A Derailed Happiness…

So it seems that sleep is evading me again. I can’t bear another night of lying here replaying everything in my mind over and over, fighting against every memory, using my CBT training and trying to claim my sleep.

It goes in cycles I’ve noticed. Sometimes I go days being fine and then I go weeks where I can’t stop thinking about it.

For months now night after night I’ve stood at my window and told the brightest star in the sky my troubles and begged for help to fix things but it’s not getting any easier. So maybe tonight I need to tell the whole story… but first I need a cup of tea.

It’s a good job I have the house to myself. You see I sit here at the table, laptop light filling the room, tear streaked face, cup of tea and a box of tissues slowly filling the bin typing and talking to a star.

Yeah I know some would call it madness and I think maybe it is a little bit, but in truth even talking to a star is better than another night of holding it all in.

I thought it would have gotten easier by now but it hasn’t, the pain of missing someone and the distance from them has begun to play with my sleep and disrupted sleep does sometimes, send you a bit loopy.

Even when I stop thinking about them for a while I end up talking to them in my dreams and it always feels so real but I can’t stop it from happening. I don’t even want to think or dream about them unless it will be real one day but everything I’ve tried doesn’t stop me caring.

So here it is little star, to understand how I became this sad creature sitting before you in the middle of the night baring her soul you need to know how it began, because the start is so much better than the end.

It began with a message, and the sad thing is I don’t remember exactly when and I don’t remember exactly what it said but this guy popped up in my life one day. I wish I knew then the role he was going to play because I would damn sure have paid more attention.

It would certainly have been a couple of years ago and the message was probably about football. We spoke a lot after that until we were talking almost every day, all through the day and night, on and off about all kinds of things.

He had some great stories and energy unlike anyone I ever met and after a while I found myself looking forward to the time I would be able to talk to him, around about the same times each day.

I always felt one day I would find someone who I connected with, who made everything easy, who I could be myself with and not worry about saying or doing the wrong thing because I knew they would just laugh along and I hoped I would find someone I could share my love of football with.

I’ve long worried that one day I’ll lose football from my life. I go to matches with my Granddad and one day that won’t be an option anymore. So I hoped I would find someone I could share that experience with, because without that I don’t know if I will ever be able to walk into that stadium again.

Anyway, this guy ticked all the boxes of the person I hoped to meet. We’ve been to a lot of the same places, share similar interests and got along easily. I’ve always found it easier to make friends with guys, but I’m a flirt or at least I was back then and after a while that was where we headed.

The weird thing was up until that point because we had only ever messaged I wasn’t even sure what his name was or know what he looked like and I didn’t care.

How he looked was never going to be important to me, I was drawn to who he is, I wanted to know all about him, good and bad parts.

I knew he was a lot of fun and that was all I needed to know and one day I wanted to meet up with him and see a match. He saw football in a different way to me and I wanted to share that experience with him so I could see it through his eyes. I hoped we’d be friends for a long time and have lots of shared experiences, I thought he would make a great travel buddy.

A little over a year ago now I was going to a proper grown up dinner where all the footballers were going to be and I needed to get a proper dress for the occasion. In the back of my mind when I was choosing I was thinking about him, for the first time in my life I wanted someone to like me.

On the day of the dinner I decided to get my hair done as I never bother much with it myself and I wanted it to be a special day. So when I was getting ready, I pulled on my dress carefully so as not to ruin my curls, put on some make up and stood in front of the mirror and I thought about him.

I didn’t post photos of myself back then; it never occurred to me to do it but in that moment I wanted him to see what I looked like so I took a photo of me all dressed up and posted it online. I never sent it directly to him and I never dreamed of the reaction that it would get.

You see he’d been thinking about me too and when he saw that picture he sent me a message and things changed between us. We started a journey and I had no idea where it would take us.

We had a good talk that first day and I knew what the score was. I wasn’t thinking past the moment, I was reacting to it as it was happening and it scared the life out of me but I’d never been so excited.

I was so out of my depth, I had no idea what I was doing and as usual, me being me I threw myself into it wholeheartedly as I always do when I’m excited about something and almost ruined it before it begun.

But you see this guy is special, he didn’t run away when I made a mess of things. He got mad at me sometimes, told me off then gave me a hug and we carried on. There was chemistry between us and a connection developed over time that saw us get closer.

He filled my life with his energy and happiness and I loved the person I was when I was spending time with him. He made me feel safe and I could trust him with anything, I didn’t have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I could talk to him about anything we didn’t agree on everything but that was fine. Just talking to him made me light up, I’d never experienced anything like it and it made me so happy.

