The most wonderful time of the year….

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I don’t know how it happened but Christmas is here again. I’m not quite sure I’m over the last one to be honest, but here we are. As you’re aware it’s not really my most favourite time of the year, in fact it fills me with dread and I feel terribly guilty for not really liking it  anymore and that makes me hate it more. That said I’m managing to get away relatively unscathed this year – it’s the 17th of December already and I have only had to go to a work’s Christmas party, that I organised, so expectations on how jolly and festive I have to be have been pretty low this year.

I’ve not been feeling too great the last couple of months. Whether it’s the changing of the seasons and the dark nights that’s to blame I’m unsure, but things sure have felt a lot harder than usual. I started the year having made a huge life decision and in search of my independence and I found it for a little while. I went on my first ever holiday alone and I felt confident in my new life. Fast forward to now and I’m feeling anything but confident. For the last couple of months, I’ve barely seen anyone outside of work. I’ve spent most weekends alone in my tiny little flat and not been able to muster the energy or inclination to do anything. I’ve had to cancel plans with friends and trips and it’s left me feeling somewhat withdrawn from the world. The weekends have become a bit of a ‘thing’. Whilst I look forward to them in so much as they’re a welcome break from work, the vast emptiness they provide has become problematic. In fact it’s not even the emptiness that’s problematic, it’s the everything-about-them that’s a struggle. Even if I make plans, I barely go through with them and then beat myself up for letting people down and retreat a little further.

The thing is, it’s never that I don’t want to see people. It’s the stuff that comes before it. It’s the rigmarole of over thinking everything and putting pressure on myself that sometimes makes it impossible to leave the flat. And there’s been a lot of that recently. I hate myself for using this massively overused cliché, but I feel I have lost myself. I don’t really know who I am, what I believe in, what I like or what I want to do. I feel like I’m drifting (and now I’ve got Travis’ Driftwood in my head). I feel like somewhere along the way I have become someone I didn’t really want to become, someone I don’t particularly like very much and someone who is becoming a little hardened to everything.

I sort of know why the latter happened  – it was a bit of a fight or flight moment, this time last year. For a short time I thought  one of the most important people in my life had died – I spent half an hour in this otherworldly place where one of my biggest fears had materialised – and I never was the same again. Thankfully the fear wasn’t a reality but the change in me was very real. It’s almost like I went to the very depths and subconsciously decided that I could never ever go back there so had to toughen up. So the majority of this year has been spent, trying to be tough and get on with life. And it now feels a little like all the sadness and fear has caught up with me and I’m caught in a tsunami of emotions.

I feel like life is passing me by a little. I want to start living and feeling things, I want to be able to look back on my life and think that I didn’t waste it being sad or just locked up in my flat all the time, too scared to embrace everything that’s out there. Because maybe that’s it. Maybe this loneliness and sadness is actually fear. Fear of meeting new people and fear of new experiences and fear of feeling okay again. There’s a large part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve to be happy or to be liked or loved by anyone and maybe that is the key to why I am feeling alone. Perhaps it’s far easier to sit and write about being lonely than it is to be brave and try to make those connections with people.

I throw myself in to any sort of relationship, be it romantic or platonic. I get emotionally invested at the drop of a hat and easily part with my deepest darkest secrets in an attempt to show people I’m open, honest and trustworthy. Sometimes it pays and everlasting friendships are made and other times I come off looking like a needy bunny boiler. Mostly the latter. But to me being open and making myself vulnerable comes easy; if I feel something I’ll say it without really thinking about the consequences and I’m not afraid to tell someone how I feel even if it’s not reciprocated. The problem being though, perhaps that can be quite off-putting and overbearing for some. Perhaps going head first with the feelings is weird for most people. Perhaps that makes me quite uptight and not fun to be around as I’m constantly thinking “what does this mean?”, forensically analysing everything and therefore in need of constant reassurance. I long to be someone who can float around making new acquaintances and not constantly on the look out for someone who is going to get me and deeply understand all my nuances. It’s unrealistic and puts such high expectations on people.

