We’ve all wondered from time to time how other people see us and our actions. I’m not convinced it is always a good idea to wonder…
Throughout your life people will give you feedback on everything from your behaviour, how you look, what you’re wearing, your new haircut and how good you are at your job.
If you’re lucky you will never have a problem with any of the feedback. It will all reinforce the way you perceive yourself and you will be happy to be seen in that way.
But what happens when the people you care about the most start giving you feedback, and you see that the person they are talking about is not the person you perceive yourself to be?
The first thing you feel is hurt. A deep hurt that the people you care about the most don’t see who you really are.
It’s happened to me a couple of times lately and once the hurt subsided I began to feel angry. These are the people I have spent my life bending over backwards for and they barely have a pleasant word to say about me.
We’ve all wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall when people are talking about you. But I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
I’ve spent months trying to weigh up the difference between how people see me and the person I really am.
The problem is if I met someone who was willing to go over and above for me, as I did for the people I care about I would cherish that person. I would be so grateful that I was a part of their thoughts that I would make sure I gave back as much as I took from the relationship.
The more I hear how people perceive me, the more I realise they don’t know me at all. Even though they don’t have a good word to say about me, they still come to me for help when they need it and being the person I am I never turn them away.
Sure it hurts, deeply for a few days. Their words go round and round in your head. You distance yourself from those people and put up walls to protect yourself from getting hurt again.
You consider what they said, and if like me you have demons, they’ll try to agree with them for a while. If they think I’m a terrible person then I must be, right?
But then I remember that I don’t think I am that horrible person. I do have flaws, I’m a human being, none of us were created perfect, no matter how much some people believe they are! I will admit to my flaws, it’s a long list so I won’t bore you.
But my point is… for everyone who has told me what a horrible person I am, there are people who tell me how much they love me for who I am. For all the nasty names I’ve been called, people have said lovely things about me.
After a while it becomes hard to believe the people who tell you you’re a bad person one minute and then say they care about you the next. But I think that is more about them than it is about me.
I think there are fewer people like me in the world today and people don’t know how to deal with me, so they don’t understand me. People who are good because they wish that everyone else was and because they care enough and have the ability to help and do so.
I’m no Snow White, I make mistakes and do things that I’m not proud of, but the hurt I’ve experienced in the last few months has made me less willing to accept such bad behaviour towards me in the future. Because a lot of what was said, I really didn’t deserve. It’s not ok any more to take your problems out on me, just because I care about you and stick around.
At times I should have done or been better, but that could be said for us all.
I decided that if something felt right to me then I would do or say it. Even if it might hurt someone’s feelings or might not be the reaction they were hoping for. Even if I never hear from that person again, it’s better than not being able to look at myself in the mirror the next day.
I’ve never been someone who wants to let people down but people don’t seem to worry about hurting me and letting me down. Maybe one day the people who hurt me will realise what they lost.
There is nothing wrong with me – has become my new mantra. I no longer worry what people think about me. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am then that is good enough for me. Even if it means I’ll end up spending my life alone.
This post was brought to you today because I remembered it was #TimeToTalk.
Tomorrow is Time To Talk Day and I wanted to mention it as I think it is a really good idea.
Depression touches most of us, one way or another, in our lives and for some it is faced on a regular basis. It isn’t always easy to seek help and advice, especially when you can’t explain how you are feeling or why.
Everyone needs a different type of support when they are feeling down, not everyone wants to talk about their situation.
Personally I found that talking to people who have experienced depression first hand helped. They understood that I don’t always know why I feel it and how quickly I can change.
I also found cognitive behavioural therapy was helpful. At the time the waiting list was shorter for an online course of CBT than face to face CBT or seeing a therapist and I just wanted to start feeling better as soon as possible.
Since the depression has started recurring I have thought whether or not to see the GP and try a medicinal route but I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet. I want to cope on my own. I take a St Johns Wort tablet on the days I feel really low and it seems to help, even if some only consider it to be a placebo.
I’ve always been someone who does best when I have people to confide in and share my thoughts and life with. It hasn’t been easy to do that over the last few months. I’m trying to learn to deal with things on my own and make decisions without sharing them but it isn’t easy to change.
At times I worry that I am learning to shut people out so that I don’t have to face getting close to anyone again and risk losing them. But I don’t think I could change that dramatically. Although the way I interact with some people has changed as I learn to protect myself more from getting hurt.
I think a lot of what causes my depression is my situation and the people around me. I’m normally a happy person and I make people laugh, I’m just not able to be that person all of the time. It doesn’t make me a bad person. Sometimes I just need to be alone and other times being alone is the worst thing I can do.
So if you know anyone who might need some support or if you feel like you need a little help then take some time to read Time to Change: Let’s End Mental Health Discrimination
There are people out there who can help you, there is nothing wrong with seeking out help and advice and believe me you are not the only one who feels that way… once you start talking about depression you’ll be surprised by how many people you know who have their own story to share.
I woke up yesterday morning, after having a weird dream, with an idea for a children’s story. Two hours and 3056 words later, I finished the first draft for my writing assignment. It felt really good to be able to write again.
I’ve been depressed for the last few months and while I don’t feel that bad and it isn’t stopping me from getting on with things, most days I feel the emotional lows.
It makes it hard to write, my imagination seems to be worn out and needed a rest, so to have a completely bizarre dream start the writing process again made me feel happy.
Let’s hope I can continue writing and editing and get things back on track.
Ok I admit it, writing this blog is pretty selfish of me. I have no idea if anyone I know reads it, they have never mentioned it, although I suspect they have.
In all honesty when things are good in my life I tend not to write as much on here. A part of what this blog is about for me is coping with my life and the things that don’t always make me happy. Sometimes it’s easier to write than it is to face talking about it. I feel like it gets boring for people to keep helping me work through my life. Even if they are under strict orders to tell me if I ever become a burden!
It has never been meant to hurt anyone, it’s me processing my thoughts and feelings. That’s why on occasion I remove posts, normally they were written in anger and with a cool head the embarrassment creeps in and I remove them. I’m making more of a conscious effort to write posts over a period of time to make sure I don’t write something I go on to regret.
When I first realised I was depressed I began talking to people I’m close to about it. I realised that they were also suffering and they hadn’t shared that with me. I felt like I’d let them down because they didn’t feel like they could share with me which doesn’t help.
For some people talking about it isn’t something they are comfortable with so I don’t push. Sometimes you are both depressed at the same time and then it all gets a little weird. Like a joint party of sadness where you try to prove you are worse off. That’s normally when it becomes funny, but only certain people will get that.
Depression is a selfish frame of mind and you don’t always realise it. You don’t always notice that you’re depressed straight away, you can just be in a rut of a few low mood days. Or even worse it could just be your hormones acting up!
When your mood affects the mood of the people you care about, you realise you have let them down. It’s hard to see your mood affecting them which just makes everything worse. Especially when it makes them distance themself from you.
People often feel out of their depth to know what to say or do to help but the best thing is to let them talk. You can’t fix it or snap someone out of depression so let them talk. Try and encourage them do one thing every day you know they enjoy.
Honestly, letting them know you are there for them is important, because when they feel better they will always remember that. Even if you didn’t know what to say or do, you were there.
Everyone is selfish at times but I think most women would say it is an overdeveloped trait in men. One they sadly never grow out of. I’m sure men equally think women are selfish!
When you are young and immature the selfishness comes from the need to be the centre of attention and have the world revolve around you and what you want. Nothing is more important than your needs and how you feel, your opinion is the only one that matters because you are always right.
You don’t notice how your actions affect the people around you. You also rarely apologise or try to make amends for the things you did wrong even when you do realise. You just carry on as if nothing happened or make a token effort to show your sorry.
Youth gives you the uncanny knack of thinking that you are invincible and that nothing can touch you. Anything you don’t like you just dismiss as being irrelevant. Anyone who poses a threat to your happiness is easily ignored. What do they say about youth being wasted on the young!
But in order to learn from your mistakes you have to first make them. Listening to the wise words of those who’ve had more birthdays than you isn’t very cool, even if you often end up realising they were right all along!
How many times have you looked back on how you acted when you were younger and wished you did something differently? How many times did you wish you could go back with what you know now and fix a situation? How many times did you wish you could heal a friendship or relationship you let go?
I have so many regrets that I didn’t do things better when I was younger.
Holding grudges is selfish, punishing people for their mistakes is selfish, taking control of the power in a relationship is selfish, always putting your needs before others is selfish, always taking and never giving back is selfish, giving someone false hope is selfish, making promises you have no intention of keeping is selfish, constantly attacking someones personality is selfish, walking away and not talking things through is selfish, belittling someone because of how you feel about yourself is selfish, being abusive in all its forms to the people who care about you is selfish.
But we all do some of that to a degree without even noticing. We have an inbuilt need to feel superior and think we should be more important, but of course not everyone acts on those impulses all of the time.
None of us are immune from bad behaviour. We all display weakness of character at times. The mark of a person is how they forgive and if they try to make amends when they realise they have done wrong. Forgiveness is not easy to do especially when the person you need to forgive is yourself. But trust me forgiving the right people for the right reasons will always be worth it.
People change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Sometimes it’s not the person that changes but the life they find themselves in, and the pressure of coping with the change affects how they behave. They might start being aggressive, moody, even withdrawn and you may feel like they are a different person. But underneath they are the same person you always knew, figuring out how to cope.
There are some situations you find yourself in that force you to grow quicker than you know how, to fulfil a demand on you and that is difficult for anyone to cope with. You are bound to lose a bit of yourself in the change, but no matter what changes your life goes through, you can always choose to be the same person in spite of the change. You don’t have to lose who you are.
Stress is never a good thing. My doctor told me earlier in the year that stress was contributing to my feeling unwell, and advised a change of job as it didn’t suit me. Stress becomes a part of you if you let it. It can physically manifest itself in the aches and pains of your body or the changes in your personality. In order to keep yourself healthy you need to find an effective way to cope with your stress when it arises.
Life is about finding a balance between the person you need to be for yourself and the person the people in your life need you to be. It’s easier said than done, when it feels like all the people around you want something from you, and you only have a little bit of yourself to share around. That is when honest communication becomes important, and often gets overlooked.
There is no problem so big or so small that can’t be resolved with some healthy conversation with the right people. In fact sometimes it ends up being the best thing you ever did. A different perspective on a problem can often show you a solution you never considered before. An understanding and sympathetic ear might be just what you need to help make sense of the situation, even if they can’t offer a solution. Sometimes just by talking it through and hearing your thoughts out loud a solution becomes clearer to you.
Work should be a means to an end and not the sole focus of your life. You need to remember to do the things that make you happy too. No one wants to look back in 5, 10, 15 years time and realise they have achieved everything they set out to in their career, but at the expense of friendships, relationships and a personal life.
It isn’t often that people manage to make a success of their career, achieve all their goals and have a happy and fulfilling family life. I’ve worked with so many people who spent too much time at work and not enough time with family. They all say the same thing, ‘I’m missing out on my kids growing up’. My reply was always the same, stop putting work first and spend time with your family for a while and you will feel so much better.
It can be a very lonely life if you let it and although a job can give you the funds to buy the house, car and life you want it won’t keep you warm on a cold night. A job won’t run to the door to meet you at night with a big smile on its face because you are home. It won’t hold you after a bad day and tell you everything will be alright and it won’t look after you when you’re old.
In order to succeed in life you need to have a core of supportive people around you who will pick you up on the days when you need it. People you can rely on to be there no matter what. Who won’t get mad at you when you go missing in action and cancel dinner dates at the last-minute. Who will remember to buy presents for family birthdays because you didn’t get time or set reminders in your diary of important things so you don’t forget. Those people will help take the pressure off when you feel like you are sinking in the mud with no way out.
It might seem like fun to have one relationship after another or endless one night stands when you are young. But one day you might look back and wish you did things a little differently. Life moves faster than you ever think possible. You might keep thinking you have time to meet the right one, but maybe you never will. Maybe they were there all along and you overlooked them!
Never underestimate someone who wants to help you on your journey, and asks for nothing but your time when you can spare it in return. There aren’t many people in life, who are happy to give up their time to help others succeed without an ulterior motive. Most people enjoy watching others fail or using people to enhance their own lives.
I’ve always believed that we can go further in life if we help people achieve their potential. You never know when a compliment might be the match that ignites someone’s confidence to reach out and achieve a dream. You never know when checking in on someone to see if they are ok, could become the spark of inspiration they need to get past the mental block they were stuck in.
You will get much more from life if you learn to ask for help from the right people when you need it. It isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of strength in yourself and knowing your limitations. If someone offers to help, take them up on it, they may not offer again!
No one has to walk life’s road alone, baring the brunt of all their worries, sharing them with the people who care about you will help to lighten the load. Because maybe they were all being a little to selfish to notice you were struggling. Or you’ve become so good at hiding it that they didn’t know where to look for the signs. Maybe they would love to be given the chance to help you.
I’ve always believed that companies should utilise staff to the best of their ability and talent and that way everyone will have a better work life. Just think if you hate doing excel reports but someone else loves it how much happier you would both be to trade roles for a while! You would both create better work and save time by getting the right people doing the job.
Holding onto your anger for someone and punishing them for it is selfish. Don’t let someone you care about become a part of your history because you are too stubborn to talk and resolve your issues. Maybe all you can hope for at the end of it is a clean ending but that’s better than holding on to anger and hating someone.
One thing I’ve learned is you always end up forgiving the people you love, no matter what they do to hurt you or how hard they push you away. When you have a real connection with someone, then you know what behaviour is really them or when they are just acting out.
You forgive the acting out because you connected with the person underneath all the bullshit, the person whose smile lights a room and fills your heart with happiness. True, honest and genuine friendships are so hard to find and it only gets harder as you get older.
No relationship is ever perfect, you will always have to compromise, but often those weird and annoying things you learn to live with become what you miss, because they make the person unique!
I got complimented on my weird sense of humour this week and I made someone smile because I told them I’m the kind of person who gets into trouble for enjoying my life. I make far too many jokes, harmlessly flirt too easily, laugh too loudly and enjoy a practical joke every now and again.
