The awful feeling returns. And with it comes the horrible accompaniments: shame; doubt; anxiety. Maybe this time it will get really bad and we’ll move into anger; hate; self-harm. It’s a vicious circle. I feel sad. I then feel pathetic. Toughen up. Deal with life’s knocks better. Don’t be defined by this. Thoughts circle my head, and I’m not even sure who I am or how to be. I don’t know what I want anymore.
It takes its tolls on relationships. Friends bored, hearing it all over again; frustrated that you seem to be talking yourself into a rut; wondering why your problems are always so much worse than theirs; who feel frustration that their words, suggestions, support – filled with good reason, practicality and kindness – are met with indifference or a polite refusal. Their love is not unconditional, their patience will run out, you can only bring them down so many times. Why listen to your cry for help when you seem to have no intention of being saved?
Parents are concerned, going days without hearing from you, getting short, non-committal answers. Their love is close to unconditional, but it doesn’t seem enough.
Acquaintances wondering why I haven’t said anything for 30 minutes and hardly seem to have heard what they’ve said; taken aback by a dark sense of humour that hints at something far darker beneath the surface. Those who look and see it as nothing but self-obsession; the pretentious ramblings of someone who has nothing else to say; who would narrate your every thought with ‘Oh here we go again – woe is me’. Or maybe they don’t, and it’s just my paranoid projection. A product of the fact that it’s so often how I view myself, and thinking that surely someone else must see it for the narcissistic, self-absorbed shit it is.
I think it contributed to the breakdown of my relationship with my girlfriend. It’s so easy to blame my anxiety, my paranoia, black moods that gripped me so tight I didn’t think I could breathe. But there is no catharsis in absolving responsibility for shitty things said and done. Shortcomings. The times that blackness and anger – unresolved and undirected – triumphed over love, kindness, gentleness. I have to take responsibility for that.
I did really try. It just wasn’t enough.
Therein lies the problem. I know I am suffering with something. There is that temptation, encouraged by those around you, to be ‘kind to yourself’, absolve yourself. Yet, I have a tendency to self-sabotage. And it is hard to show yourself kindness when you feel as if you are your own worst enemy. It’s hard to be kind to the person who feels like the source of this dissatisfaction.
Someone said to me ‘You’ve felt like this before; you know you feel better in time’. It’s true. I can’t argue against that. Yet, it’s marked by this sense of foreboding that for every up will follow the inevitable down. Perhaps that seems defeatist, or to be inviting the rain into the sunny day. Maybe I’ve got what is my due. To me it just feels realistic, inevitable. It is my life. And it’s one that I’m not sure I want.
I have no answers or inspiring thoughts. I’m not sure I can offer comfort when I seem so irreversibly wrapped up in my own thoughts. I have no hand to offer you. Maybe we can just be a little sad together.
I have found that it is easier to be sad – is that the confession of a weak and vulnerable man? Sadness feels more natural. It feels more honest. It feels strangely comforting to say I am totally fucking lost. So much of my life consists of excuses, justifications and explanations for why I’m feeling sad. But I think I just do. The rest is just a front to make this more acceptable and palatable. Not just to the listener, but to me.