I’m not gonna lie. For reasons I can’t fully explain, today was a much rougher Monday than usual, and rest assured, I would not be writing here about it if the reasons for this difficult day were work related. They weren’t. Work issues? I face and deal with those every single day, and those disappear almost as soon as I clock out.
This though, is a very different animal.
Without going into specifics, I will simply say that, for the last two-plus months I have been dealing with a huge void, a loss. Now, no one died, and no one was in an accident that left them incapacitated. But one day, they were part of my daily life, part of my support system, part of what I used to balance my emotional equilibrium. Then, the next day, they were ‘gone.’ Incommunicado, a ghost, simply a memory. Past tense.
I think I hit the ‘emotional bottom’ in mid-March, and then, once April appeared on my calendar, apart from one day when a Facebook memory that involved them popped up, I was doing an excellent job of not thinking about them. I went through the Five Stages of Grief in one weekend in March, spent a lot of that time on the ‘Anger’ phase, before finally moving on to ‘Acceptance.’
I have now accepted, after not hearing from them in any way, shape or form, that I probably will never see or hear from them again, and that everything that involves them and myself will now be referred to in the past tense. Consciously, I am now okay with this. It took some time, but, as opposed to how I was feeling and coping a month ago, I am okay accepting that they are no longer part of my life, much less someone I can lean on when my emotional equilibrium needs calibrating.
Why am I writing this? To talk about coping.
Last September, I found myself in a deep depression, and my coping mechanism of choice to ‘handle’ that situation was drinking. Drinking a lot, and drinking often. Having gotten myself out of that coping mechanism by November last year (and the person I mentioned above who is now absent was a big part of helping me get out of that spiral, whether they ever believed they were or not), I knew that I did not want to and was not going to slip into that pattern again. So, coping this time involved a lot of writing and listening to a lot of music.
Why was today a tough Monday? As I mentioned, consciously, I am at the level of acceptance where I realize that what I used to count on is now in the past tense. Subconsciously though? They’re obviously still on my mind because for weeks I have seen their face in dreams. Consequently, I have slept so poorly over the last month that I can’t really hide it anymore. My eyes have not just bags under them, but a full on matching luggage set. I used to get six hours of sleep a night. Now, if I have a dream about them that startles me awake when it concludes as suddenly as the real life relationship, I know I am going to be awake for a while and maybe I will get back to sleep if I am lucky.
I know that the appearance of them in my subconscious points to something unresolved ‘in real life.’ Hell, it’s all unresolved in real life. I haven’t seen them in 70 days, and I haven’t heard from them at all in about half of that time. I know that, even though I have consciously and metaphorically buried them, mourned them, whatever version of a relationship we had 70 days ago will never return, even if the ghost decides to reappear on my doorstep. I know that I probably won’t get any answers to the many questions I have. What I don’t know is, how do I get them out of my subconscious, especially if things stay as they currently are and I never hear from or see them again?
What I don’t plan on doing is drinking. I already know that road wouldn’t end well. Another option I’m considering is sleeping pills, but I know from experience that while they may aid with sleep, those same pills can intensify the dreams. I’m not sure I want to risk that.
For now, I’m distracting myself with a baseball game (Phillies/Mets since Atlanta is off tonight). Once that ends I’ll probably stay awake to the point of exhaustion, stumble to bed and hope that, if I do dream, I don’t dream about ‘them ‘ again.
Reminders, both physical and mental are everywhere I look. They don’t sucker punch me now like they did in February and March, but they do still remind me of a past that now seems like a lifetime ago.
I know everything that has happened in the last 70 days is going to leave a very deep and very ugly scar, and I simply have to wait for it to scab over. It’s a slow process, but, based on similar past experiences, I know it will happen eventually.
I think writing this down was more or less an exercise for me to process things and admit that I’m really relying on distractions during my conscious hours, distractions that are not available in my unconscious hours.
I believe that eventually the ‘ghost’ that is still a fixture in my dreams will eventually disappear. I just never thought I would wish for that day.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re a subscriber, or you found this post. That means a lot, and I sincerely Thank You. I’m not promoting this post at all on social media, simply because this was me basically processing things and considering options, and it’s probably of very little interest to anyone but the author. So I thank you again and I promise the next post will be something more fun, like a show review, concert review or the like.