It’s why I ended up getting sent to work in the naughty corner at my last job, people said we were having too much fun at work. I’d call that a good thing! I was increasing our productivity by keeping everyone smiling. It’s one of the reasons that my colleagues were sad to see me go, they had no one to raise their spirits on the stressful days.
Love is a strange thing, it brings you the most pleasure and happiness you could ever imagine, but with it is comes the constant threat of pain deeper than anything you have ever experienced before. Real love never goes away, no matter how much time passes.
How many times have you seen someone go through life still being in love with someone they lost? Years could pass by, you could be happy with someone else and if the opportunity arose to have that person back in your life, some people would still take that risk.
‘I never stopped loving you’ is a powerful phrase. We all have an inbuilt need to be loved. Yet we allow ourselves to love those who never love us back. That has to be one of the most cruel experiences in life, unrequited love.
Although sometimes it’s the people you never thought you saw a future with that turn out to be the one you wanted all along. Love is sometimes blind to what is right in front of it.
Sometimes it’s a case of right person but wrong time. Only in life there is no such thing as a right time, sometimes you just have to take a risk, give it a proper chance, talk it through and find a way to make it work.
I know two couples who are happily married now, but when they first met they used to avoid each other as neither of the women liked the men! In the passage of spending time together they realised how they really felt. One of the couples is my grandparents who have been happily married for over 60 years.
Someone once told me that you don’t fall in love with people by spending time with them. I didn’t correct them but perhaps I should. They really were missing the point.
I suppose in a way loving someone is selfish. You love them and want them to love you back. You expect them to put in the effort you do to making things work. When they don’t you get disappointed and blame them for not being who you want them to be. But that isn’t fair, you can’t blame someone for being themself. Neither can you love someone you are constantly trying to change.
There are some people who love having people do everything for them and never have the intention to return that affection. They haven’t evolved enough to realise that all relationships/ friendships/ partnerships are based on compromise. Or should I say a healthy amount of compromise on both sides. Not just one person always compromising or letting the other person have their own way for a quiet life. People in those situations often end up living unhappy lives filled with arguments and anger because they didn’t have the life skills to find a better way.
I’m starting to think I might be selfish for wanting to have him in my life when he’s made it clear he doesn’t want me in his. I thought we were just giving each other space for a while and by the time my birthday came around we’d be able to pass the time of day at least. Maybe caring for him was always selfish of me. Maybe I was always the one in the wrong.
Maybe I have to learn to accept that no matter what I thought the future was for our relationship he didn’t feel the same way. I thought I’d met someone who would always be in my life, a friendship that would grow with the changes in our lives. Someone I could always count on to make me smile and who knew I was there if they ever needed me.
I found myself looking for him in the crowded shopping centre on Friday. I scanned faces and did double takes of anyone who vaguely matched his height and build. But what would I have done if I saw him? I have no idea. Probably just smiled and carried on walking with tears in my eyes.
I went to Portobello Market yesterday. There was a big group of us, yet I found myself walking alone in the crowded market feeling heavy under the weight of my own sadness, and wondering if I will ever feel true happiness again. We passed the turn off towards his house on the way and a part of me wondered, if I drove past would I get to see him again one last time. I don’t think it would help if I did.
I don’t think I will ever understand why he left. How we went from being close friends to strangers in such a short space of time and without being able to say for sure the reasons why. It gives me such a heavy heart. Yet I can’t fully believe that we will never speak again. Maybe its a selfish part of me needing to feel like I meant something to him after all our years of friendship.
I think it’s more of a case of me knowing that you don’t have the sort of friendship we had with many people in life. It might not always have been smooth sailing, we both made mistakes. We had time apart before but we always made it back to each other. Each time we learned a little more about each other and things were better because of it. I can’t help wondering what would have happened if we sat down and talked properly, instead of second guessing each other.
Nothing in life worth having comes easy, some things are worth the effort and for me our friendship was always that. Something that special shouldn’t just be given up on when times get tough. I’ve never fought for anything in my life-like I have to keep our friendship alive, because nothing has ever touched my heart enough to warrant the effort. I wouldn’t have been able to succeed all this time unless it meant something to him too.
I guess that’s why I don’t want to let go. Walking away and giving up is taking an easy way out. Only this time I don’t know how to keep the fight going. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Maybe doing nothing is the right thing to do right now, no matter how wrong it feels.
I saw a programme this week where a footballer was talking about his depression and how it affected his life. He got to the point where he was planning suicide. I’ve heard those thoughts are common in sports people when they retire or get injured.
Being a professional in any sport requires single-minded dedication to succeed from a young age. Often you retire in your 30’s, sometimes with little education and no transferable skills. If you were not careful with your money then there is a lot of life ahead of you that needs to be filled and not much in the way of job prospects. It would be an immense pressure on anyone to find themselves in that situation.
I could understand completely where he was coming from. He said his depression stemmed from a desire to achieve and succeed in playing football. Not being able to achieve what he wanted made him feel like he let everyone down and that made him feel inferior.
I think that is often the route of my depression. I dreamed my life to be better than it is. I have things I always wanted to achieve and places I wanted to go. I haven’t been able to find the chances in life to make those things happen and I feel like I’ve let myself down.
I’ve largely been unlucky. Not always having the confidence to push myself hasn’t helped. I’m much better at building other people up and supporting them in achieving their goals than I am in driving my own. But for the first time I had the right support around me and I managed to make good headway this year to achieving my goals. Only to have it all come crashing down.
Not because I wasn’t good at what I do, but because of office politics. That was hard to take. To give my all to a company where I was made promises of having a future, to having work taken off me and eventually being let go, all whilst being told how good I am at what I do. I just couldn’t cope.
Finally I had the chance to improve my life and it was taken away from me. I could understand if I’d done something wrong but I had exceeded the expectations of my colleagues, evolved my position beyond the job description to make the lives of my colleagues easier, become an integral part of connecting the departments and it still wasn’t enough to keep my job. If I was running a business there is no way I would have let a member of staff who showed that much potential leave my company.
So now I have to find another opportunity to show what I can do and it isn’t that easy. I fell into that job at the right time, it was a unique experience that I will never find again. It would take years elsewhere to get the recognition and promotion I managed in little over a month. In fact being promoted on my birthday last year was pretty cool.
I remember saying to my friend if he ever needed a PA then I wanted first dibs on the job. It’s a shame he doesn’t need one now. I think with our brains, his good looks and confidence we’d go far!
I know at times I can be selfish but I would say more often than not I’m not selfish enough. I don’t put myself first enough. I don’t like being selfish. I always try to make sure I ask about other people and not just talk about myself. Even when sometimes I’m desperate to talk something through I put that aside to put the other person first.
I know some of my limitations. I don’t cope well with stress. I need to be able to talk to people about it and work it through and I need support when I’m feeling low. When you are always there to provide support to others you don’t think it will be an issue when you need some support in return, but that is a selfish way of looking at life. Because you should do it because you want to and not to get something in return.
So yes at times I’m selfish and I make mistakes, I’m human. I’m also loyal to those I care about which seems to be an under appreciated quality in modern society.
I blame social media for that. If you’re loyal then you are seen as desperate and clingy to some people, who aren’t mature enough to see that loyalty is a rare commodity and it should never be underestimated.
I guess we can’t blame them, young people today have no interest in the past. My brother hates talking about anything that happened more than 5 years ago as it is ‘no longer relevant’. Whenever you talk about a funny story from when he was small he just gets angry which I find weird. Just because it happened more than 5 years ago doesn’t change its relativity to your current situation. In fact all your experiences made you who you are now.
Every event in your life and the world has made you who you are now and you can’t discredit any of it. You have no idea what impact would have been made on your life had it not happened. If the internet didn’t exist for example, I couldn’t write this post for you now. I’m assuming of course that someone out there will read it!
I find it short-sighted of the youth of today to discredit history’s affect on their current situation. I think it’s a shame that a lot of young people see reading as a waste of time, because I think reading truly helps to educate you to be a better person.
I’ve learned a lot about human nature and life by reading. Even fiction books show you how different types of people react in different situations as all writing is born with a little bit of truth in it.
I also think young people take themselves and life way too seriously. They talk endlessly in short hand but end up saying nothing, and have whole conversations using nothing but emojis but lose the art of having a proper conversation. They can’t spend time with people without playing with their phones. It makes sense why a lot of young people struggle to cope with the pressures of life when they aren’t learning proper life skills any more.
Someone commented to me the other day that social media is a barrier to life. Instead of going out and meeting people face to face, people just talk online. In the future people will no longer remember how to have a proper conversation. When I’m out with friends I only check my phone before I’m due to go home. I have someone in front of me who deserves my full attention.
I also read that a lack of physical contact can be a cause of depression. I can relate to that a bit. There are periods of time when I don’t go out enough to do fun things, due to one reason or another. As soon as I spend more time out having fun I feel better.
It’s a shame that nights out are so expensive and tickets are so hard to come by. I have only managed one football match this season as I never have enough points to buy tickets before they sell out.
I think it’s a shame that we no longer have the stability of jobs for life. The fast paced world of today doesn’t sit well with being behind the same desk day in, day out doing the same job your whole working life. But the bigger issue is that companies are disloyal to employees and that promotes unproductive workplaces and causes people to change jobs on a regular basis. Too many people are out to serve their own purpose without looking at the wider picture.
Some of the worst people I’ve worked with have that mentality. They stay at somewhere just long enough for the company to realise they are under qualified for the job and move on in search of more money. I used to enjoy reading CV’s of job applicants and writing questions for the interview panel. Having written a lot of CV’s I can often tell when people are trying to hide something. Never kid a kidder I always say!
That implies I lie on my CV, I don’t. I can’t stand lying. I’m not very good at it, it’s too much pressure to remember the lies, I prefer to be truthful, then you can have a clear conscience.
There have been a few things that happened this week that made me think. Conversations I’ve had with people and my job interview. I think I’m wearing my brain out with all the over use it’s getting and it takes me nowhere good most of the time. I think that’s why I wanted to write this post. To share some of the thoughts that have been stealing my sleep this week.
I read something that said when you miss someone the frustration of that loss keeps you awake at night. I find it starts my mind racing with no way of me turning the bloody thing off! An over active mind steals all your energy by making situations worse than they are and it steals your happiness. It’s bloody infuriating and I can only control it some of the time. Luckily it was Halloween this weekend so I could pass the dark circles under my eyes off as the ‘zombie’ look!
Yesterday was tough. I just feel completely drained and empty. It didn’t help that I haven’t slept much lately. I looked in the mirror and my eyes were just bloodshot red, I almost didn’t recognise myself. I feel like I have been punched in the face my eyes hurt so much.
I spoke to my friend, we talk almost every day. I would be lost without her. I told her I feel like life is happening around me and that I’m only living in parts. I don’t understand how I feel so unconnected to my own life.
I need to find a job, only I don’t know where to start. I don’t remember what I’m good at any more.
I have always had big dreams for my life. There are so many places I wanted to go, people I wanted to meet and things I wanted to do, but I don’t remember them now. I’ve always wanted to be successful and saw myself living in a nice house with a nice car and a loving family.
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and I was for 10 years. I decided to be my own boss again and I was energised by the planning and believed I could make it work.
I turned to him for support, he’s a business man, it made sense and he wanted to be kept in the loop as to how I was getting on. Having someone to call on for advice is always good.
It was all good, until it wasn’t. I don’t understand why he didn’t just say in the beginning that he couldn’t help me, why ask to be kept in the loop and make it seem like he was interested in helping me?
He had been there for me before, helped to build me up and make me the best version of myself and that support would be invaluable to me now.
In the meantime I need a job. I was building a career a few months ago and now I just need a job. Something without any pressure, where I can just sit and do something and go home. I don’t have anything else to offer right now.
I told my friend last night that I don’t know who I am any more. She told me I’m a loving and creative person. Losing one of my best friends has made me question who I am and what I could have done to drive him away.
I know I said some things I didn’t mean which could’ve been hurtful when I felt attacked, and saying I didn’t mean them now is probably far too late. The rest I think I was just honest, maybe too honest, maybe too harsh but I can’t take it back. Maybe he thinks I blame him for how I feel but I don’t, I never have and I never would.
I don’t understand and I think I need to. No one understands what the connection was between us, I don’t even think we fully do. But I know that you don’t go through what we did over the last few years with many people in life. You don’t forge that sort of connection for no reason and you don’t keep coming back to it unless it means something. He felt like a part of my family and not just a friend in how I grew to care for him. There are so many things in my life that make me think of him.
I don’t understand how someone can say they care for you and they will be there for you, show you they mean it in their actions at times and then cut you out their life. I don’t understand how something so good, that lasted so long could just be over forever over a silly disagreement which could have been resolved.
The last time it happened we didn’t speak for six months. I missed him everyday. But when we argued back then he didn’t block all contact and leave stinging status updates for me to see. They really hurt and I didn’t deserve that. I’m not proud of my childish reaction to them.
I understand life changes and people get busy, I know sometimes they can’t be there when you need them but people who care don’t just leave. People who care stay and work through the bad times, they talk through their problems and they forgive, they hug, make up and things are better. Sometimes you need space to breathe but you always find your way back.
It’s not his fault I am where I am right now. A series of events brought me here. But missing him and the support he gave me isn’t helping. I need his tough love and positivity to snap me out of it. I need to remember what it felt like to see a message from him and light up like Christmas with excitement.
I have enough tough days ahead without missing someone who may or may not come back to my life. Maybe he’s right and he is better off without me. Maybe I imagined myself to be more important than I am and it was easy for him to let me go. But then again, he did keep coming back.
Maybe he thinks I’m better off without him. I will never be better off not having him in my life. It’s like living without a part of me.
In order to be proactive I helped my grandparents with decorating their house as it’s in need of some TLC. It felt good to be able to help someone again.
After a trip to the GP for some test results and a dose of vitamins I spent what must have been half an hour trying to explain to my Nan she had taken the wrong medication. It couldn’t be easier, the medication is in pots separated into day sections and the day is broken into Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Bedtime.
