Heart v Head

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Remember when I boasted a couple of blogs ago about how something good had happened and that I was going to try and enjoy it as I didn’t know when the wave was going to come and take me again? Ha. That was silly. I should know better than to tempt fate like that.

The wave came, it pulled me under, thrashed me about a bit and now I’m sort of left adrift with no dry land in sight.

Yeah, bit dramatic, you’re right. But I do feel a bit like I may be slightly broken.

There’s a quote that always sticks in my head when I try and articulate how I feel. It’s something Jim Carey said when his then girlfriend had taken her own life. He said she wasn’t made for this world and that she was too delicate to deal with the world and all it threw at her (or words to that effect, I’ve never been able to locate the actual quote since). This is something I completely resonate with, because this is how I feel every single day. I feel everything deeply and I feel completely bound, and sometimes suffocated by my emotions. If I’m sad about something, and that something can be something relatively small or trivial to most, I can’t shake it, I can’t take my mind off it. It’s visceral, it’s all-encompassing and it physically grapples with me to the point where I shake, hyperventilate or am sick.

And it works the other way too. If I’m happy about something, I’m ecstatic and blinded by the happiness to such a degree that everything else feels completely insignificant. It makes normal emotions such as falling for someone very difficult indeed, because it’s all or nothing from the get-go. I open the door and it all floods in. There’s no playing it cool, there’s no “let’s see how it goes” or “let’s take it slowly”. If I like someone I jump straight in and pretty much hand my heart to them on a plate. In my mind this has always felt like a good thing to do, knowing that when I like someone, I like them wholeheartedly and that it’s not likely to change any time soon and I want them to know that. I’ve never thought about how my making myself so vulnerable makes the other person feel and how it may actually put a great deal of pressure on the other party, especially in a relationship in its infancy. I have such a great capacity to love and care that sometimes I suffocate people with it.

Something else which puts a great deal of pressure on a new relationship is someone having something of a mental health meltdown after 6 weeks. Yep, me again. When you’re in pain, you’ll do anything not to feel the pain. And whilst self-harm has been an antidote in the past (and admittedly was for a very short period this time too), what felt like the biggest remedy on this occasion was affection and the love of one person. Having starved myself of affection for a long time, having someone around again to cuddle me, kiss me and play with my hair felt otherworldly and the answer to absolutely everything that had been making me so sad for so long. And the more the depression took hold the more dependent I became on this sole affection and attention. Of course that’s not healthy and not fair on the other person, but when you’re in the midst of it you’re not thinking rationally and you’re much like an addict looking for your next fix. And much like an addict, when you can’t get that fix for whatever reason, you go in to a tailspin and start to lash out. I became quite selfish and unattractively needy and put quite unrealistic (in hindsight) expectations on someone who hadn’t known me very long and who was going through their own stuff.

We didn’t make it, and of course there’s other reasons for that but ultimately in my mind, I made the big mistake of heart over head and didn’t pace myself. I think I lied to myself a little when I said that I didn’t want a boyfriend to cure my loneliness – of course I hoped he would, and he did in so many ways that I’ll be eternally grateful for. Evenings were spent with another person and there was a reason to cook again, a reason to go to the cinema or away for a weekend and so many other things that have felt out of my grasp for so long. And I got completely wrapped up in that feeling – that not feeling cripplingly alone and void every night – and it’s as if as soon as I got it, I worried about losing it again and put ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself (and him) to make things work and didn’t really allow myself to enjoy it. Something which I now painfully regret as I’m sat here writing this putting off going home to an empty flat. Relationships come and go, yes, but the priority should always be to enjoy your time with that special someone and not fixate on the future and the what-ifs. I certainly think it would make the deep sadness I’m feeling about it being over slightly easier if I felt I had given the best of myself, but the reality is I didn’t and perhaps couldn’t at the time, and it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

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