Experiment: Letting Go of Heartache From a Relationship (PART 2/2)

PART 2:

Hypothesis: By writing out memories that I had with someone I loved and listing everything I liked about the person then following it up with all the moments and things that I could think would have made the relationship not viable or unbearable, I could process my the emotions I had and see the good things I was looking for in a person and logically understand why things did and would not work out.

Objective: To process the memories and longing that bring the feeling of heartache

Procedure: Start by remembering all the good memories you have with the other person. All the moments that you longed for them or felt some sort of positive emotion for them. Then list all the things you miss about them. Then remember all the bad memories you have with the person and all the negative feelings and emotions that they may have caused. Then list all the traits or things that the person did that made a successful relationship unlikely.

Here is what I wrote about:

As soon as I started remembering the good memories there were a few bad memories that were mixed in, but I tried not to let my mind wander into any negativity and only focused on the good things at first.

I started by remembering how she took interest in my hobbies and how we would adventure to new places and try new things together. I remembered how much fun we had together and how fun of a person she was and how much she made me laugh. I remembered how on really bad days, she would hug me back together and everything felt right again. Then I started listing a bunch of activities that I missed, such as watching TV shows together, and going to eat together; how I missed having someone to tell everything to and being that person for her. I missed doing small day to day things together like grocery shopping and the small jokes we’d have while doing those things. I missed the feeling of being thought of first when something happened or something funny was seen. I missed most about how overly passionate she was.

I wrote a little excerpt wishing her success and happiness and luck in everything she does as if I was saying goodbye and because she deserves that in life.

Then I began remembering the negative things, like how whenever I tried to offer helpful advice and be there for her, she would lash out and get angry at me because it was unwanted and my opinion was not asked for. How I felt like nothing I did was good enough and my very existence wasn’t good enough and she needed to change me, and make me better. I remember being afraid of her because just like my stepdad, I was not sure what would set her off and make her angry. I remembered when I did make a mistake she would get so angry and end up attacking my character and saying hurtful things and no matter how sorry I was, it seemed she did not ever forgive me. I remember wanting to die every time she got angry at me like that because I had such strong feelings for her. I then started a list of the reasons why it wouldn’t have worked. She would stop listening to any reason when she got angry and lashed out hurting others. She just wouldn’t forgive others when they wronged you her. She didn’t get along with some of my friends and had a few fights with them, pushing them away. A few of her habits were something that I couldn’t tolerate because of my own past experiences and traumas. I also added a few other private notes of feeling used and dealing with her wrath that all pointed towards us not working out with the way we both were.

Conclusion: I was left with a lot of memories, both good and bad of the person, and they occupied a lot of my thoughts afterward. I feared that this second part did not help me but made me miss the person again although I’m hoping it’s just the memories that needed to be processed, processing. We will see what happens in the following days.

Day 1: Last night I had trouble sleeping because I couldn’t stop thinking about everything that we went through and everything that we did together. I felt sad and I felt hurt and my mind would not slow down. When I woke up I felt a bit better but there was still a sadness inside that was eating away at me. Throughout the day I had thoughts about her however when I was feeling that sense of longing, I reminded myself of all the things that made a relationship unlikely with her which was reassuring that there were reasons it didn’t work out.

Day 2: Throughout the day, whenever I thought of her, I still had a pang of pain in my heart however she messaged me today and I had no sad or bad feelings, it was just a normal interaction I would have had with a friend. Perhaps my logic is all caught up but my heart still has some lingering emotions attached to it.

Day 3: I’ve realized that I haven’t thought about her as much as I used to but I’m not sure if I can attribute that to this experiment or enough time passing to start getting over her.

Day 4: I had a dream about her last night. The dream was of me still having feelings of longing for her, but in the dream we talked and she told me that we just had different personality characteristics that clashed and we would end up driving each other insane. When I woke up I could accept that answer because it was true.

Day 5: I stopped feeling a sense of longing for her and I could think clear and unhindered thoughts without feeling sadness. She also messaged me and wanted to hang out soon. I agreed to see her so that will be the test of my feelings.

Day: 8: I went out with her again after completing this experiment and having some time pass. I was very anxious before going to see her however once we met up, things were good. I didn’t have any heart pangs or longing. We were able to have good conversation and able to have a fun night and afterwards I didn’t have any hurt feelings or heartache.

Finale: The first part of this experiment proved the most beneficial however I believe the second part was also important in order to process all the other little things that were going on with my emotions. I’m happy to say that I feel like this experiment was a success for me. I’d like to try and replicate this success with others going through similar issues however I worry that the mental state of others would not react the same. If they are willing to try, I would love to record the results.

Advertisements

Experiment: Letting Go of Heartache From a Relationship (PART 1/2)

A broken heart has got to be one of the worst things that we as humans go through. The feeling of your heartstrings being snapped and leaving your chest tight and your mind broken is something we all have gone through at some level.