I didn’t think it would be a problem. Until I realised she forgets what day it is. So she checks to see if she took her medication and if she got the day mixed up she takes the tablets.
I don’t understand how else I can explain it. I tried writing it down, she watched me putting the medication in pots explaining each tablet in detail, I explained to her with the aid of a calendar but nothing seemed to go in.
She makes me feel like a monster as she pretends to cry and gets agitated as you explain what she needs to do. I have to keep reminding myself I’m doing it for her own good and to keep her healthy. It would be so easy to let her get on with it and leave her to it for a quiet life but I pulled the ‘bad cop’ short straw.
The only thing I could do is leave them for my granddad to give her the strip of mediation each day. He’s more than capable to mange the situation but if that doesn’t work then I don’t know what to do. I don’t live near enough to go and give her the medication every day.
I suppose that is the one good thing about my current situation. Having the time to invest in all the appointments to resolve her health issues. That’s how I became ‘bad cop’. It wasn’t a job I wanted but spending two days in a row there I saw how much that was needed.
It’s also about finding a way to support my granddad with caring for her. He bares the brunt of it all, with us visiting every week, so it’s important to look after him as well. Seeing him energised and throwing himself into decorating again was nice, it gave him something useful to do. As someone who worked into his 70’s in a physically demanding job he needs that from time to time.
I drove home emotionally drained with tears in my eyes. I ached to get home and talk to him about anything but my day because I knew he would make me feel better. After spending more than two years sharing my life with him I can’t believe that I don’t have that support network there when I need it.
That’s what you do with your best friends, you talk, not always about your problems but you don’t need to because they make you feel better anyway, just by being there. I don’t think he ever realised that. Just by being there he made a bad day better. Knowing I could call on him if I needed to meant the world to me.
I even found myself being jealous of my friend this week. She had a fight with her partner, there were some huge and very real problems between them and in the end it was a real mess. But she told me how they worked it all out. I was so pleased for her getting her happy ending, she deserves it after what has been 3 years of a good/ bad time roller-coaster.
I’ve never been jealous of anyone before, it’s a waste of time and energy. I hated myself for feeling that way but in that moment I just wanted to have my own happy ending. I wanted to get in my car and drive across town to see him, to scream and shout and fight until we resolved our issues and were friends again.
It’s my birthday next month and I keep meaning to sort out something to do to get everyone together. But there is one special event I wanted to share with him, I’m not brave enough to invite anyone else to do it with me. My other bestie would do it with me but she lives in the US.
I also want to go for cocktails in The Shard but my favourite cocktail, Pina Colada reminds me of him. You need to commiserate with friends on your birthdays when you get to my age. People who understand your wrinkles and can forewarn you of the troubles ahead and regale you with hilarious life stories.
Mind you the last birthday I had in London with friends we got in trouble for lowering the tone and almost got kicked out of the bar. They didn’t like my birthday tiara, luckily they didn’t look too closely at the straws in our champagne glasses! I have some great friends!
I need to find a way out of this mess. I need to find myself again. I need to keep spending time with people who care about me and remembering to do one thing a day for me that makes me smile. I know this is just a blip and it will all work out. I know it isn’t the end of the world. I know I’m the only one who can fix it, no matter how much I wish someone would just tell me what I need to do.
I want to be the girl who gets in trouble for laughing too loudly and makes everyone smile again. Starting tonight over dinner and drinks.
Listening to the radio in the car doesn’t exactly help. They seem to keep playing sad songs that make you remember what you lost…
I swear I can’t catch a break at the moment.
I lost my window of opportunity to start my business. It took so long to open a bank account the stock I wanted to order has gone, the website designer fell through, I couldn’t afford a replacement so I had to do it myself which in the end looked rubbish. So its back to the drawing board on the career front!
I lost the man I have loved for the last 2 1/2 years. Just as I was trying to find a way to make things better between us, or at least end things in a thankful way for all that we had been to each other, I found he’s blocked me from his life. After saying he wasn’t going to block me and needed some space, I saw by chance my email was blocked and then I saw the status update.
I thought being ignored by someone you care about was physically painful but I hadn’t considered how much of a kick in the guts it would be to see Good Riddance as a status update after finding out you had been blocked. Like a stupid child I blocked Twitter so he could feel for a nano second what it was like to be cut off and deleted his mobile number so I didn’t have to see any more nasty jabs.
Like my friend said to me today, status updates are the worst. I have to be careful with my status updates due to the audience of people in my phone who see them. I tend to stick to a line from whatever song is stuck in my head at the time. Whenever I’ve said something stupid on an update people have pulled me up on it and it’s not easy to explain them away.
Blocking contacts is a game I never wanted to play and one I have no conviction for. I don’t cut people I care about from my life so I unblocked Twitter, I lasted less than a week. The mobile was different, his name sat under my brother’s so I saw it too often in passing for it to be healthy but I kept a note of the number in my diary. Not that any of it makes a difference to the situation but it does to me.
Because I don’t want to trivialize what a big, positive influence he was on my life. I don’t want to take pot shots back and forward and try to hurt each other. If it had to end then I would’ve preferred it to be thankful for all we shared and part on amicable terms and not hurt each other with childishness. But it’s not something I can change now.
I don’t want to face the fact I will never again have his support, friendship or the care he showed me over the time we were friends. It is leaving a dark shadow over my life that it will take me a long time to get over. A therapist might say I was catatrophizing the situation but they never saw how he made me light up, how he challenged me to want to be a better person and built up my confidence to achieve that.
I’ve developed a circle of good friends in my life, who all offer their own qualities but none of them give me what I got from him. The fact I may never find that again scares me as I’d gotten so used to having it; maybe I took it for granted.
I drove home from the cinema last night, drifting into sadness and flicking through radio stations that went from Unbreak My Heart to Set Fire to the Rain and pressed the CD for some relief only to hear Certain Things, the song that reminds me most of him. I mean come on, give a broken-hearted girl a break!
I’ve never had my heart-broken before and I’m a bit old to be experiencing it for the first time but apparently it’s pretty common for guys to cut you off and act like a child when things end. Or so my friend tells me, men can’t deal with emotions or feelings so they lash out. She also said by the time he comes to his senses I’ll have moved on because apparently they always come back one day.
That’s why I love friends, they don’t sugar coat it and this particular one has known me since I was 4 years old. I’m glad I was seeing her today because she made me feel better. Although I don’t like her suggestion of deleting the photos, once they are gone they’re gone and I really will have nothing left.
I’ve not been sleeping. I keep waking up feeling like I can’t breathe under the weight of my sadness. I wake up with a voice in my head saying ‘you’re never going to speak to him again’ and I catch my breath. I don’t know why, I don’t remember dreaming over the last few weeks, it’s so strange to wake up thinking of him like that.
I woke up this morning with a sore throat like a golf ball is stuck in it, courtesy of my brothers girlfriend who came down with the cold at the weekend. He’s just come in from work complaining of the same, thanks S! I’ve been resisting the urge to call her all day and make her feel bad for passing on the germs but it’s a bit mean of me!
I left the manor house today to drive to the shops and get some bits for the curry I’m making for dinner, and when I got back into the car the ABS warning light came on. So now my car has decided to give up on me too. It’s an issue as where we live the nearest public transport or town is 3 mile walk in most directions, and there is no street lighting or pavements for most of that!
I mean come on, what else have you got for me life?! No business, no job, lost my friend, no car, coming down with a cold, depressed, chores piling up, writing going undone because I can’t focus. All I can think of is I must have been evil in a former life, because I really can’t work out what I did that was so bad to end up here.
I read a story yesterday about a poor woman who sat dead in a McDonalds with people eating their dinner around her for 7 hours before anyone noticed. I’ve now asked two separate friends to make sure I never end up as that woman. One of them asked me which restaurant I preferred, bless her, that wasn’t my issue with the story. But they promised to check on me which is nice.
I’m out for dinner with friends on Friday so at least I’m keeping my mind and life as busy as possible, which helps. Although one of the friends has been trying to set me up with her male friend for a while now and I have to keep telling her I’m not interested. She means well and is lovely to do it but my heart belongs to someone I can’t have, for now at least, and it wouldn’t be fair to bring anyone else into it.
I got a message from a colleague today asking if I could help out a friend of hers with work. Which was nice to know she thought of me. I couldn’t help but gave her the details of the only person I knew who might be able to help, which happened to be him.
No idea if it’ll work out but that’s me, hurt me, leave me and I’ll still try to help you if I can. That’s who I want to be, the person who cares even after you stop, because you never know in life what will happen next.
My Mind Management book and Therapy taught me that life is precious and you should spend it with the people you care about and treating people how you want to be treated. I forget that sometimes but when I remember I try to do good and make things right. Even if sometimes I have to accept that I won’t get that chance, and I need to find a way to live with that.
It doesn’t help that I struggle to cope when lots of things go wrong all at once. That’s when I feel the depression bite. I managed to hold it off for a while but I can’t ignore it anymore. The St Johns Wort helps even it out a bit and make the pain a bit numb.
You wouldn’t have thought that emotional pain could physically hurt you as much as a physical injury can but it does. Mostly I get it in my head and back, I can’t focus with a big black cloud filling my head with darkness. Which is why I’m not as productive as I should be. Going to an author talk today was just the inspiration I needed to get moving again though.
I’m sure eventually everything will work out. I’ll find a new career, finish my writing and get my life back on track, whether or not he is a part of it I don’t know any more. I always thought/ felt he would be but now I’m not so sure, this is a side to him I have never seen so I don’t know who I’m dealing with.
The best I can hope for is one day he realises that I don’t hate him, that I’m thankful for all he did for me, I miss him and I’m sorry for the stupid things I said/ did but didn’t mean. I might not have been able to tell him that myself, I wrote the message I just couldn’t send it, but who knows maybe one day I will get the chance.
Tomorrow is a new day with a new roller coaster to ride. I’ll have good days and bad. I’ll have days where I beat the depression and days when it beats me. Today was a good day and I won, I’m sure if tomorrow is too then I can start turning this around again. Because depression might win the battle but I always end up winning the war!
I’ve been depression free for almost a year now. I’m thinking of throwing myself a congratulations party on the anniversary of being discharged from therapy, only no one else would be invited. I didn’t really tell anyone about the therapy at the time so it’s a bit pointless now.
My two best friends know. One helped me through it at the time, the other had their own issues. The trouble is I have started to feel it clawing me back in.
The last few days I woke up with that tell-tale headache that starts it all off. The one I can’t make go away with medication and I don’t really know why I feel this way. I woke up depressed.
I keep crying at random intervals which just sucks. At the worst of my depression I cried so much I actually dried my eyes out and had to have a course of eye drops. Nothing like the pain of your eyelids drawing across your eye-ball every time you try to blink, I wouldn’t recommend it!
I don’t even know why it’s clawing me in again. Things aren’t particularly great but I’ve been coping. I started the year happy and positive and slowly it lost all through one thing or another but I’m still going.
I could have let it all beat me but instead I decided to chase a dream. A dream that isn’t proving easy to establish but I think it’s been exactly what I needed. I have to prove something to myself and stop playing everything so safe.
One reason for the depression come back might be on top of everything else that happened this year my two best friends have started drifting away from me. I’m not blaming them, they have their own lives to live and I love them both very much. I would never want them to feel like its their fault if they read this.
I think I’m finding it hard adjusting to the fact they are the people I go to for everything and they aren’t around at the moment. They know all my secrets, make me smile and laugh without even trying and I miss them everyday. I feel like a part of me is missing when we don’t talk for a while.
It’s always hard when friends drift apart, life takes you on a different path and you lose touch. Its harder still when they’re the friends who keep you sane.
I met up with a group of friends yesterday and had a good laugh and that helped. But last night it crept back in again when I started getting messages hoping they were from my besties and they weren’t. Night times are always the worst as that was our catch up times.
I guess with everything I have going on and what I’m trying to achieve I’m noticing the fact that they aren’t there to run ideas past, get second opinions and maybe even massage my ego a bit and tell me how amazing I am. (I should point out they have said that of their own accord, I don’t force them to say it to make myself feel better!)
I sound so self-centred but I’m really not. I miss being a part of their lives and sharing in who they are and what they do, it’s been a while since I had a proper catch up with either of them. I feel like I’m losing the connection I had with them.
There was a time when I knew almost everything, well at least from one of them, the other one has always been a tough nut to crack!
I just got my logo proofs through for my new company and sat looking at their names in my phone wondering which one I should ask for a second opinion. Then I remembered all the messages I’ve sent lately that have gone unanswered and made the decision alone.
It prompted me to write this, thinking if I got how I feel down in words it might help me concentrate on my ever-growing to do list. Time will tell if it has succeeded in its goal!
I just don’t think I’m ready to accept that I am going to have to go on living my life without them. I know they have more important things in their lives than me right now and I accept that. I just miss how we used to be. I miss my friends.
When you love someone you only ever want the best for them and if they are both happy then how can I argue with that? If they aren’t happy then I will be mad they didn’t come to me for help!
But at least how I’m feeling is not contagious, according to the article I read this morning!
Maybe I just need a vat of alcohol, a soppy movie, junk food and a box of tissues and that will sort me out.
Sure it won’t make my phone ping or fix the fact I’m missing my rocks but it might stop this damn headache for a while.
Mind you I will probably feel bad tomorrow when I remember I’m supposed to be on a diet. I’m due a weigh in with the doctor next month before I get sent to a weight loss programme if I didn’t make any progress 😦
One thing is certain. I refuse to go back down the rabbit hole of depression that I fought so hard to get out of. I refuse to let the darkness take me. I need to find my Sunshine again.
So today was the big day, I had my 6 month review with my Therapist. I was wondering when I got the letter, with my review date months ago, what I would feel like when this day actually came around and the reality is much better than the expectation. I could have only have dreamed then to be feeling how I am now.
Being able to tell my Therapist that I can pinpoint the exact catalyst almost a year to the day from when the problems started really helped. Because I know I will never take those pills again and that outcome will never happen to me again.
Something so small ended up bringing down my whole world and causing me to lose someone I may never get back, and it has taken me a year to claw myself back from that.