I learned so much from him, he inspired me every day to challenge myself and he made me want to be a better person. Listening to him talk about his future inspired me to actually think about mine and what I want from life and I knew I wanted him to be a part of that even if it was just as a friend.

I started thinking about how I’d just floated along for years, not really trying but now I had this amazing inspiration that wasn’t good enough anymore. So I looked at learning a new skill and started a training course, I thought that would give me a higher earning power as I’d begun to think about moving forward with my life properly for the first time.

He made me feel strong enough to do anything, the way he saw me no one else ever had and I wanted to be the person he saw in me.

Just as we were on the same page, things were going well and we were talking about taking the next step I made a decision that derailed the whole thing. I got a prescription from the Doctor and had to take a course of tablets, had I have known the effect they would have on me I would never have taken them.

After the first couple I began to lose control of my emotions, I had such a bad reaction I sunk into an awful depression so quickly I didn’t know what to do. One minute I would be laughing and the next I would burst into tears for no reason.

It was so stupid because I wasn’t unhappy when I started taking them, in fact life was good and I was happy. I should have just stopped taking them.

Things had changed between us, we were in a good place but the guy was busy with work so we hadn’t been in contact as much. The tablets messed with my head so instead of giving him space and being patient I became really erratic with him. I kept challenging him, I wasn’t in control of my actions, I didn’t want to be like that but I couldn’t stop it and it scared the hell out of me.

He was really good about it, I told you he’s special, but it broke the bubble for him. I stopped being fun and he saw a crazy person instead that he didn’t have time to deal with. He took a step back and I begun the slow decline into losing him before we ever got to see where our connection would go.

We still talked but he distanced himself from me and I hated that. The tablets had awoken in me the demons I had hidden so well for so long and the effects of that would stay with me for a long time.

Just before Christmas I wanted to reconnect with him, I missed what we had and I missed being close to him. We talked and agreed to give it a chance and I was so happy but the effects of the tablets were still working their way through me.

Everything had started to annoy me. I hated my job I’d loved for 10 years, my boss had been rude to me and I wanted to walk out there and then. I hated the course and realised it wouldn’t make me happy as a career and I hated the fact it cost so much and took my focus away from the writing course I was enjoying doing.

I was stressed about Christmas and all the things I needed to get done and how far behind I was because I couldn’t seem to focus. People were getting stressed out with me and there were a lot of arguments.

My friendship was all over the place with this guy and I wanted our stability back. I wasn’t happy in general with my life, I felt like I was sinking in quick sand.

I made the mistake of trusting someone I shouldn’t have. I think in the beginning they had good intentions, I was at a low point and needed someone to talk to, someone to listen.

I wanted to stop myself from making things worse with the guy but I didn’t know how to fix it and I needed some advice. I ended up making the second worst judgment call of 2013; I spoke to the wrong person.

I bared a lot of my soul to them and in the end they ended up using it against me and caused problems for me with the guy which made things worse. My attempt to keep the guys identity a secret was foiled by speaking to someone we both knew, to my shame.

Stupidly I thought I would be vague enough to hide it and I never intended to talk as much as I did, I just got sucked into it without thinking it through. Even after I asked them a couple of times if they knew who it was I was talking about and hearing them deny I should have listened to my gut and walked away. But then I said it was a bad judgment call, I own my mistake.

So to the day before Christmas Eve and an argument that started over something stupid, a joke misread. One rash decision, a stupid response and a conversation that should never have happened and my anger was up.

I walked away, went downstairs, made tea and tried to distract myself but it didn’t calm me down and I picked a fight my gut was screaming at me to ignore.

The argument was so bad; I’d never seen the guy so angry with me. Whenever we argued before, he got mad at me but we talked things through and made up. This was different, it scared me because I couldn’t say anything to calm him, and everything I said just made it worse. I said something stupid, in the heat of the moment, I didn’t even mean and ended up hurting him; I should have listened to my gut, walked away and never picked that stupid fight.

On top of everything else that was going wrong for me at work, people being angry and stressed with Christmas, worrying about how I was going to move forward and change things, I needed one thing to hold onto.

I needed my friendship with this guy, it was the one thing that was holding me together and keeping everything else at bay and I blew it, spectacularly over something stupid.

We had family over for Christmas and I spent Christmas Eve preparing and cooking but I had to keep disappearing to cry. I was completely broken by everything and I couldn’t cope. I started taking a herbal remedy to try and claim back some normality but it didn’t work.

