I’ve been in a depressive spell for a few months now. It’s different from the ones I’ve had before, although to be fair, every low cycle has been different since I started therapy. I guess they just manifest in a different way.
The symptoms are the same. Persistent exhaustion, skipped showers, lack of appetite, lost interest in reading and music. The things that make me happy no longer do. And lately, it comes with inexplicable anger.
My therapist says anger is a secondary emotion. It masks something I’m not willing to deal with. In my case, it’s grief. I feel like something very dear to me is gone, and even though I know it’s all in my head, the feelings persists.
Feelings aren’t facts, but they still do a pretty good job of fucking shit up so …
And so I find myself resigned. Waiting for the end. What you resist persists, right? The funny thing is … it’s a cycle. Fox chasing tail. I once read about ‘the leaving dance’. It’s like when you’re on a date, or a party conversation. You’re both enjoying it and nobody wants to stop, but it has to end sometime.
So you start to do the leaving dance. Straightening your skirt or tie, glancing at the door, your watch, the waiter, the people around you. You begin to fidget, shifting from one leg to another. Your feet face the door then turn back to the person you’re with. Your fingers twitch, you can’t relax.
You know you should go, but you want to stay, and you’re both wishing the other person will make that decision for you. You want them to gather the courage to leave, or give you a reason to stay. But you’re both stuck.
I feel like I’m doing a leaving dance, and it sucks. I keep hoping to find a reason to stay, but the more I fight the feeling, the deeper it nestles in. I suppose it all comes from a fear of abandonment, so I Googled how to deal with it. Google offered this article with a helpful list of do’s and don’ts. It starts with everything I’ve been doing so far. It’s all subconscious, and detrimental:
- Expecting too much from your person.
- Squashing your insecure feelings.
- Manipulating them into validating you.
- Masking insecurity with coyness and anger.
- Altering your personality to keep them.
- Making them responsible for your feelings.
- Hating yourself for being so insecure.
The article then suggests a few things you should do instead:
- Cut yourself some slack. You didn’t choose to be scared. You just are.
- Everybody’s scared of something. You’re not weak. You’re human.
- That said, you can choose to stop putting them in charge of your feelings …
- And don’t ask them to make you feel better, even if they triggered it …
- Because triggering something isn’t causing it…
- It’s just reminding you of something that happened before.
- So maybe deal with that thing. The one that happened before.
- Though you have to figure it out first.
- Also, rely on yourself emotionally …
- But don’t isolate. It’s not the same thing.
- It’s about finding peace inside, not shutting everyone outside.
- (I have no idea how to do this, and neither does Huffpost.)
Point is no matter how much someone loves me, it’s not their job to make me feel secure. It’s mine. And if I outsource to them for too long, they’ll get tired, give up, and leave. Self-fulfilling prophesy. Oddly, fighting the insecurity makes it stronger and widens the wedge. The trick is to discover why I feel insecure and fix that instead. Not the insecurity, but its root source. The source has nothing to do with this situation, it just inadvertently triggered it.
The leaving dance puts the other person in charge. It makes it their job to extend your time together. And if you both dance, then you both lose. So maybe you take a chance. Maybe you ask if you can stay. And maybe the next time you dance, they’ll do the asking.
And even if they don’t, it’s okay. You don’t have to blame them. You don’t have to blame yourself. It doesn’t always have to be somebody’s fault. Sometimes, shit just doesn’t work out, and that’s life. As they say on twitter, ke sera sera. #Sic #NoTypo #KOT
They say people learn to be incompatible. During the honeymoon stage, everything is roses. But with time, everything about the one you love feels … wrong. They haven’t changed, and neither have you. It’s just … well … the pheromones are gone so you’ve stopped masking their flaws, and they’ve stopped masking yours. At this point, you can make an active choice to work shit out. But … turns out some things are just too deep to resolve.
I told myself I’d know the depression was starting to lift when I actively sought my earphones. And as I type, I’m listening to music for the first time in more than a month. Except … I don’t feel lighter. I just feel … resigned. Maybe I’m looking for something I can’t have. And maybe it’s time to give up.
♫ Say something ♫ justin timberlake ft chris stapleton ♫
125 thoughts on “Letting shit go”
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