I still have to live everyday missing him and knowing I may ever get the chance to speak with him again. I’ve built my new life around this strange feeling of knowing what I had been searching for is out there somewhere, and as weird as it is to know that and be happy for him at the same time, I wish it was all so different.
I’ll never give up hope that one day things will be better between us, because I made the choice to stop giving up on the things I want, the things that make life worth living.
I’ve created an environment around me now that I can function in. I’ve removed all the stresses and made a new list of goals, but this time there are no time frames. Time frames are still beyond me, they add stress and frustration when they don’t work out and build expectation that leads to disappointment.
I’ve achieved so many things that life just threw at me and I had the time to go with them and complete the goal. It was only in explaining them today I really got to realise that, without the writing over the last 6 months being my constant, I would not have got to where I am now.
It’s so strange, how I have ended up is never anything close to what I saw in my future. Without 2 people showing me the path and many others helping to guide me along it my life would be so much different from what it is now.
What I have achieved in 6 months is nothing short of impressive, at least to me, if I list it all out. I had talked about taking a 6 month break to write at the beginning of the year but ruled it out for financial reasons but in the end that is exactly what happened. I spent 6 months writing and I am now broke but happy!
But the only real way to test my resolve is to continue to re-emerge myself in the parts of my life I moved away from. That starts on Monday with my new job and becoming part of a workforce again. I’m not even feeling apprehensive about it which is good.
Even walking into the office this week to meet the team didn’t make me feel nervous at all. It felt like that was where I was meant to be. Now I know what signs to look out for, so if for whatever reason things don’t work out, I’ll not get stuck this time and be positive enough to move onto something new.
The ultimate test for me will always be him and wanting him back in my life. Until I have the opportunity to try to mend that bridge I will never know if I fully dealt with all the issues I had.
Maybe its needing to understand things from his side too and the reasons why it all became too much. I have the feeling that in some part he blames himself for how I was and I would do anything to make him see that he was in no way at fault for what happened.
I would love to be able to replace all the bad memories with good ones and build a stronger friendship than we had before but without him wanting that too it will always be just a dream.
I’ve learned to conquer my over thinking and utilise deep breathing exercises. I understand the triggers more now and can challenge the thinking much better but in practice I haven’t been putting it to the test much.
I found a trick in St John’s Wort to help me on the bad days. I’m not convinced it helps me as anything more than a placebo, in that I’ve taken a happy pill so it will help. In truth I need it so rarely I’m not worried. I never wanted to start the route that needed medication to deal with my problems, I need to cope by myself.
I’ve always been a bit of a mardy bum since I was a teenager, sadly I think that is hormonal rather than anything else because I’m pretty happy most of the time.
Occasionally I just need everyone to leave me alone and let me be dark till it passes, it usually lasts a couple of hours and then I’m fine again. The Therapist assures me this is quite normal but to me it’s just annoying and I would like to learn to stop it.
There is nothing worse than when you feel low, and there is no reason why you do, for people to keep asking you what’s wrong. It makes it worse because you end up getting snappy with them.
How the hell do I know what’s wrong? I was fine a minute ago and now I just want everyone to go away but in a couple of hours I’ll want to laugh and joke again as if nothing happened.
I’ve noticed its worse when I’m trying to concentrate and someone interrupts me. Like when I’m deep into editing something and all of a sudden someone decides to tell you about a really funny cat video you have to watch.
Like seriously, I’ve been at this for hours now and I can’t for the life of me think of a word to make this sentence work and you want me to laugh at a cat video.
Which ok I admit is funny, but dammit now I have to go back and start reading from the beginning, and I’m still stuck on this sentence, but now I’ve wasted half hour because I was interrupted and it was easy to check Twitter.
My fellow writers will understand this I’m sure.
I think I have a handle on what works for me now. This whole episode scared the life out of me and has left me with lots of regrets and things I am really not proud of but that is life.
I need to keep everything small as much as possible so I can stay on top of things and not let it all spiral out of control. It means I can grow things at a nice steady pace and acclimatize to each new phase before moving forward which is good.
My challenge at the moment is learning to deal with the build ups of pressure inside me. The headaches and numbness that result from the pressure build ups are getting unpleasant and more frequent. I will eventually have to stop being so thick-headed and see the doctor to get it checked out.
I’m banking on it being stress and worry over getting things sorted and settling into the new job. If it continues past the first few weeks then I will get it checked out. My new office is next to the GP surgery so I’ll have no excuse not to!
But the over-riding feeling over the last 6 months is pride. I’m actually proud of how far I have come and the things I achieved.
I wish it didn’t take losing someone I care about to make that happen but sometimes life is a bitch.
I think I’ve grown into a better version of who I was, things that scared me before don’t seem to anymore and life feels positive right now and the best bit is the future is still unwritten…
“The Doctor will see you now Lucy.” The Nurse says in that annoying tone, the one that makes me feel like a child again. She helps me stand and leads me into the Doctor’s office, where she ushers me to the seat in front of his desk before patting me on the shoulder. “I’ll be right outside Lucy, if you need me.” She nods to the Doctor and closes the door behind her.
Uncomfortable at situation I begin to pull at the bandage on my wrist waiting for the interrogation to begin. I daren’t even look at the Doctor, I can feel his eyes burning into me trying to stare through my layers and steal my secrets.
“Lucy, I am Doctor Rajan but you can call me Raj. How have you been Lucy?” He sits bolt upright in the chair, hands together, fingers intertwined leaning on his notebook, his pen by his side ready. As soon as I begin to talk he will pick up that pen and make his notes, one false word and I’ll be stuck here forever and I want to be anywhere but here. I don’t belong here.
I shrug my shoulders. I’m not talking today.
“Lucy, I must begin by asking you two very important questions. You understand you must be completely honest with me on these questions. It will serve you no good to hide your true feelings. Now, Lucy can you tell me if you have had any thoughts of suicide in the last week?”
I look down at my wrist and the bandage, once white but now grubby from the constant attention, a smear of pinkie red coming through from underneath. I pick at it mindlessly. Have I had any thoughts of suicide?
I think long and hard, burying the thought down deep inside me. The one thought he mustn’t find with all his staring. I look up, straight into his eyes. “No, I haven’t.” He picks up the pen and writes. I hate to watch him write, I want to scream at him to stop but it won’t help me get out of here.
“Ok Lucy, that is very good. I’m very pleased to hear you say that, now for my second question. Have you had any thoughts about hurting any other people in the last week?” He intertwines his hands once more, awaiting my answer.
“No I haven’t.” That question is always the easy one.
“Very good Lucy. Now what would you like to talk about today? I am new here but I have read your file thoroughly so I know all about your current situation. I am happy to begin wherever you need to start. Remember you are here to be helped; we are not trying to hold you against your will. You just need a short break and some rest. We can start with what happened with Henry or if you would like to go further back, you can tell me about Karl.”
At the sound of his name I flinch. No one talks about Karl anymore. He is a distant memory. I beautiful distant memory that lives inside me every day. He is the one that started the darkness inside me. The darkness that creeps like a shadow through me until I can’t see the light anymore. The darkness I feel inside me now, now that He is gone.
“I don’t want to talk about either of them.” It is just too hard. I try to bury my head against my chest; I bring my knees up onto the chair and hide my wrists.
“Lucy, you have had treatment before. You know talking helps. I will not push you on this but you know in order to be well you need to first address the reasons for this phase you are in. If you don’t want to talk about Karl that is fine, but I think you have some issues regarding Henry you would like to address. Am I right?”
They keep trying to tell me the reason I am in here is because Henry left and I cut myself off from the world. They say I stopped eating and lost lots of weight, they stand me in front of the mirror but all I see is me. They tell me I am skin and bones and that is why I must wear their clothes and eat carefully but I look in the mirror and see I am healthy.
They say I used a knife to cut my wrist. I promised Karl I would never do that again, when he came to see me and stopped my hand. I only did it to see him again and he came, he was there. I didn’t really mean it, I just wanted to see him and I knew he would come and help me. I would never have let him down like that.
They say that Henry left me but he is here with me. We were just talking and it’s just like it always was. They say he left me for another woman and that I saw them together and got angry because I saw how happy they were. Happy like me and Henry were in the beginning. But how can that be true when he is here with me now?
“Lucy, can you tell me about Henry. What is he like?”
What is my Henry like? He’s tall, muscular and he has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. They were the first thing I noticed about him, the smoothness of the skin around his eyes and how big and clear they were. He has a cute wrinkle at the top of his nose, which he hated but I found sexy. He has plump kissable lips and sandy hair that I love burying my hands in.
He is smart and funny, he teaches me new things and I attempt to teach him new things and we have a lot of fun together.
I’ve never met anyone like Henry, his personality fills the room and people are drawn to him. I love to watch how he talks to other people, the way they instantly trust him and open up. His enthusiasm for life is infectious and he made me want to try so many new things just to see how much he loved them, although not all of them were to my taste.
But I don’t want to share my Henry with this man. He is mine; I want to keep him my secret. Once I talk about him he will leave again and I can’t bear it anymore.
“I don’t want to talk about Henry.” I rest my head on my knees and look out the window. It has begun to rain and the drops chase each other down the window pane in some imagined race. The garden has been dry, the rain will help the colourful roses under my window gain their strength back, keeping the petals alive for a few more days.
“Ok Lucy. You don’t want to talk today. Can you tell me something about you? What is your favourite colour?”
“Blue is my favourite colour.” The different blues in the sky on a clear day, or the blue of the ocean on a beach holiday. The blue of the shirt of my football team or the words of our song. The different blues of the rooms in my house, the carpets, walls, curtains even my bedspread everything has a touch of blue. All my diaries have to be blue, I write better in blue ink, I feel better in blue clothes, and I feel sexier in blue underwear. Blue is safe, blue is home.
“That’s good I like blue too. What is your favourite food?”
I know what he is trying to do. He’ll begin to ask about Henry again soon but I won’t respond. If he wants to know about Henry he can go and ask him, he doesn’t like me talking about him with others.
“I like Italian food but I will try pretty much anything once. I always say you don’t know if you like something until you give it a try.”
“That is a good attitude to have.” He smiles. “Is there anything you would like to ask me Lucy?”
“When can I go home?”
“I think you need to rest for a bit longer. But I am keen to see you fit and ready for home as soon as possible. A part of that is talking to me, so I can be sure that you are ok. I am here to help you Lucy. I want to listen and help. Trust me and open up and you will be home before you know it. I think we need a rest, so you go off now and we can talk again this afternoon. How about that?” He stands and walks around the desk to where I sit, placing a gentle hand on my knee and giving it a slight squeeze.
I think I can trust Doctor Raj but I am not sharing my Henry with him.
“I would like to rest now.” The door opens and Nurse Sally comes back in.
“Ready to go lie down Lucy? Lunch will be ready in about half hour so time for a little nap before then.” She smiles and helps me stand, holding my arm and walking with me back to my room.
My room is small, just a bed and a bedside table. I’m not allowed to go to the bathroom unaided and there is no door and no locks. My room has a door but I have to keep it open during the day. I have 3 books on the bedside table and so far I’ve only managed to read the first page of one of them. I sit with it open on my lap, scanning the words but my mind wanders. I have no idea how long I have been here or what day it is.
“There we go Lucy, you have a nice little lie down and I will be back in a minute.” The Nurse lifts my legs onto the bed and pulls off my slip on shoes.
I roll into a ball on my side and close my eyes. “Where have you been? I missed you silly.”
“Henry, you’re back.”
“Back? I never went anywhere?”
“They keep telling me you have gone but as soon as I close my eyes you are here with me. I don’t understand.”
“Hush now, you need to rest. I’m right here.” I feel him wrap his arms around me, curling into me like he always did and I drift off into a deep, relaxing sleep.
When I open my eyes Henry is gone. I look around for him but he isn’t there, I can’t feel him. He leaves me sometimes, but he always comes back. He is my Henry and we are meant to be together.
“Here we go Lucy, lunch is ready.” Nurse Sally is back with a bowl on a tray. She sits on the bed next to me and feeds me spoon after spoon of the thick mashed up liquid. I can’t be trusted yet to eat alone, or so they tell me. I make as little fuss as I can, wanting the whole experience to be over but hating every mouthful of the horrible mush.
“All done, I’ll leave you to rest a while and then Doctor Raj will see you again.” Nurse Sally leaves and I lie back on the bed. Maybe if I close my eyes Henry will come back.
“Hey love. You were such a good girl, eating all your lunch. Can you be a good girl for me again?” I nod my head.
“Anything for you.”
“I need you to talk to the Doctor. If you talk to him then you can come home. I miss you.” He smiles and rests his hand on my leg.
“Do you promise it will be ok if I talk to him? I’m so scared.” I missed the feel of his hand on me and don’t want the moment to end.
“It’s ok, I promise. You can tell the Doctor about me, I don’t mind. Tell him why you are scared and then you can come home. But you have to be honest. They won’t let you come home until you are better and to get better you have to be honest. Promise me you’ll get better and come home Lucy, promise me.”
Henry knows how important promises are; I never broke a promise to him although he never kept all of his. “I promise Henry and you know I never break a promise.”
“Lucy, Doctor Raj wants to see you now.” I open my eyes to see Nurse Sally is back. “Let’s put your shoes back on shall we. Would you like to brush your hair too?” Her patronising tone, like I’m a child that needs to have things explained, really winds me up but she is just doing her job so I go along with it. The more fuss I make the longer I’ll be here and now I made Henry a promise I can’t break it.
“There, all better. Do you feel better now your hair has been brushed?”
“Yes, much.” I lie. I look in the mirror as she brushes my hair and see the dark circles under my eyes. No wonder Henry found someone new.
We walk to the Doctors room in silence, she opens the door and I go in and sit down in the chair once more.
“How was lunch Lucy? Did you enjoy it?”
“It was horrible but I was hungry so it helped.”
“Good. So you’ve had a nap and some food. Is there anything you would like to talk about now? We have all afternoon; we can talk about everything and nothing. The time is all yours.”
