst enemy.  That you do no want to think these things, but some monster and some disease inside of you is making you.  It is like being physically ill. You don’t WANT to feel terrible, but you cannot help what your body is doing.  You are not in control.  All you can do is do your best to take care of yourself and hope that helps you feel better.  Mentally feeling ill is the same way.

Right now, I am hoping writing will calm me down and help my brain make the loud voice subside.  It sucks having these moments.  It truly does and I would never wish it on anyone.

How do you tell your own brain to stop working?  How do you tell yourself you are wrong, when you know you are also right?  It makes no sense.  Being your own biggest advocate yet your biggest adversary, literally at the same moment in time.  It hurts you.  You feel weak for somehow feeling both of those things towards yourself at the same time.  Feeling one way or the other feels normal; but both at the same time?  It makes you feel strange and alienated and as if nobody can empathize.  So you do not tell anyone, furthering those feelings.

Hopefully the way I feel is only temporary and can go away before bed tonight.  It would be difficult to wake up and begin a new day feeling this way, so I am going to work hard to be balanced mentally before falling asleep.  If anyone else is feeling this way right now, know you are not alone tonight.

 

-mnw

Crippling

The worst part of being depressed is how crippling it is and can be.  It can be paralyzing.  That is difficult to explain to others especially when you are in that moment.  You want to feel better and act like everything is alright but your body will not allow you.

Well, it’s been two days since I’ve tried to write this post. And frankly, it’s been hard for me.  I think because I am scared. I am scared of how I feel.  I feel better, but not really.  Better than before, much better, but then there are moments (sometimes days) where I’m not better.  And that scares me to admit that.  I guess that fear is something that has been crippling me without me even realizing it.  And that’s part of what this whole thing can do to you; make you act or feel a certain way without you being fully aware that you are acting or feeling that way.  That is how it can be so crippling.

I am worried.  I worry for the future.  I also worry for the present.  I want to be my best version of me for everyone around me.  There is so much for me to offer to others.  Do they see that?  Am I giving as much of myself as I can?  I know I should be focusing on my own health and I am, so now I am thinking about how a residual effect of that should be how those around me feel and how they perceive me.  I want the best for everyone.  I saw a quote today that really resonated with me and is really making me do a hard stop and closely examine myself…

“Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.”

-Mother Teresa

 I mean, that’s pretty powerful.  To make sure each interaction you have with others benefits them just as much as it benefits you.  I guess this is why I get fearful.  What if I am having a really off day and my light does not shine through and help make another person better and happier?  That’s a devastating and scary thought to have.  One that makes you want to stay away from others when you are down because you do not want to bring them down with you.  This is such an important thing for loved ones of people with depression to know.  Many times it is not about them wanting to shut people out or be alone, it is that they would rather not talk with you than even toy with the possibility of you feeling an ounce of sadness, pain, and vulnerability that they are feeling.

I am not sure what is bringing on these feelings of fear within me.  Normally I am afraid of nothing.  It is a new feeling that is very difficult for me to navigate many days.  Sometimes it makes me angry.  Which is also a feeling I rarely feel, so then I truly begin to question myself and whether I am healing.  I think that I am and that this is part of my process, but every day is a learning experience.  Some nights I pray not to fall asleep because each morning is difficult and it feels like I am starting over.  As the day goes on, I start to feel better; but then I must give that up and begin all over again tomorrow.

Tonight instead of praying not to fall asleep, I will try to pray that when I wake I can begin where I left off rather than having to start anew again.  And maybe slowly, I will be able to heal so that I can make others better and happier each time I interact with them.

 

-mnw

You cannot be second.

This phrase needs to be the most important phrase you think each and every day.  While it should always be a phrase you tell yourself, it becomes so much more vital when you are experiencing depression or any other mental illness.  You must be willing to put yourself first.

I am the type of person who genuinely loves to make others happy.  It makes me feel joy knowing that I, even in some small way, can bring joy to other people.  And many times I put that above the desire to bring happiness to myself.  Who am I kidding?  It is almost all times.  I like to say it is both my best and worst quality.  When I love and care for someone or something, I do it with my entire being; which is sometimes the most rewarding thing or the most absolutely devastating thing when it is not reciprocated.

Sometimes when I am going through a difficult situation, I expect others to put my needs first in the way that I do with them.  Life lesson: 99% of humanity does not operate that way.  And that’s OK!  But I did it know this is how things worked or that it was OK for a very long time.  It brought on a lot of resentment towards people throughout my life.  Now?  Well, now I’m realizing they’re just putting themselves first and it should be alright for me to do that too.

While experiencing depression, I had no idea how to help myself.  I was so trapped in my own mind that I could not even begin to decide what would be something that would help me.  And this is why I looked to others to guide that process.  Then got upset when they did not have answers because they wanted to respect my own processes and healing.  I just figured they did not care as much as I felt they should.

But through everything I knew something had to change.  And knew that it ultimately had to come from me.  So one day, it randomly popped in my head “you cannot be second.”  Since I have had this thought I have been able to slowly but surely believe that.  I cannot be second.  Not only for my own health, but if I want to continue to want to make the people in my life happy then I must first be happy and satisfied in my own life.  If I truly care about those around me, and I do I really do, then I must be the best version of myself so that what little potential positivity and happiness I am able to give them, I can do so with no obstacles.

This is why I have bought in and realized “you cannot be second.”  What will be your motivation?

 

-mnw