Maybe we spend time cultivating the friendships that are never meant to last and ignore the ones that could be what we need. When I look back on all the cities I’ve lived in and all the places I’ve worked and the shared houses I’ve lived in, I always think of certain people who I wished I could have spent more time with. It’s only now with the ability to look in to people’s lives through things like Instagram that I realise they were actually the ones I had most in common with. Same goes with university – I see so many people with such a good group of friends from their uni days, arguably our most formative years, and I wish I had strived to keep stronger, lasting relationships with the people I met. I was too concerned with my first proper love interest to realise how important those bonds were and how important they would become later in life.

Maybe next year I need to try to reconnect with people; throw away the fear and the self-judgement and see what happens. Here’s to going for that drink or coffee and seeing what happens, being spontaneous and living a little.

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5 thoughts on “The most wonderful time of the year….

  1. Essay time!

    >> Even if I make plans, I barely go through with them and then beat myself up for letting people down and retreat a little further. <> It’s the rigmarole of over thinking everything and putting pressure on myself that sometimes makes it impossible to leave the flat. <> I hate myself for using this massively overused cliché, but I feel I have lost myself. <> I feel like somewhere along the way I have become someone I didn’t really want to become, someone I don’t particularly like very much and someone who is becoming a little hardened to everything. <> It’s almost like I went to the very depths and subconsciously decided that I could never ever go back there so had to toughen up. <> I feel like life is passing me by a little. I want to start living and feeling things, I want to be able to look back on my life and think that I didn’t waste it being sad or just locked up in my flat all the time, too scared to embrace everything that’s out there. <> Maybe this loneliness and sadness is actually fear. Fear of meeting new people and fear of new experiences and fear of feeling okay again <> There’s a large part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve to be happy or to be liked or loved by anyone and maybe that is the key to why I am feeling alone. <> Perhaps it’s far easier to sit and write about being lonely than it is to be brave and try to make those connections with people. <> I get emotionally invested at the drop of a hat and easily part with my deepest darkest secrets in an attempt to show people I’m open, honest and trustworthy. <> Sometimes it pays and everlasting friendships are made and other times I come off looking like a needy bunny boiler. <> if I feel something I’ll say it without really thinking about the consequences and I’m not afraid to tell someone how I feel even if it’s not reciprocated <> The problem being though, perhaps that can be quite off-putting and overbearing for some. <> Perhaps going head first with the feelings is weird for most people. <> I long to be someone who can float around making new acquaintances and not constantly on the look out for someone who is going to get me and deeply understand all my nuances. It’s unrealistic and puts such high expectations on people. <> When I look back on all the cities I’ve lived in and all the places I’ve worked and the shared houses I’ve lived in, I always think of certain people who I wished I could have spent more time with. <> It’s only now with the ability to look in to people’s lives through things like Instagram that I realise they were actually the ones I had most in common with. <> Same goes with university – I see so many people with such a good group of friends from their uni days, arguably our most formative years, and I wish I had strived to keep stronger, lasting relationships with the people I met. <> I was too concerned with my first proper love interest to realise how important those bonds were and how important they would become later in life. <> Maybe next year I need to try to reconnect with people; throw away the fear and the self-judgement and see what happens. <<

    You’ve been saying that for years now, and been going around in circles while doing so. Really, how well has your intuition served you thus far? If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re lost and vainly hoping that reconnecting with others is going to fix you because you don’t know what else to do with your life to give it any meaning or hope.

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  2. Oh crap. The formatting got screwed up when I posted it. Let me try again.

    “Even if I make plans, I barely go through with them and then beat myself up for letting people down and retreat a little further.”

    A lot of the literature out there, including websites about anxiety/depression, said it’s critically important for people who genuinely care to not give up and hang in there, and to not take things personally. And that’s what life is, isn’t it? Not giving up!

    “It’s the rigmarole of over thinking everything and putting pressure on myself that sometimes makes it impossible to leave the flat.”