“I think I would like to walk in the rose garden, would that be ok?” I look outside and see the sun has come out, the earlier rain has stopped and the water is forming stains on the windows.
“If you agree to talk to me I don’t see what harm a stroll would do. Do we have a deal?” He smiles and stands up from his desk, taking a jacket off the back of his chair and holding it out for me to wear. “Looks a bit nippy outside. I’ll just grab my notebook.” He says as he slips the jacket onto my shoulders.
Outside I feel the warming sun on my skin. It is too warm for the jacket but I enjoy the comfort of being wrapped in someone’s jacket once more, it is a familiar feeling. Henry would often let me wear his jacket if we were out or offer me his jumper. I loved to be wrapped in clothes that smelled like him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t talk earlier. But Henry said it is ok to talk now. He doesn’t mind and he wants me to get better.”
“Lucy, do you talk to Henry a lot?” Doctor Raj leads me to the start of the rose garden path and we begin to walk alongside the flower beds. The garden has been designed in circuits to allow people to walk on different routes. There is even a rose tunnel where the flowers completely cover the frame and surround you as you walk.
“He talks to me when I’m asleep. But its ok Doctor I’m not crazy, I realise it’s not really him. I know him so well; I know what he would say if he were here. My mind lets me talk to him because it can’t face what has happened. I can’t face what has happened.” I shuffle my feet as I walk, quick then slower steps, pulling on my bandages and rubbing the imaginary itch of the wound.
“You are right Lucy and I am glad to hear you say that Henry is not here. It is a coping mechanism for you to deal with your loss. Can you tell me what happened?”
“I was due to meet Henry for a coffee one lunchtime. He had been on a business trip and we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of days so I met him for lunch on the day he got back. When I got there I saw him kissing a girl on the cheek, I assumed it was just a goodbye.
She was tall, slender build, much younger than me with dark hair and a perfect figure. But something in my heart lurched. I knew there was more to it when I saw the look on his face as she left. He used to look at me that way.
He kissed me and we sat down to order but then he needed the toilet. He left his mobile on the table. We’d always trusted each other with our phones; I didn’t think anything of picking it up when the text message pinged. That was when I realised what was going on.” I stop on the path by a bench and the Doctor motions to me to sit down.
“What happened when you read the message Lucy?”
“It was from someone called Naya and it said ‘have you told her yet?’ I dropped the phone for a second in shock. Then I picked it up and went into his message box. It was filled with flirty messages and photos from Naya. They were similar to the messages we would send each other in the beginning but never quite as intense, but still I could see the connection between them. I saw him arrange meetings with her, the last one was for a romantic trip to Paris. He wasn’t on a business trip at all he was with her.“
I sink with my head in my hands and begin to cry hot and painful tears. I’ve cried so much lately that my tears have dried up and in addition to being fed I have to have drops put in my eyes to bring the moisture back.
Doctor Raj offers me a hanky and I dab my eyes. “That sounds like a difficult experience. Would you tell me how that made you feel?”
“I was hurt. I wanted to be sick. I couldn’t believe he would lie to me. I never had any idea that he was unhappy or that things had changed for him. I felt betrayed that he wouldn’t talk to me, instead he chose to lie and hurt me.
I remembered how the woman looked as she left the cafe and looked at myself and instantly hated myself. I couldn’t bear to look at myself; I was ashamed that I wasn’t good enough. How could I compete with the other woman? She was young and fun and new and I was old and tired and boring.
I tried so hard to make sure things didn’t go stale between us. I wanted us to have fun together and I thought we did but to find out he lied.” I take a deep breath and sit back in the chair.
“So what happened next?”
“Henry came back from the toilet to see me reading his messages, tears and makeup all down my face. At first he didn’t know what to say. Then he said he didn’t lie to me. Then he started blaming me. I made things move too fast. I pushed our relationship on. He needed a break from me and he just met Naya and they hit it off.
He wasn’t looking to hurt me. He cared for me but it just happened and he couldn’t stop himself. I was so needy that I clung to him and he couldn’t breathe. He just wanted to have non-complicated fun, no commitment and nothing lasting but he got caught up with me and now he wanted to be free to explore his own path.”
“That sounds like a very difficult conversation to have with someone. I can understand how you would find that overwhelming.”
“I just couldn’t take it all in. There was so much to process. The fact that he was leaving, the guilt and the shame I felt and that he was projecting onto me. Seeing him not take any of the blame and forcing me to believe it was all my fault.
Looking at the man I thought I knew and realising I never knew him at all. The person I knew would never deliberately hurt me like that.
Everything he said made what I thought to be true a lie. I couldn’t separate the lies from the truth anymore. He seemed so happy when he left, he was going off to someone new but I was stuck in our old life. Only now I was alone, he was gone.
Everything reminded me of him and the fact he was no longer there. I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Every time I closed my eyes he would be there and it would be like old times. Only for him to flip and tell me how it was all my fault again and he never wanted a relationship with me.
I couldn’t process what happened. I needed a way out and before I knew it the knife was in my hand. I stood with the knife pressed against my wrist and his voice in my head just said ‘I don’t care anymore, do what you want.’” I hold my wrist with the distant memory of the release of pain.
“This is very good Lucy. Thank you for opening up to me. I know how hard it is for you to relive these moments but in order for you to get better you need to move on from the past. Can you tell me what happened next?”
“Hearing him say he didn’t care and that he was leaving and didn’t want anything to do with me anymore was the hardest thing I have ever heard. I went from meeting someone for lunch that I’d missed and who told me they missed me, to finding out my partner was having an affair. Then for him to say it was all my fault, I couldn’t take it all in it was a lot in the space of an afternoon.
I stopped eating, I couldn’t face food. I could barely get out of bed each morning for work and I was cranky when I did. People started avoiding me. I realised how isolated my life was without him, and I forgot what it was I liked to do. I just didn’t know what was real anymore, what I could trust.
I had these voices in my head going over and over everything good and bad that had ever happened between us. I looked for my mistakes and wished I could unmake them.
I avoided the things we did together so I didn’t miss him. I stopped looking at his messages and photos and deleted them and his contacts but the further away I pushed the memories the deeper back my mind would go.
Back to those first days, when he looked at me like he looked at her. When he flirted with me like he did with her. When my heart would jump at the sight of his name on my phone and just talking to him had me beaming into a smile. It hadn’t been like that in a while.
We had been growing apart in some ways but in others nothing had changed. I was frustrated that I didn’t know what was happening or how to fix it but I never thought he was so unhappy he wanted to leave.
He didn’t only leave he met someone else and because he had someone else he was never going to miss me. Why couldn’t he have just told me when he first knew it was over so I didn’t have to be so humiliated?” I put my head in my hands again as the tears try to fall once more.
“I don’t know the answer to that question I am afraid. Perhaps in the excitement of finding something new he didn’t fully understand the hurt he was causing. Perhaps he was blinded by his own needs and forgot about yours. Let me ask you this, do you believe that he intentionally hurt you?” Doctor Raj opens his notebook on his lap and begins to write the dreaded notes about me.
“I honestly don’t know anymore. The person I thought I knew wasn’t the person who ended it. He was so cold with me, the person I knew was warm and gentle and made me feel safe. I think the person who ended it wanted to hurt me.
I don’t understand what I ever did that would make him hate me that much that he would want to hurt me like that. I’m not a bad person Doctor.
I can be difficult at times and I get caught up in the moment and get carried away. I throw my whole self into things I care about but I give more than I take. I would never intentionally hurt someone, I would never lie or try to trap them and that’s what hurts.
I want him to be happy, if he wasn’t happy with me I would have understood if he just took the time to talk to me and be honest about it. We were friends before anything else and that meant the world to me. I just couldn’t cope and the knife was there and I pressed and then the pain stopped. His voice left my head so I did it again and I was free.”
“So now we know why you hurt yourself. I need to explain again to you why you are here. You have been told this before but now you are ready to listen. You are in Sunnydale Hospital; you are here because you tried to kill yourself by slitting your wrists. You were found by your friend Anna. She hadn’t heard from you in a week and she was worried about you. She went to your house and found you in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. That was 3 weeks ago and you were in hospital up until 3 days ago. Anna has visited you every day; she is very worried about you. Do you remember any of what I just told you?”
His words hit me like a bucket of cold water to the face. I can’t have been in hospital for 3 weeks, I just can’t. Henry left 2 days ago. “You must be mistaken. Henry only left 2 days ago.”
“There is no mistake Lucy. Henry left you two months ago from what Anna has told us. She watched you for 2 weeks but then had to go on holiday when she got back you were a mess. I have asked Anna to come to see you today so she can talk to you about what happened. It will help you to realise.” At that we see Anna walking across the garden towards us.
As soon as she sees me she begins to cry and runs towards the car park. “Stay here Lucy, I will be right back.” Doctor Raj runs after Anna and I am left alone for the first time in the rose garden.
I can’t believe my best friend can’t even look at me. Seeing her run away was a shock, do I really look that bad? It sounds like I owe her my life. I must find a way to be a good friend to her again. I must get myself well and get out of here so I can go back to my life. That is if I still have a life to go back to.
I see Doctor Raj walking back towards me, his arm wrapped around Anna’s shoulders as she wipes her eyes with a tissue. “Hi.” Is all she can manage as she walks towards me.
I stand up and hug her as we both begin to cry once more. “I’m so sorry I put you through all this.” She pushes me away.
“Stop. You have nothing to apologise for. If anyone should be apologising its Henry. He’s the one that caused all this.” She sits down on the bench and dabs her eyes.
“Anna, I love you but you can’t blame all of this on Henry. I made mistakes too; I can be difficult to live with. You know how I need to be wrangled in sometimes. I was the one who couldn’t cope and I gave up on myself. You can’t blame Henry for that.” I sit next to her and hold her hand.
“I can and I do. He stripped you of everything you knew. He lied to you and cheated on you. He made you believe everything was ok. I saw you two together I saw the way he behaved. After you went into hospital I checked your phone and your emails. I saw all the messages he sent to you. I saw the way you were together.
How can someone be that nice and all the time be having an affair. He should have been honest with you the moment he knew things were over.
You always made allowances for him, everytime things went wrong you took all the blame. You never made him own up to his mistakes. You always made it easy on him and it allowed him to walk all over you. When I think of how I found you that day, it makes me sick to my stomach. If I had been any later you would have died.” She sits with her head in her hands and wails.
“I’m so sorry I put you through all this. It makes me feel awful.”
“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare take all this on yourself. Henry knew you struggled with depression, he knew how hard you would take this and he chose to end it the way he did. He doesn’t care about you, he never did. All he ever cared about was himself. He used you and when he got bored he threw you away and moved onto the next poor woman and I mean poor woman.
She is going to go through all of this just like you did, he is a child. He will get tired of her and hurt her and move onto the next one and the next and he will never once look back and think of you.
Yet here you are still trying to make allowances for him and his selfish behaviour. Yes, you made mistakes and yes sometimes you get carried away and need reigning in but you are one of the kindest and warm hearted people I have ever met.
You are the one who is there for everyone whether we ask for it or not. You always offer to help and rarely ask for anything in return. You didn’t deserve the way he treated you and you don’t deserve to be here.
I watched him strip you of everything you believed in. I tried to warn you that you would end up getting hurt but you saw something in him the rest of us didn’t. Sure he was handsome and at times he was good for you but he had a nasty streak too which you turned a blind eye to. You deserve so much better than him.” I pull her into a hug.
“I know you never understood my relationship with him. I never understood it either but it just always felt right. I know it wasn’t always as happy as I like to make out.
I know there were times when his behaviour frustrated me and I ended up making things worse. That frustration makes me anxious and I never felt like that before so it was all new to me but I trusted how he made me feel when things were good.
I believed him when he said I could trust him. In the beginning I said I didn’t want any regrets, I had enough, and I needed him to be completely honest and open. I needed to be able to trust him and I did, he promised me I could.
We made plans together, some things we did and some things we didn’t and I guess I got frustrated that they never happened. You know how important promises and honesty are to me.
I made such a mess of everything, I hurt myself and you and who knows who else because I couldn’t deal with letting him go. I will never understand what happened, why all of a sudden I was no longer good enough.
How he could carry on letting me think everything was ok? I’m never going to get those answers.
I need to find a way to forget all about him and that is hard to do. I need to find a new life where everything doesn’t remind me of him. New people to talk to, new places to go, new interests, anything so I don’t have to keep re-feeling his loss.”
“New football team?”
“Let’s not push it. I loved my team long before I even knew who he was. I will always feel close to him there.”
“What happens if you bump into him at a match?”
“I will smile and walk away. He ruined everything I knew to be true and made me doubt myself. He doesn’t get to take my football team away from me too. I saw it first!”
“That’s my girl. You know the thing that puzzled us all along?”
“No what’s that?”
“He is exactly the sort of guy you always warn us off of, yet he was the one you would have done anything for.
You have stopped us from making so many mistakes with guys by making us see the bad for our own good, yet you couldn’t see the bad in him. We never understood why. We never saw what you saw in him. It wasn’t as if he was the usual guy you were attracted to. But together you just seemed to fit.
We loved the way he made you glow with happiness but we should have protected you when things went wrong like you protect us and we didn’t. We should have tried harder to make you see the way he treated you at times was wrong and you didn’t deserve it. It was when things started to go wrong between you that your depression started to creep back.
He would start to push you away and you would start to lose your glow and things would get worse. We kept expecting him to end it and walk away but instead you would make up. We never understood why, he clearly wanted you around but then he got bored and pushed you away again.
It was enough to drive anyone mad. I wish you had told me how bad it had gotten for you, I would never have left you and then you wouldn’t have ended up in here.”
“Me being in here is not your fault. I would never have told anyone how bad it had gotten.
I wasn’t sleeping because every time I tried my mind would be full of the happy times between us and the way things ended. I spent hour after hour reading old messages, looking for some sign that he was unhappy and I couldn’t find one. It was obviously just me.
I felt as though I wasn’t good enough and if I wasn’t good enough for him then why would I be good enough for anyone else?