To everyone else I wore my mask and I was fine, just short tempered. My friend was having her own problems, I’d hurt the one person I never wanted to, my other friends were having their own lives and everyone else was just angry with me for letting them down, I felt so alone.

Christmas Day was hard. We had a house full of family and fun and I had to keep going off to cry and taking herbal remedies just to get through the day.

On one break I logged on and saw the guy talking to people about how good his day was when I was in pieces, knowing I couldn’t speak to him when all I wanted was to swap stories about presents.

I’d reached rock bottom or so I thought. As soon as the doctor’s opened I got an appointment and begged them in tears to help me. I’d had counselling as a young teenager when I had my last bout of depression and it helped but there were waiting lists and I couldn’t start straight away.

I didn’t want any medication I was scared if I went down that route I wouldn’t be able to stop and I wanted to learn how to control stay in my of my life myself.

The real bottom came just after New Year I think. I sent the guy a message wishing him a happy new year and he never responded. He cut me off, wouldn’t talk to me and barely answered my messages.

I was desperate to speak to him, I missed him so much and I needed him to help me chase the demons away but he was gone.

Then one day I couldn’t stop crying. I’d become erratic waiting for the therapy to start and I was missing him. My friend was there for me, talking to me while I was walking around Lidl in tears trying to hide from my family.

We got to my Nan’s house and I had to keep locking myself in the bathroom as I couldn’t stop crying. I knew if they saw me they would worry, they must have wondered what was going on but they never asked, they probably thought I had a bad stomach.

What would I have said if they had? I could never explain the situation to them, they wouldn’t understand. I never understood what it was about this guy that made me care about him, but it always felt right and I trust it completely.

I took a photo and sent it to my friend and said this was what I looked like when I was broken. My eyes were red from crying, tears were streaming down my face. I couldn’t even look in the mirror anymore; I didn’t recognise the person staring back. I hadn’t slept, I wasn’t really eating, I was just completely lost and broken.

She sent me a message back saying all she saw was a beautiful woman who was sad that she lost her way but she knew I would find my path if I just held on.

Without her that day I don’t know if I would be here. I wasn’t planning on ending it, I didn’t consider it, but there were a couple of times I drove too fast on the bends where the trees are and took a few stupid risks I shouldn’t have.

I was desperate to find a way to fix things with the guy; it was all I could think of. I couldn’t fix anything else, it was all too big but if I could get our friendship back then I would be strong again and I could tackle everything else.

I’d written him loads of messages, things I needed to say, angry messages, apologetic messages, begging messages but not sent any of them. But that night I wrote a message I did send.

I poured everything out, I cried the whole time I wrote it and it took me hours, by the end I was completely empty. Hitting send was supposed to help, it didn’t.

In my mind whirling state he would read it and see how much I cared and I would be forgiven. Only I didn’t get an answer.

We had talked a little bit through messages but it wasn’t the same, just short answers to my questions, I could feel him distancing himself.

Then one day weeks after I sent the email I woke to a bunch of messages. He’d read the email and I’d hurt him all over again.

I read it back and could barely believe what I wrote, it was horrible and I hated myself for doing that to him, he didn’t deserve it. I tried to explain but he didn’t reply.

Thankfully I started my therapy eager to whizz through it as quick as I could, tired of wasting time, depressed and empty. I had cried so much that I actually dried my eyes out and needed eye drops to be able to blink.

I’d sit reading our old messages, seeing how we were and I wanted it all back. I had so much I needed to fix in my life and no idea where to start, it was all too big and too hard and I didn’t have the energy.

Then one day I got a message and things changed again. We talked things through, cleared the air and I had one thing I needed back. I started making decisions, I didn’t want to mess things up and lose him again.

I was working through the therapy, clawing my life back and now I had my Sunshine back my fight was returning too.

But you can’t change your life over night, it takes forever and it’s frustrating when the progress is slow. You can’t just turn it off when your whole life collapses around you and snap out of it. Something had to give and I couldn’t hold onto my happiness.

While I was spending time with him I felt alive, happy and things were good but he was busy with his own life and couldn’t spend time with me all the time. I put so much pressure on him and my friend, I needed their support to help me save myself, I couldn’t do it on my own.

One night he sat up talking to me, he was working but he stopped to talk to me because I needed him. He told me to do only the things that made me happy and I made a promise I would. That night I went to sleep with a smile on my face and a settled heart.

That night changed everything; I knew I would lose him if I kept pushing him so I tried harder to control my emotions. I finally let myself believe that he cared about me, he’d done nothing but show me that from day one but I was stupid so it took me a while to catch up.

