Day 7757 | Day 7780 | Day 7815
I went and set up a therapy appointment today.
In all honesty this is a position I never thought I'd find myself in—I'd always thought I'd kill myself before I went to therapy. Yet here I am, looking at the appointment slip for 10:00am tomorrow. Not quite sure I know what to do going forward, but I'm pretty sure I know how I got here.
A week ago I cut the final ties with my ex. After years of ambivalence and outright obsession, it finally dawned on me just how one-sided our relationship had become. Emily had always been distant with me—she dealt with the cruelties of the world by insulating herself from it as much as possible—but a few weeks ago I realized that I actually knew less about her after 3 years than I had after 6 months. At the beginning I would ask her what was going on with her life and she would answer with the ups and downs, funny stories and advice, and her eyes would light up at the chance to share. But slowly it became banal, in the moment, and utterly superficial. Sentences that used to start with 'I hope', 'I want', 'I feel' became 'I am', 'I did', and then not even that, only acknowledgements that she'd heard me. She drew back from me gradually but consistently for years to the point that I barely knew anything about her at all.
I drew back from her as well. There was a failure to communicate—she was sending messages that I wasn't receiving and when I asked her what she really meant, she'd clam up. I could pick up on the basic emotions through context but not their depth—could sense anger but not the cause, sadness but not its nature, care but not the depth of it. It's an idiosyncrasy of mine and one I don't think is too difficult to accommodate yet getting her to put words to her feelings was like pulling teeth. So I just stopped asking. And while I lost the sycophantic obsession with her, she (understandably but hurtfully) lost her patience for me. "There are only so many times I can say the same things, Red. If every time we have a conversation it ends up being the same topic, then yeah, I'm gonna start phoning it in."
So I broke up with her.
I say 'broke up' because, for me, that's what it was. I had never adequately managed to achieve closure on my unrequited feelings because of our friendship, but now I was free of the anger and frustration that had been festering inside me for years. For the first time in my life, I have done more than stoically faced the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I was the agent of destruction, I had ended it and it was galvanizing.
I have new friends now—better ones—and no longer need her as my sole confidant. Friends whose motives I don't have to question, who like me for who I am, and understand, even embrace, my idiosyncrasies. Friends who have reminded me about mutual care and that putting your trust in people does not always go unrewarded. Emily served a purpose in my life and she may well serve one in the future, but for now there's no place for her in it.
And for once I've taken this moment as an opportunity, not as an aberration against what I'd come to see as my baseline depression. I'm taking steps confront my deep-seated identity issues and followed through on my promises to seek help. I know enough not to expect a quick fix, but (and I really hate trite cliches) the longest journey begins with a single step. I'm trying to build momentum. I write this now for myself more than anyone else, to remember that my life is not just an unbroken string of depression. I am capable of changing my life for the better; nothing is set.
Still, I'm trying very hard to be realistic with my expectations. It has, after all, only been a week; far too early to declare any sort of significant change. The more I invest into my recent progress, the further I have to fall if it doesn't last and I'm not too confident about the solidity of my footing quite yet.
But I'm cautiously optimistic.