He saw me as a manipulative liar so maybe everyone else did and you were all humouring me. He knew I would hate myself and blame myself and I would let him think it wasn’t his fault. What good would it do? He stopped seeing me and saw the person he needed me to be to make it easier for him to walk away.
He found someone new and exciting and I can’t compete with that. I shouldn’t have to, I don’t want to compete. I wanted him to be there because he wanted to be and I thought he was, he let me believe he was.
He lied to me, maybe not outright lies all the time but a lie by omission is still a lie. Yet a part of me knows I will always miss him.
He used to make me laugh so much, just seeing his name on my phone made me smile. I remember once telling him how much I light up when he messages me and he said he knew, I loved that. No one will ever make me feel the way he did.
He doesn’t need me now and I can’t allow myself to believe he does when he clearly never did. I can’t let myself believe I meant something to him when he found it so easy to let go everything we once had.
I can’t forgive him for letting me believe everything was ok when it wasn’t and then blaming me for not knowing things had changed. He will never understand that he hurt me and explaining it won’t change anything, not that I will get the chance.
I guess knowing he is with someone else when I miss him hurts but a small part of that is jealousy. I’ve never been a jealous person but knowing he is making someone happy like he once did me, makes me feel things I never did before. I’ve become the sort of person I always wanted to avoid, I don’t even know who I am anymore.” I pull down the sleeves of the jacket to cover my bandages, a constant reminder of the fact I couldn’t cope.
“I know exactly who you are. You are my beautiful friend. The grown woman who still jumps in puddles when it rains.
The person who tells crap jokes to make me laugh. The one who tries to be funny and fails and carries on trying to make you laugh anyway, even when it’s got awkward, just because you like to make people smile.
The one who is always recommending books and films to everyone. The person who is up for anything, as long as it means you can get out the house.
The person who will try anything once or hold your coat while you do. The person I can tell anything and know you won’t judge me and will try to understand.
The person who would do anything for me if I asked. The person who hurts when I hurt and cries when I cry. The person who told my useless boyfriends to step up or ship out before they hurt me. The person I come to with all my problems and the first person I call with my good news.
You are my rock and although in some ways we are so different, in others we are so alike. But most of all you are the person I would miss the most if you weren’t here and I am so glad I got to you in time.”
“Me too and you know most of that goes for me too. You should really try the jumping in puddles thing, it’s fun! Dancing in the rain with someone you love who then carries you to bed and manhandles you all night is also an experience I can highly recommend!”
“I thought we weren’t thinking about H anymore?”
“Oh if only you knew. You always wondered what I saw in him but when it was just the two of us it was magical. I realise no one will ever understand it but there was a connection between us neither of us understood. It was just right. I just wish I could have held onto it and not gotten so carried away. Maybe if it stayed fun more he would have stuck around. I never saw it ending. I always thought we would be friends but it wasn’t meant to be and I have all this time I used to spend on him to fill.”
“So find someone else. Someone worthy of you who will appreciate you and be open and honest and not mess you around and hurt you. You deserve to be happy. I’ll help you find someone.”
“You can’t even find someone for yourself, how are you going to help me?” I nudge her and laugh.
“Well that’s because I’ve always looked for the perfect man. But you, you never looked for anyone. You make friends with people and accept people for who they are and embrace our uniqueness and you don’t look for perfect.”
“Well like I always tell you, perfect doesn’t exist and fun is hidden in the messy bits. As much as I hate arguing with people when I argued with Henry it meant that we were at least trying to fix things.
You don’t argue with someone you don’t care for. We never had blazing rows, we would get frustrated with each other talk it over and end up better than ever. It would clear the air and we’d become closer until the next time we started to grow apart again.
In all honesty the upheaval was exhausting. I never understood why we couldn’t just be happy all the time. We were good when we were happy. But I guess I’ll never know.
What I do know is he wasn’t happy and he left and the likelihood of ever seeing or speaking to him again is remote. The friendship and connection I thought we shared has gone and he’s moved on, he doesn’t need me he has someone new.
I need to find my something new. I don’t want that to be someone new. I don’t want to be this person I’m turning into I want my old self back. I know if I go back to the person he first loved it won’t bring him back, but at least if I find myself again I can be happy.
I don’t have the energy to start over again with anyone new. I don’t want to explain to them that I got dumped and scarred myself for life. I don’t want to have to tell them about the darkness inside me. Who will ever want to deal with that?
Maybe when the scars fade and I’m back to myself, maybe then I can consider letting people in again but right now the only thing I can do is be me and forget everything else.”
“Well you girls look like you had a long talk. It’s time for Lucy to rest now.” Doctor Raj is back to walk me inside.
“Ok trouble, well I will be back tomorrow so you look after yourself until then. I might bring some of the others if you’re up to it. They are dying to see you.”
“Oi, who you calling trouble, you’re trouble yourself. You can bring who you like. It’ll be nice to see people again and I need to apologise to everyone for what I did.” I hug Anna tightly.
“We’ve been through this, no more apologies. We all love you and no one is blaming you. We all want you to be better and come back to us so we can have fun again and put this phase of our lives long behind us. We thought we would plan a girl’s trip away somewhere. Anywhere you fancy.”
“Ok, thanks. We’ll pick somewhere fun, I could use a break. Oh and promise me one thing?”
“Promise me none of you will treat me like some sort of delicate flower. I don’t need protecting. I had a break and I need time to heal but I’m still me. I still need honesty like I always did. So if someone has something they need to say, tell them to say it and not bottle it up. I’ve had enough lies. I don’t like things being left unsaid and building up to bigger things when they don’t need to be. So tell everyone if they come to see me, do it cause they want to. If they have anything to say, say it so we can all move on. I don’t want people here because they think they should be here. I don’t need platitudes and pity, I just need my friends.”
“We are your friends and we aren’t pitying you. I will tell them but honestly I still can’t believe after all this time you doubt us. I know you have issues with trusting people and letting people get close to you. I know how much you have been hurt and what losing Karl did to you. But you know you can trust us and we are here because believe it or not even though you are a massive dork you’re our dork and we love you. Now give me a hug and get some bloody rest you nutter.” As soon as the word leaves her mouth the shocked expression forms on her face.
Nutter, I know she didn’t mean it. I know we both know I’m not that bad but right now I can’t laugh, I hurt too much but she is my friend so I laugh and hug her “Too soon.” I whisper in her ear and she knows she is forgiven. I watch her walk back to the car and hope she doesn’t beat herself up about a silly remark, we have teased each other for too long to let something like that come between us.
Doctor Raj walks me back to my room. “You’ve had a long day huh? Do you think you are ready to start healing now?”
“Yeah I can’t keep going on like this. I’ve hurt too many people and I need to make amends. I need to find myself again.”
“So tomorrow we start a fresh? We get to the bottom of what is hurting you and we begin to deal with it so you can go home. You are clearly loved and missed and I overheard talk of a holiday so that will be fun. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” He turns to leave the room as I sit on the bed. “Doctor.”
“Yes my Dear.”
“Thank you, for everything.”
“It is a pleasure. Now get some rest and no more worrying. Tomorrow is the start of a good day.”
He leaves the room and I sit staring at the wall, trying to make sense of all that I learned. I feel overwhelmed and numb at the same time. I have no energy left to fight. I lie back on the bed and close my eyes, praying that when I do Henry won’t be waiting for me.
“My eyes adored you, though I never laid a hand on you, my eyes adored you.”
“Henry, not now. You can’t keep doing this to me.”
“What? You always loved my Frankie Valli impression and you love that song.”
“Yes I do but you aren’t here. You left me remember. You have to leave me alone. I can’t keep talking to you as if nothing happened when I know that something did. You’re killing me Henry and I can’t bear it. Now leave and don’t come back.”
I close my mind but the song still plays. A tear runs down my cheek.
He had a lovely voice and he never knew why I loved him singing that song so much. It reminded me of the beginning, when I began to trust him and open up to him. My eyes really did adore him, everything about him and we hadn’t touched. Well not like lovers anyway as friends we were always tactile. Slapping each other, nudging each other, kiss on the cheek hello or goodbye, hugs and even holding hands on occasion, we were just playful with each other. I guess that’s why it was so easy for it to become more. It wasn’t an effort, it just happened. The more we knew about each other the more we wanted to spend time together. But it’s all over now.
Sleep finally takes me.
I wake the next morning feeling refreshed. For the first time in a long time Henry isn’t my first thought. His voice isn’t in my head. I can’t smell his warm skin lying next to me in bed. That special smell that is everything and nothing all at once. I always said I loved how he smelled and he always laughed and said the name of whatever aftershave he was wearing but I’d always say “No just Henry.” They say you are attracted to someone’s pheromones on a subconscious level.
Someone has left my clothes for the day on the chair in the corner. I long to be at home, looking for my own clothes and showering in privacy. I still can’t get used to someone listening to me peeing. I need privacy for my morning functions, not an audience. Until Henry I never even enjoyed sharing a shower or bath with someone but he changed all that. He changed me in mostly good ways but some not so good.
“Morning Lucy, time for your shower.” Nurse Jane pulls back my bed covers and helps me stand. I always feel weak in the mornings now. I guess its low blood sugar.
We have an uneventful shower and I’m allowed to dry and dress myself unaided. I mean really I’m a grown woman.
“You can have breakfast in the group room this morning Lucy. After that Doctor Raj will see you. Come down when you have finished dressing and don’t forget to wear your shoes.” Nurse Jane smiles and leaves me be.
I pull on the tatty clothes and sit and brush my hair in the mirror. For the first time in a long time I see myself staring back. I am shocked at how old I look. The dark circles under my eyes from crying and my cheek bones prominent from lack of food. I look down at my body and see the curves I once loved have been replaced by bones.
They weren’t lying, I am too thin. How did I let myself get like this?
I walk to the group room, forcing a smile for the people I pass. At the doorway I stop, unable to walk in. The room is full of people I’ve yet to meet and I have no confidence left. Just as I think about walking away a voice pops up behind me. “It’s ok Lucy. You can do this. One foot in front of the other and you are there.” It’s Anna’s voice but when I turn she isn’t there. I can’t let her down again. I muster all my energy and walk into the room taking the only spare seat left at the table.
“Morning, you must be Lucy. I’m James and don’t worry I’m not going to ask you what you’re in for.” The guy next to me breaks the ice and I feel more at ease.
“How did you know my name?”
“I’m your ‘buddy’. They told me to expect you today. We all have a buddy in here, someone to talk to. They thought we would get on. Perhaps if we met under better circumstances we would, but the thought of finding a friend in here is just a little off putting for me. No offence. I’m just not in a place where I have anything to offer right now. Normally I’m a nice guy, I just need a break right now. But I’m happy to chat if you want, but can we just stay away from the ‘how are you feeling’ conversations, I’m over them. What do you say?”
“I say you read my mind. I don’t have anything to offer either. So why did they think we would get on so well?”
“Something to do with this I think. The Nurse mentioned if after she saw it.” James rolls up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of the Chelsea FC badge.
“Ahh so you’re a blue! Yeah I think we’ll get on all right.” I nudge him in the rib and begin eating the lumpy food in front of me.
“Lucy time to see the Doctor now. You can talk to James later.” Nurse Jane comes to walk me to my appointment. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to walk around on my own without being followed.
“Good morning Lucy.” Doctor Raj says as I walk into his office. “I thought we would walk in the gardens again today if that is ok with you? So much nicer talking in the clean air than this stuffy office don’t you think?”
“Fine with me.” I’m glad we will be outside, being inside all the time is making me claustrophobic and I enjoy feeling the air on my skin.
As we walk Doctor Raj ponders before asking “Where would you like to start today? Can you tell me about how you and Henry met?”
I almost don’t want to remember but as soon as I do my face erupts into a smile. Where Henry is concerned I always have involuntary emotional outbursts, usually beaming smiles sometimes painful tears.
“We met through a friend. He was just there at the pub one day and we happened to sit next to each other. We talked and laughed for hours over football and life. By the end of the night we had swapped numbers and were in contact on a regular basis.
I’d never met someone I connected with so quickly. It wasn’t an instant physical attraction, that came much later, but the minute I met him I knew I wanted him in my life. Our friendship became an important part of my life and the more I knew about him the more I saw the attraction in him.
I was so scared of showing my emotions because I didn’t want to lose my friend, he was a bit younger and loved playing the girls. So I doubted he’d be relationship material and I was happy with that as long as we were friends. I just couldn’t bear the thought of not having him around. A day of not talking to him felt like a lifetime.
We could talk for hours about pretty much nothing and not get bored. We’d tease each other all the time and make plans I never really thought would happen. But occasionally he would make a promise and that I always believed.” I stop and sit on the bench. Promises mean so much to me, hearing them come from him meant so much, seeing them never happen hurt so deeply.
“Do you want a break?”
“No, can we just continue. I want this to all be over.”
“Ok. So you started out as friends, then you became more?”
“Yeah, it just happened. It wasn’t what either of us were expecting but it felt right and I didn’t want to wonder any longer. I had felt us getting closer and I loved the direction we were heading. But I was scared.
I don’t trust people easily and letting someone in as a friend is much easier than letting someone in as more than that. I told him right from the start I didn’t want to regret anything and I needed to be able to trust him as I didn’t want to lose our friendship. He told me I could trust him because we were in it together and I believed him.
It was just so natural and it just happened. I’d never experienced anything like it before. It scared and excited me at the same time. I never wanted it to end. We moved our friendship on together and it was great, we were open and honest and we talked and laughed and loved and it was amazing.”
“It sounds like you were both very happy.”
“We were, or at least I thought we were. He started to pull away and I didn’t know why. He wouldn’t talk to me about it. He’d be distant for days and then it would be like he never went away. I assumed he found someone else. I kept expecting him to leave me, to find someone younger.
He made no promises that it would solely be me and him, right from the start and I accepted that because I wanted him in my life. That and I could see he wasn’t ready for a relationship.
But I sensed that one day he might be and I was prepared to wait and see what happened. Because in truth I never met anyone who made me feel like he did and I knew it was worth the effort.
It wasn’t like I cut off all other options. I never kidded myself that he was going to fall in love with me. I looked for other guys but it just wasn’t the same. They didn’t make me feel the same and I didn’t want to settle for less once I knew how good it could be. So I didn’t let anything else get serious.”