I had given him every reason to never speak to me again. I’d hurt him, betrayed his trust, allowed someone to mess with us and been a pain in the arse but he still took the time to help me, he never walked away.

I’d never had someone put up with me like that before, to keep trying to get through to me and making that effort, I’d never felt the way I did when I was with him and I knew I would never find that again.

It was addictive; I couldn’t be without it so I had to let everything else that bothered me about us go. I had to remember how we were at the start and just have fun.

But the damage had already been done. No matter how fun it was the other stuff scared him and made it all too real. I had no idea how much being there for me had affected him; he never let me see it or maybe he tried to tell me and I didn’t listen.

I made him promise if I was ever a burden he would tell me, because when you’re depressed you don’t realise the impact you have on those around you and I didn’t want to bring him down. His big heart and energy for life were the things that always drew me to him and I didn’t ever want to take that from him.

Just when things were going well and I was beginning to settle into my life and work on changing things he cut me off. Not because he wanted to but because he had to so he could protect himself. He needed me to be there for him and I wasn’t.

I failed him as a friend at a time when his life was going through changes that I could have helped with, things I’ve dealt with myself. I was too self absorbed in my own life for him to feel like he could come to me and that’s never a person I want to be.

It was the thing I struggled to deal with most. We’d spent so long talking about being great friends and when it came down to it, I failed him and that isn’t me. I don’t get many things right but being a friend and being reliable is something I’ve always been good at.

So I lost him all over again, but this time it was serious and every avenue was blocked. There would be no messages or politely answered questions, no telling off, hug and making things right again, just silence and distance.

I sat in tears watching him cut me out his life, knowing I only had myself to blame. Hoping against hope he would change his mind with some time and space but terrified that he would just forget me.

I was hard on my friend too, she listened to me go on for hours about how much of a mess I made of my life. She understands my crazy side and the depression because we share that. We are there for each other no matter what.

We talk almost every day and nothing has ever been off limits. We’ve had some interesting conversations over the years, we’ve laughed together, cried together, shared each other’s happiness, threatened to beat the shit out of the people who have hurt us and told each other our darkest fears.

We’re so alike in many ways that nothing will ever change our friendship, we lost touch for a while, neither of us remembers how or why but since we found each other again we’ve both grown so much.

I’m proud she shares her journey with me, I’ve seen her grow so much in the last year and a half, she got hurt badly but every time she got back up and never gave up.

I’m the goofball always messing up and making her laugh and she’s my rock and we give each other strength.

The two best friends I have ever had in my life, the two people who know me better than anyone else were both found on the end of a computer. I would genuinely do anything for either of them if they asked me. I care about them both immensely and am grateful every day that I met them and got to share in their lives.

I know he is out there now, the person I waited to meet all my life, and he does care about me. It may never be enough to bring him back into my life, we may never be able to make our friendship work but it is real. It doesn’t make it easier to know or make me miss him any less.

I have no right to ask him to risk his own happiness and stability to help me bring back mine. What kind of person would that make me if I couldn’t honestly smile and truly be happy for him when he tells me how good his life is?

I know I’ll never be able to say goodbye to him because after nearly five months of no contact with him I still miss talking to him every day. I’ve stopped trying to kid myself that I don’t it just made me feel worse. I’ll always wonder if he’s ok and happy and he knows I’m always here if he needs me.

A part of me knows we found each other for a reason and I just hope one day our paths will find they way back together again.

The first time in my life I didn’t give up on what I want, the thing that makes me happy and it’s the one time when what I want doesn’t matter, because relationships aren’t one sided.

I try not to re-read our old messages but sometimes I give in to it so I can remember that connection and feel close to him. It still makes me smile when I read them and see how we were.

I have to keep trying to work through things on my own and find a way to deal with the hole inside me his presence left behind. If I’m ever lucky enough to talk to him again I don’t want to make the same mistakes I did, I want to be the person he saw and not the screw up I became.

I’m not quite sure when I got so small, I just saw my reflection in the window and it seems so insignificant. I used to be full of life but now I just feel cloaked in emptiness, fighting all the time to find a way out.

I’ve thrown myself into work and projects to keep my mind occupied and it helps keep me focussed. I’m still working towards improving my life, I didn’t give up on that, but it’s not easy and I’m sure one day I’ll see the changes happen, but it takes time. I’m learning to be patient.

I use my therapy skills a lot more now and I’m much better at controlling the trigger points so my therapist should be happy at my review next month.

Some people only have a certain amount of true happiness in their lives and thanks to a special person I got to live mine, some people aren’t that lucky.

 

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Nicholas Sparks

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