    The way I see it, you aren’t hurting anyone, and you aren’t planning to, so you should feel free to say and do as you please. Maybe being exposed to worst-case-scenarios, in small doses, could help. There’s more than 8 billion people on this planet, and unless you’re a famous politician or celebrity, it’s extremely unlikely that more than a thousand people (of those 8 billion!) are *all* going to like you. Heck, even the probability of having 999 out of 1,000 people have a positive impression of you is miniscule!

    One of the great things in life is that we’re not responsible for what other people think about us. I don’t have magic telepathic powers, I don’t have the ability to force anyone else to think any given way, since we all have our own minds. It’s incredibly liberating when we realize that “haters gonna hate”, and it’s infinitely more rewarding to speak our minds, live as we value and please is necessary, and only be accountable to those whom we choose to love.

    When you cultivate a mindset of being authentic, your thoughts, speech, and action all effortlessly make you more courageous. Sure, some people might not like you, but so what? Many more will respect you for having the balls to live an uninhibited life.

    This video from my favorite comedian will definitely help put things into perspective:

    “I hate myself for using this massively overused cliché, but I feel I have lost myself.”

    I couldn’t think of a more succinct and relevant way to explain how you feel. Don’t ever hate yourself for saying whatever you feel or think!

    But on a more substantive note, I was wondering, would you be able to do a blog post about your personal values? Since we know that feelings are fickle and ever-changing, while values are what gives us our ‘roots’, I find that people who live and act according to their values just have a sense of completeness about them that those who act on feelings and impulses don’t.

    “I feel like somewhere along the way I have become someone I didn’t really want to become, someone I don’t particularly like very much and someone who is becoming a little hardened to everything.”

    Well, let’s talk about some of the things you haven’t become! You’re not an armed robber, a murderer, a terrorist, a child abuser, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a homeless vagrant, a neo-Nazi, and the like. And even those people get rehabilitative services, so there’s hope for you yet! 🙂

    You’re empathetic and witty, and you said you find meaning in helping other people. You can take pride that you are an honorable, law-abiding, intelligent, and courageous human being that so many people (including yours truly) look up to. Heck, you’re even Welsh, which is icing on the cake!

    “It’s almost like I went to the very depths and subconsciously decided that I could never ever go back there so had to toughen up.”

    You’re already ‘tough enough’ because you have the moral courage to express how you feel and what you believe without holding it in. It might be a bit anti-climatic when you realize it, like when Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” realized all she had to do what click her heels together to go back to Kansas, but you already are enough. Seriously.

    “I feel like life is passing me by a little. I want to start living and feeling things, I want to be able to look back on my life and think that I didn’t waste it being sad or just locked up in my flat all the time, too scared to embrace everything that’s out there.”

    Well, then, let me give you a reason to feel alive! I invite you, for the year 2019, to visit Austin, Texas! The Live Music Capital of the World! You’d love it here, and the world-class barbecues and the parks and lakes, and the Mexican food, and the Brazilian steakhouses :-))) After all, since you’re so discontent with the direction your life is headed, and how purposeless and bleak it is, eventually you might feel so stifled with the boredom of it all that you’ll be open to a radical change!

    “Maybe this loneliness and sadness is actually fear. Fear of meeting new people and fear of new experiences and fear of feeling okay again”

    Could it be that you’re afraid of no longer having to live in fear anymore?

    “There’s a large part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve to be happy or to be liked or loved by anyone and maybe that is the key to why I am feeling alone.”

    But on what basis can you say that? No, seriously, who judges whether someone is “deserving” of being liked or being loved? Do you look at other people you meet and think to yourself, “That person is intrinsically unworthy of being liked by anyone!”? Since I’m assuming you don’t, you should tell us what makes someone undeserving!

    “Perhaps it’s far easier to sit and write about being lonely than it is to be brave and try to make those connections with people.”

    I’d be delighted to make a connection with you! Sure, you might be thinking, “This guy’s gotsta be stark ravin’ looney mad, I tell ye!” But if it takes audacity to risk incurring your wrath or annoyance rather than letting you suffer and get worse, then so be it! Which is the lesser of the two evils – feeling uncomfortable/awkward, or psychologically deteriorating because everyone else was too scared to meaningfully care?