“So you were dating Henry and other men at the same time?”
“I was never really dating Henry. We never put a label on what we were. I didn’t need a label. We just did what felt right, when we felt like it. I never expected anything from him. In truth I always expected him to leave.
Things got rough a couple of times between us when he pulled away and I didn’t know what we were anymore. When it happened I always expected him to walk away and not come back but he never did. I always trusted him to be honest with me and just tell me when he met someone. I could dealt with that, as long as I still had my friend.”
“Ok, so you mentioned him pushing you away. Can you tell me how that made you feel?”
“We’d get close, have fun and things would be good but then he’d start taking longer to reply to my messages or cancel our meeting. So I’d wonder if he was busy with work and tell myself he’ll get back to me when he can. He always said he didn’t ignore my messages.
But the longer it took to reply the louder the voice in my head got. The one that said he’d found someone else and he had forgotten about me. I hated it, I never wanted to believe it, he never really gave me a reason to, but every time he pushed me away it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him.
I guess the fact I knew from the beginning that I was never going to be enough for him played on my mind. I suppose a part of me was jealous that someone else was getting the part of him that I adored so much too. But I saw him with other girls and it was never quite the same as it was with me.
I’d begin to doubt him when he called me beautiful and sexy because I knew he was saying it to other women too. I’d wonder when he sent me photo’s how many other women had seen them. When we had to cancel our meetings I’d feel like it was because he had a better offer.”
“Did you ever talk to him about how you felt.”
“I tried but he never wanted to understand. He tried sometimes but it would always end up in a argument but we always fixed things. No matter how bad things got between us, we always found a way back. But we could never seem to stay in that place.
I guess after a while each time it happens you lose a little bit of what you had. I had a bad experience with some medication, it made me depressed and he couldn’t cope with it. He bore the brunt of all my frustration.
I needed my friend, I needed him to be playful and hug me and tell me it was all ok. I needed him to make the demons go away but he had his own stuff going on and he didn’t have the time to help me too. I lost him after that.
We were never as close, never as playful but we still had fun. I longed to get back to what we were but the novelty of the beginning had worn off. I felt like he couldn’t forgive me for getting ill and as much as I wanted us to get back to what we were, if he couldn’t forgive me it was never going to happen.”
“How often did you see or talk to Henry?”
“In the beginning we spoke every day, all through the day and night, messages and phone calls, ongoing jokes and teasing. We’d see each other a couple of times a month.
When things changed and we became closer we’d talk until the early hours of the morning and I’d wake up to good morning messages. He’d stay at my house a couple of times a week. We’d go out at least once a week and we still talked daily.
If he was seeing someone we’d see each other less but still talk every day. But then as time wore on we saw each other less and spent more time talking via messages. We were both busy with work and I knew he met someone he liked again.”
“Can you tell me about the demons?”
“After we lost Karl I promised myself I wouldn’t get close to anyone again. I didn’t want to love someone for them to leave me again. I didn’t think I could ever cope with loosing someone else I loved. So I pushed people away when they got too close. I hid myself away for a long time. But then I decided I needed to get out there. So I started to learn to trust people.
The first guy I trusted was already with someone when I met him. So I never told him how I felt, he knew but I’d never say the words. So when I met Henry I didn’t want to make the same mistakes. I didn’t want to let someone else I liked get away because I was too scared to try and make it work. Something about him never made me want to say no. His love for life was infectious and I just wanted to be a part of it.
He brought sunshine into my life and chased the darkness and demons away and I was happier than I had ever been. But then he’d leave and the darkness would creep back and I forgot how to stop it myself. Without the sunshine the darkness started to win. I started to lose myself and I can’t really blame Henry for that, even if he did contribute to it I should have handled it better.”
“So how did you cope with getting over the depression or the darkness as you call it?”
“I went to ask for help. We had a big fight, he said some horrible things. I hurt him and he lashed out to hurt me back. I was falling into a bad place and I wasn’t myself. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t realise it had got so bad and then he just cut me off.
I woke up the next day and I was scared. I reached out to a friend but they were busy, they were having their own problems and I couldn’t lean on them. Nothing anyone could say would help anyway. One day I just couldn’t stop crying. Everything hurt, I missed my friend.
I didn’t want to do anything, I was cranky at work and wanted to leave but I didn’t know what to do Everything just felt like it was crushing me. The hurt, the confusion, the loss so I rang the Doctor and they gave me a course of therapy. It helped but I had to force myself to remember to do the exercises. Things got better. I came back, slowly but surely.”
“So where was Henry when you were getting therapy?”
“I didn’t hear from him. He cut me off. I reached out to him the day I couldn’t stop crying, I was so hurt and angry but it made it worse. He never responded, I can’t blame him. When he left this time I re-read all our messages and what I wrote that day was horrible to read. But it was honest at the time of how I felt and it wasn’t meant to hurt him.
He just didn’t want to deal with it. The fun person he loved spending time with wasn’t there anymore and instead there was a horrible person who hurt him. Why would he want to spend time with that?”
“But you got back together?”
“Then one day he messaged me that he wanted to meet. I’d done the first course of therapy and was just starting to sleep when it stirred it all up again. I could hear how hurt he was in his words. I tried to explain and make it better but he didn’t want to listen.
We had a long talk, I told him about the therapy and we decided to just be friends. It was good, but it wasn’t the same. He didn’t trust me and he held back. But we slipped into being more again.
We had a argument one night, it was something and nothing. I was frustrated at him as I was trying to talk to him and he was being evasive, it was annoying. I asked him what we were doing, one minute we are friends the next we are more and then back to friends on a never ending roundabout.
We never gave us a proper chance so we agreed to try. He said he would stop seeing other women and give us a proper chance and I thought that was what we were doing.”
“So how did it end?”
“At first things were good. We both made an effort. But then he became distant again. I suspected he met someone but he always promised to be honest with me about that. I said all along I didn’t mind his need to see other women but I wanted to know when he was, so I knew not to expect too much from him.
Something felt wrong but when we were together it was good and there was no indication that he was unhappy. It was just a gut feeling in my stomach. He was saying and doing all the right things.
Then I met him after his trip and saw him with the other woman and I realised in that moment that my gut had been right. The fact he chose to lead me on and let me think nothing was wrong when he could have just been honest hurt.
Then when he said he never wanted to be in a relationship with me and he only went along with it because he felt he couldn’t say no, I was lost. All the good times we had together became a lie in that moment. I couldn’t trust anything that happened between us.
All the beautiful things he’d said to me, the places we’d been and the things we did together became a lie. A big part of my life over the last few years became a lie. I couldn’t believe after everything I thought we were to each other he could hate me that much to want to hurt me like that.”
“So how did it make you feel?”
“Betrayed, worthless, angry, confused, scared, emotionally drained, and lost, unhappy, tired, frustrated and generally just hurt.”
“Why do you think you felt like that?”
“Because after everything, all the time we spent getting to know each other, when it came down to it I meant nothing to him. He thought nothing about hurting me. He knew finding out about the other woman would hurt me. He could have been honest about it. He could have talked to me about it and how he was feeling but he chose to let me believe there was nothing wrong and that we were happy. He chose to hurt me.
All of this time I thought we had this amazing friendship, it wasn’t perfect. Neither of us are perfect, I said and did things I’m not proud of and wish I could change but I never intentionally hurt him. I could never do that to him. I was shocked he could do that to me.
The person I saw that day, wasn’t the person I had gotten to know, who brought sunshine into my life. It made me question everything, I started seeing things differently.
Reading old messages, looking for signs that he was unhappy but I couldn’t find them. I saw where things had gone wrong in the past and how we always came back from that. But knowing we would never come back from this I just couldn’t cope.
I wanted a way out and the knife just seemed easiest. I was fed up with leaning on my friends. After he pushed me away the first time they told me to walk away and that he wasn’t worthy of me. They never understood why I was happy to be a bit part player in his game instead of being someone’s everything. But then they never saw how we were when it was just me and him and no one else. The way he spoke to me then.”
“Doctor Raj, you have a visitor.” Nurse Jane interrupts us.
“Is it important Jane? We were just having a nice chat.” He pats me on the leg.
“Yes, I’m sorry, I wouldn’t have interrupted you if it wasn’t. I do apologise Lucy. Maybe I can take Lucy and get her some lunch while you speak to the visitor.”
“Ok, that sounds like a plan. I will see you after lunch Lucy. Is that ok?”
“Yes, I could use a break anyway.”
Nurse Jane leads me back to the group room and I sit and wait for curled up sandwiches and stewed tea.
“Hello, I’m Doctor Raj, you wanted to speak with me?” Doctor Raj holds out his hand to greet the man in the hallway outside his office.
“Henry Callahan, I’m Lucy’s err friend I guess you could call it.”
“Ok, Henry I think you should come into my office. It wouldn’t be good for Lucy to see you out here.” Doctor Raj leads him into the office, offering him a seat.
“What can I do for you Henry. I can’t discuss my patients with anyone I am afraid.”
“I just need to know she is ok. I didn’t know about any of this. If I had I…”
“What would you have done Henry?”
“I would have… It would have been… I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking past what I wanted. I only just found out, as you can see by my face. I bumped into some mutual friends who were none too pleased with me. I never wanted it to end like this. I just panicked and didn’t know what to do. I handled it so badly but I didn’t think she would take it so hard. She’d been off with me for a while. I thought things were coming to an end for her too. I didn’t realise how much she cared about me. I never thought she would try to… well you know.”
“Take her own life?”
“Henry, from what Lucy has told me you were aware that she suffered from depression in the past. People who suffer from depression are never completely cured of it. It is always there. They learn to live with it and develop coping mechanisms but when things happen they often don’t react in the same way other people might.
From what I can see Lucy is an emotional person, she feels deeply about things. She reacted in the way she needed to, you can’t blame yourself for that. If you think you could and should have done things differently then that is for you to work through. What was your motive for coming here today?”
“I… wanted to see Lucy.”
“Why do you want to see Lucy?”
“I want to tell her I’m sorry. I want to apologise for hurting her. I miss her. I don’t know if she will ever forgive me or if she wants to see me but when I heard about what happened I couldn’t stay away. Even if she never speaks to me again. I had to come here and find out.”
“I don’t think it is a good idea for you to meet with Lucy. She is in a fragile state at the moment, seeing you will set her back in her recovery. I have just managed to get her to open up. She has begun the first step to getting out of here and back to her life and it would be wrong of me to let you see her now. Even informing her you were here would be the wrong thing to do. I hope you understand, my priority is Lucy’s wellbeing.”
“I do understand. Believe me I don’t want to hurt her. Well anymore than I already have. I can’t believe things ended up in such a mess. I don’t know why they did. I just… blamed her for ruining what we had and I couldn’t let her in again. I know she didn’t mean to but she hurt me, she explained about getting ill.
A part of me held onto that, even though I said I didn’t. It just built up and everything she did began to annoy me. Even though a part of me she wanted her.
I met Naya and things with her were fun. I started to forget about Lucy. Then Lucy would message me and I’d get angry seeing her wanting my attention. She wanted me to save her and I didn’t know how. I just wanted her to be my Lucy. The girl who made me laugh, but she kept being real and I wasn’t ready for real.”
“I never asked you to save me. I just asked you to be there because you wanted to be.” I don’t know what made me walk down the corridor to that toilet, at the moment but as I neared Doctor Raj’s door I thought I smelt Henry. I listened at the door as he talked about me until I couldn’t wait any longer.
“Luce” Was all Henry managed before I ran out the door, tears streaming down my face. The look on his face of shock, disgust and horror. The cuts and bruises on that beautiful face, hearing his voice, smelling him, it was all too much I had to run. I turned at the end of the corridor to see Doctor Raj running after me.
I ran outside into the garden and looked in the window to see Henry sitting in the chair with his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking as if he was crying and my heart lurched. I wanted to comfort him. I wanted him to be ok but then I remembered where I was. I turned and ran into the rose tunnel and kept running until my lungs burned so much I fell to the floor. Shortly after an out of breath Doctor Raj flopped to the floor beside me.
“Oh my, I really am quite out of shape.” He said fighting for his breaths. “I’m sorry you had to see Henry. The Nurses should have been more aware and kept you apart. Can you tell me how you are feeling now you have seen him?”
“The look on his face Doctor Raj, the way he looked at me.” My breathing is stabilising as I pull my knees to my chest and begin to cry.
“I think you gave Henry a bit of a shock. He has only just been told about what happened with you. He came here today to speak with you. I was just explaining to him it wasn’t a good idea for you to see each other. When the door flies open and there you are.”
“What happened to his face?”
“He said something about meeting one of your friends yesterday.”
“Oh. They didn’t need to do that. Is he going to be ok Doctor?” Even now all I can think about is him.
“I am more worried about you. Henry is a big boy, he can look after himself. Your health and well being is my priority. I need to know you are ok Lucy. We need to talk about this.”
“Doctor Raj, if you want me to talk then you need to go and check on Henry first. I can’t talk to you knowing he is upset. Please, go talk to him. Explain to him that this isn’t his fault, me being in here. Tell him that I don’t blame him and that I don’t hate him for what he did. Tell him I didn’t ask them to hurt him. I would never do that to him. Please Doctor. If you do that then I can talk to you again. I will wait on the garden bench for you.”
“Ok Lucy. I am going to trust you. I will talk to Henry as you ask but I am going to trust that you will wait for me and not run off again. Do we understand each other? I want to trust you Lucy.”
“You can trust me, I promise and I never break a promise.”
“Oh Doctor it’s you, is she ok? The Nurse told me to stay here and wait. I’ve been going out my mind. Is she ok?”
“Sit down Henry, take deep breaths, and drink the water. Lucy is ok for now. She wanted me to come and speak to you before I talk to her again. So just sit and get your breath back and we will talk.”
“Typical Lucy, she’s here, in this place and after everything I did she is still worried about me. I just, I don’t know how to deal with that. I’ve never met anyone like her before. The way she always asks questions about me and what I’ve been up to and checks on me and wants to help and is just there all the time I found it stifling. When she wasn’t there I missed it.
I know she has feelings for me, I just didn’t know what to do with them. I don’t think I can be the person she wants me to be and I hate it. I want to be that for her but I just can’t. I don’t know how and the way she makes me feel scares me. I never understood the connection I had with her.
Things got so messed up and then they were good but that just got tiring going backwards and forwards. I know she hated it too.
But seeing her like that, so thin and so vulnerable. It made me feel sick to see her like that. To know that I did that to her.” Henry breaks down into tears.
“Henry, she wanted me to make it clear to you that she doesn’t hate you nor does she blame you for what happened to her. She wanted me to make sure you knew that. Do you understand?”
“Tell her I’m sorry I’m so so sorry. I just don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t believe I almost lost her for good. Doctor, please help her. Please bring my Lucy back. Even if she is never my Lucy again please bring her back. I’ll do anything for her. Anything she needs, money, anything just get her well again.”
“Henry, Lucy’s illness is not something that money can fix. She needs to be surrounded by people who love her and who remind her of who she was. Right now you are part of what made her unwell so we can’t have you influencing her now. Do you understand me?
If you care about Lucy you need to stay away from her. If you wish I will inform you when she leaves here, if she agrees. Write your contact details on here. But other than that there is nothing more I can do. As I said I can’t discuss Lucy with you. I can’t let you back into her life without her permission, which she is not in a position to grant.”
“I understand Doctor, I promise I will stay away. I owe her that, I owe her a lot more but if staying away is all I can do then it’s done.”
“Henry, might I make a suggestion?”
“Seek someone to talk to. Work out what you want and how you feel about what happened. If Lucy means as much to you as you say then she isn’t the only one who needs help processing what happened between you. There is no shame in asking for help. You both seem like good kids. I would hate for you to both end up in cycles where you hurt people and move on without addressing the things that hurt you. Do you understand what I am saying to you?”
“Yes Doctor, I think I understand. I will find someone to talk to for Lucy.” Doctor Raj smiles.
“You know it’s funny. She refers to you as ‘her Henry’ and you asked me to bring back ‘you’re Lucy’ and yet it took you both getting into a complete mess for you to want to talk to each other. Perhaps if you two had talked more instead of avoiding your issues then all of this could have been avoided. Just something to think about.” Doctor Raj shows Henry to the door and they shake hands.
“I know Doctor, I know.”
Doctor Raj joins me in the garden again. Nurse Jane has been keeping me company and filling me with glasses of milk and cookies.
“You were gone a long time, is Henry ok now?”
“Yes my dear, Henry will be ok. He is going to find someone to speak to. He wanted to apologise to you for being shocked. Now we need to return our thoughts to you and your well being. So I want you to tell me how you feel now you have seen Henry again?” I breathe a sigh of relief.
“I don’t know how I feel. Hearing what he said about me wanting him to save me. I never wanted that. I know no-one but me can save me. All I ever wanted was for him to be him. I loved him for who he was and the things he brought to my life.
The person who ended things wasn’t that guy. He was cold and hurtful. He didn’t care about me at all. He was just thinking about himself and what made it worse he blamed me for everything. It really wasn’t my fault.
Everything we did we did together, most of it he lead and I followed. Some of it I didn’t like and I made allowances for, because when it was good it was worth it. But he stopped and started so much I began to be constantly wondering if he’d be there or not.
I couldn’t go on with the frustration anymore. A part of me knew I was losing him, he was leaving me but nothing I tried made any difference. I started to change and become a person I didn’t like and he started to hate me.
All I wanted us to do was talk and work through whatever it was that was bugging him. I never thought that is was someone else. I could usually tell but I had no clue this time.
He’d just finished telling me how good we were together when the next time we talked he was cold and talking about ending it. Then he changed his mind again and said it was ok we could carry on and then I met him for lunch as she was there.
None of my friends knew about what else was happening between us. They only know about the lunch meeting. I stopped telling them about us after I got depressed the first time.
He didn’t like being talked about and they thought I could do better and didn’t understand why he was so important to me. They kept telling me I give him everything he wants and ignore what I want and make excuses for why he can’t give me what I deserve. I was so tired of hearing it that I just stopped talking about it.
From the minute I met him I imagined us being friends for a long time. Had I known how things would have gone I would never have ruined what we had. I’ll never understand why we couldn’t make it work, it was all I wanted for us to really try but the fact is he didn’t want it.”
“So how do you feel now?”
“Seeing him today stirred it all up again. I wanted to hold him and make everything ok like I always did. I guess I always will. He just has that effect on me.
No matter how much he hurts me or how much I wish things were different, I know I could never really hate him or fully blame him. I took my share of the blame for what happened, but he never wanted to take his share. He’d just say he did nothing wrong and blame me and I didn’t deserve that.
So whilst I will always miss him and what he brought to my life, right now I don’t know who he is anymore. I always thought we would find our way back to each other, and that he would miss me and we would fix things but I don’t know if we can.
He’s never going to want to put in that effort. We can’t get back what we had. I don’t want that back. I stupidly believed I meant something to him and finding out I didn’t will always hurt.
I wasn’t always the best person I could be and I made mistakes but I deserved more than I got. I guess it’s my own fault. I knew from the beginning he didn’t want a relationship with just me, he wasn’t ready for that.
But the way he spoke he always lead me to believe he cared and I guess I thought that if I just carried on being me and we kept having fun, one day he might be ready. He always left things open. Even when we fought he would always turn it straight around again.
He would never say it was completely over, he said he needed a break and in the future things might be different. He never said he didn’t want a relationship with me, all he ever said was he didn’t want that right now.
I guess when I looked back I just saw all the false hope I’d been fed. I just wish he had never let me think we could have a chance.
I wish he’d said he didn’t like me and stuck to it if that was truly what he felt. I wish we’d never gotten close like that. But I can’t undo the things that have been said and done.”
“No, you can’t and now you have told me everything I need you to look to the future. I need you to stop thinking about the past. Henry is no longer a part of your life and we need to find a way for you to cope with that. So tell me where do you see yourself in a year?”
“I hate questions like that. I don’t look at life like that. I look at today and tomorrow. I want to be open to experiences and not ignore chances because they don’t fit into some misguided idea of a life plan.
That was why I took the chance with Henry in the end. I didn’t want to look back and wonder what would have happened if I’d said no. I didn’t expect to have feelings for him or for what happened between us to be so good but it happened.
In time I’m sure I will be glad it did. To know someone is out there that can make you feel that good, is a nice thing to know. Knowing they are out there making someone else feel that good whilst your miserable, not so nice. But hey, I just hope they are appreciating him and he is sticking to his promise.”
“What promise is that?”
“Oh, I jokingly made him promise not to let any of his girlfriends change him. I’ve watched my friends try to change their boyfriends instead of just appreciating them for who they are. I didn’t want that to happen to him.
I never met anyone like him and the thought of someone trying to change the annoying bits about him made me angry. Because without the annoying bits you might not realise how good the amazing bits were.
He was the first person to tell me he liked me just the way I am. Even my best friends have things they would change about me. He never wanted to change anything. I wouldn’t have changed anything about him either. In the end he ended up changing me anyway. I just wish I knew how to remain.”
“Remain? What do you mean?”
“I want to know how to remain myself. How to stop losing myself in other people’s words and ideas of me.
Sometimes the way Henry spoke to me just made me feel so worthless and it felt like he was comparing me to someone else. I hated that. I never wanted to lose sight of myself or to let someone tear me down like that but I couldn’t stop myself.
I want to remain who I am. I was happy with that person. I knew where I stood and what I wanted.
I let someone else in and they didn’t always tell me what they wanted or make it clear where I stood and that drove me crazy. You can’t be spontaneous with someone if they aren’t in the moment with you. You can’t make plans with someone who doesn’t want to commit. You never know where you stand when someone keeps changing their mind. So I struggled to remain happy. I’m tired of that now.
I’m tired of letting people in and them hurting me. I can’t take it anymore. It’s just too hard. I put everything I had into me and Henry and he threw it away. Now I have to fight the darkness all over again and I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of being the one who gets depressed. While the people who hurt me walk away and are happy. I’m sick of being the stepping stone to better things, when do I get to be the best thing?
When does someone get to look at me and see I am enough. I’m not perfect but I’m here and I will do almost anything for the people that I care about. When does it get to be my time?
I’m so sick of being the last one to find someone. All of my friends are married and have kids. I just wanted someone to care, a little bit and he did. He said he didn’t at the end, but he did, I was never going to be good enough and it made me tired.
I just want to leave here and go home and try to find my life again. The one I had before I met him. I was still alone but at least I didn’t realise then I was lonely. This time I can try new things again. But I’m never letting anyone get close again, not like that.”
“If you close your heart to people then how will you know if you have met the person you are supposed to be with? I don’t think that is a healthy attitude to take.”
“My soul mate died when I was small. I thought I found someone I loved but he was never going to leave his partner. Even though I could tell he wasn’t completely happy.
Then I met someone who I connected with on a level I never had before and I couldn’t make it work. I’m clearly not cut out for being in relationships.
I just don’t have what it takes to make another person happy. I struggle to keep myself happy. I need to keep things small. I need to stop trying to be there for everyone and just focus on myself. I need to figure out what I want and make a life for myself and stop believing I will ever mean anything to anyone else.”
“Lucy, I have seen people visit you here and to them you mean a great deal. I don’t know you well but I can see you are deeply loved. From what you have told me you are a good person and you will find your happiness again. There is someone out there for you. You will find him and when you do you will realise that this phase in your life was to show you how good the next phase is. Don’t give up on happiness.”
“Thank you Doctor but I’m not giving up on happiness. I’m giving up on my dreams. They never got me anywhere other than disappointment. Maybe one day in the future I will dare to dream again but right now I need to focus on today and then tomorrow. I think I would like to lie down and rest now.”
“Ok, it has been a long day. I will walk you back to your room.” We walk in silence, I am all talked out. As we pass Doctor Raj’s office I think I can still smell Henry but it’s just a trick of the mind.
I enter my room, fall on the bed and am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. No songs or voices of comfort are needed today.
“Doctor Raj, I came to see Lucy but they won’t let me see her, they said I should speak to you. Is she ok?”
“Henry came to see her today and she saw him. It set her back a bit. She is very tired, nothing to worry about. We are taking very good care of her, rest assured.”
“That arsehole. I’ll kill him what did he do? Say?”
“From the looks of it someone already tried. He was just explaining a few things to me when Lucy overheard him and came in. She saw the shocked look of him seeing her in her current state and ran. They didn’t speak. She asked me to make sure he was ok and he left. I then spoke to her some more and it tired her out. She has been asleep for a while now, I think rest is the best thing for her right now. Henry has agreed to stay away and I have said on her discharge from here if Lucy is permitting I will let him know she has finished her treatment course.”
“Doctor, promise me you won’t let him anywhere near her. He took my beautiful friend and turned her into this grovelling mess who makes it ok for him to treat her like shit and walk away. I begged him to look after her when they got together. I said if he messed her around it would kill her.
He promised me he would always be open with her, especially when it came to other women. He said I could trust him to look after her as he cared for her and wouldn’t dream of hurting her. I watched them get close and the closer they got the more I saw in his eyes that scared little boy wanting to run away.
All she ever wanted was for them to have a proper chance to know once and for all if it would work but he was never going to let that happen. I saw the way he looked at her, he felt something for her and it was real.
But then I would see him with another girl and he’d be a different person. He just wanted to have fun all the time and Lucy reminded him of real life.
She is a fun girl, she is up for anything most of the time but being pulled and pushed by him took that girl away. I begged him to just end it and let her walk away and he said that wasn’t what he wanted so they talked.
She started messing with some other guy and he saw them together and he couldn’t stand the thought of someone else with her so he found another girl. But the truth was she only considered that guy because I asked her to.
I begged her not to put everything into Henry. I told her he would never commit to her because he was to selfish. He only wanted what he wanted and when he was done he walked away. Other girls accepted it, they knew the score they took what they wanted too, but Lucy isn’t like that.
She can’t just be a one night stand. She won’t give herself to someone who she doesn’t care for. That was why I tried to reason with Henry and I think I just pushed him further away from her. I want to make amends.
If I thought Henry would actually do the right thing and make her happy then I would pick up the phone now and call him but I don’t think he will ever give her a chance. In all honesty that breaks my heart because seeing them together you could tell not many people find that connection.”
“I understand. Rest assured we will do what is best for Lucy. She is making progress and I’m sure she will be back home soon. Let her rest for today. Tomorrow we will begin to find the real Lucy again.”
I wake up and stare at the wall. I don’t know the time but it is dark outside and the moon is full, lighting up the roses in its bluish tint. I look around the room, Henry is gone and I’m alone. I no longer hear his voice in my head. Tomorrow will be another long day. Doctor Raj will ask more questions and I’ll have to think up more answers.
I think back to how shocked Anna and Henry were to see me. I don’t ever want to be back here again. This time I must learn how to keep things even. This time I must conquer the darkness for the last time.
I think I will ask for a journal so I can write my thoughts down, they should let me do that.
Perhaps I will write to Henry. I must be sure not to tell him I miss him. I’ve already scared the poor man enough for one lifetime.
I can’t help but wonder why he came to see me today. I wonder if she looks after him and makes him happy. I wonder if he smiles at her the way he used to smile at me.
At least I know he is ok. I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to him. After everything he will always have a place in my heart. Even if I never see him again, that part of me will always care.
I didn’t want to have anymore regrets but right now it’s hard now to see what happened between us as anything but a regret. How can a friendship so good die so easily? But I’m forgetting, that it was only a friendship to me, he said we aren’t friends. I shake my head and clear the thoughts.
No more thinking about Henry, he’s gone. I’m still here.
I want to be happy, I want to be healthy and I want to go home. To start my life once more, whatever life I have to go back to. But this time I’m focussing on me. Time to stop putting off the things I want to make life easier for everyone else. I’m done with being there for people, I know who I can trust now.
I lie back on the bed and close my eyes. Tomorrow I begin my struggle to remain…