    “I get emotionally invested at the drop of a hat and easily part with my deepest darkest secrets in an attempt to show people I’m open, honest and trustworthy.”

    Your willingness to be vulnerable shows that you are open, honest, and trustworthy. No “in an attempt” necessary. And it means that others feel emotionally invested in you because they’ve been through similar things or because they know you aren’t destined to suffer.

    “Sometimes it pays and everlasting friendships are made and other times I come off looking like a needy bunny boiler.”

    I don’t know what a “bunny boiler” is, but even if that’s true, it shouldn’t matter because you can’t ever be what other people want you to be, you can only be who you are already and if other people can’t be at peace with that, then they’re accountable for their own thoughts and not you. To quote Winston Churchill, “When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place. You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

    “if I feel something I’ll say it without really thinking about the consequences and I’m not afraid to tell someone how I feel even if it’s not reciprocated”

    High fives! That’s a really good thing!

    “The problem being though, perhaps that can be quite off-putting and overbearing for some.”

    Their problem, not yours!

    “Perhaps going head first with the feelings is weird for most people.”

    Perhaps, but I could see that being a problem if you wanted a close emotional connection with all 8 billion people on planet earth. Those who care, will stick around.

    “I long to be someone who can float around making new acquaintances and not constantly on the look out for someone who is going to get me and deeply understand all my nuances. It’s unrealistic and puts such high expectations on people.”

    But what would happen if someone “got you” and didn’t like you after understanding all your nuances? Wouldn’t that just become a brand new source of anxiety for you? Maybe instead, it would be beneficial for people to love you, warts and all, because humans fall in love with vulnerability rather than “perfection”, the latter of which is just arrogance.

    “When I look back on all the cities I’ve lived in and all the places I’ve worked and the shared houses I’ve lived in, I always think of certain people who I wished I could have spent more time with.”

    How do you know you wouldn’t have ended up with a less-than-ideal outcome in your relationships with those people, and then wistfully wished you had a relationship with the people whom you did have relationships with? How do you know that their lives would have had the same outcome with you in theirs, and how do you know that they’ll keep on living quality lives in the future?

    “It’s only now with the ability to look in to people’s lives through things like Instagram that I realise they were actually the ones I had most in common with.”

    One, social media is a glossed-over filter and not real! Two, if you lived like other people whom you felt were just in common with you, you’d be robbing yourself of the potential to understand yourself and other people on a deeper level. As Dave Ramsey says, “If you live like no one else, later on you can live like no one else.”

    “Same goes with university – I see so many people with such a good group of friends from their uni days, arguably our most formative years, and I wish I had strived to keep stronger, lasting relationships with the people I met.”

    Those people aren’t the gold standard for depth, intimacy, and personal growth.

    “I was too concerned with my first proper love interest to realise how important those bonds were and how important they would become later in life.”

    The vast majority of adults aren’t still close friends with their university peers because work and familial obligations are far more significant.

    “Maybe next year I need to try to reconnect with people; throw away the fear and the self-judgement and see what happens.”

    You’ve been saying that for years now, and been going around in circles while doing so. Really, how well has your intuition served you thus far? If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re lost and vainly hoping that reconnecting with others is going to fix you because you don’t know what else to do with your life to give it any meaning or hope.

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  3. thank you for writing these blogs, I have your page saved and come back to it from time to time to read. The website name is like me to a t lol. just try and be positive =)

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  4. When I find myself having these thoughts and emotions I imagine them as piles of sand next to a beach, blown away by the wind over the sea.

    There’s a saying from my country, “Those that are not held back by thoughts of embarassment can have the whole world”

    I think it’s more lyrical and poetic in its original language like all proverbs around the world. Ahem. But anyway. The thing is, the fear of embarassment is like a monster made smoke – big and frightening but gone with a gust of air. So yeah, don’t let that stop you from communicating with anyone.

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  5. Oh God, I relate so much I feel I could have written this myself. Is it selfish to say that it’s good to not feel like you’re the only one? But seriously, gah. All of this. Well, a nice gah – I liked it. Much love.

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