In my case, without going into too much detail, I was experiencing heartache from a relationship that I wished had been and everyday my heart hurt. I just couldn’t move past it, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about it, even subconsciously I dreamt every night regarding the situation I was in. I had been here before and I’m sure I’ll be here again, and it never really gets easier and recovery never goes by quicker, in fact it almost seems like every time this sort of thing happens, the time to recover is longer.

I started thinking about everything critically one night and realized that things hurt me so much because I had expectations of what I thought was going to happen, or what I thought should have happened, and those expectations were not met and shut down quite quickly. All my hopes and dreams about the relationship seemed quashed and it wasn’t for the lack of trying. I did my best and my expectations still weren’t met and I was hurt, so it raised the questions… What were all my expectations and how could they be met? And if they were met, would I still feel this way?

So I came up with an experiment;

PART 1:

Hypothesis: By writing out all the expectations I had with the person I was trying to get over, perhaps I could overcome all these feelings of longing that exist for them and recover from the pain.

Objective: To process the expectations I had for someone in order to relieve heartache that I was experiencing.

Procedure: Write a full fantasy life, with as much detail as you can write into it. Write in all your expectations that you had from the first kiss to your final moments, and everything in between and then burn the entire story.

Here is what I wrote about:

I started off by writing about the first date that I had actually had with the girl that I felt heartache for and wrote the fantasy about what could have been if we became an actual couple. I wrote in great detail about when we would have had our first kiss and what it would have felt like. I wrote about a passionate sexual experience which ultimately would have led to our first child. I wrote about how I would have proposed to her and then having our first child. I wrote about our wedding and our honeymoon and the second pregnancy caused from the honeymoon. I gave our children names. I wrote about the house we would have lived in and what we would do for fun and enjoyment. I wrote about the little things, like hugging her from behind and kissing her. I wrote about our parents getting sick and our children growing up, what types of jobs we would eventually have, the vacations that we would take. I wrote about my father passing away eventually and the troubling times I would have and how she would be there for me. I wrote about our children graduating and our daughter falling in love with her high school sweetheart. I wrote about her mother’s passing away and the words her mother and I exchanged as she was on her death bed and the pain and withdrawn feelings my wife would have had from it. I wrote about how we started travelling which gave her zest for life again. I wrote my mother’s sudden passing away and the support she gave me for that. I wrote about our son marrying a girl and settling down while we moved to a different country for our retirement. I wrote about our daughter having her first child and giving us our first grandchild. I wrote about us moving back to help with our grandchildren. We would travel during the winter to someplace warm but come home to be with our grandchildren the rest of the year. I wrote about my body starting to decay and how I was forced to move into a home and how she would have moved in to be with me. I wrote about my frustrations that I was old and couldn’t move anymore and felt so helpless but she would reassure and console me. I wrote about how I got sick and I knew it was almost my time even though she kept telling me things would be alright. I wrote about my children coming to see me and saying goodbye. And finally I wrote in great detail about my final moments, how I wanted her to live as long as possible to be a part of our children’s’ lives and that I would wait for her and how I wanted her to embrace me one last time while I told her I loved her with my last breath before fading away…

Conclusion: After many many tears were shed especially as I was burning the fantasy life I had wrote, I started to almost feel like the person that I longed for, in this life and not the fantasy, was not the same person that I had loved in my fantasy. Like there was some sort of dissociation from reality in the process of writing the fantasy. I felt like by writing the entire life that I may have had an expectation to have, those expectations were met, I lived them through a dissociated fantasy and reality didn’t hurt nearly as bad. As far as I could tell, I never developed an attachment to the fantasy version of the person I longed for as we had lived out our full life in its entirety. It made me almost feel at peace with it all but I wanted to see how I felt for the coming days after the experiment.

Day 1: After the first day I still felt disassociated from the real life person and thoughts I had of them didn’t invoke any feelings of longing or heartache. I felt like they were a different person from my fantasy version.

Day 2: I was still feeling pretty good. I was able to see pictures of her and her boyfriend and I felt happy for her. The person in the picture wasn’t the same person that I had a life with however I noticed that there was a slight tang of longing still, but that couls still just be associated with the fantasy person I loved.

Day 3: My mind still thought of her and thought of things I would have liked to do that I did not write about in my fantasy and that hit me a bit harder than I would have liked, but that longing was still not nearly as bad as it was before. She contacted me today asking how I was and I was able to reply with a bit of anxiety but I still felt good about everything.

Day 4: We carried on the conversation from the day before and I didn’t feel any longing or sadness during the conversation, however afterwards I felt some heartache over it again. It’s hard to say if it was lessened because of this experiment or because some time had passed by or both.

Day 5: Scrolling through social media still invokes a response from my heart. I feel sad that I had so many feelings and emotions that went unanswered. I had to force myself to think about the fantasy version to get over that sadness. Perhaps the effects are wearing off, or perhaps exposure reverts my feelings back. I’ve also recounted the experiment many times whereas it was created to let go and burn away the thought which may be a mistake.

Day 6: Seeing places we went and doing things that we used to do together has struck a chord and given me a bit more sadness and heartache.

Day 7: Started thinking about her at night and when I woke up again. Perhaps my experiment is starting to wear off or perhaps there’s something else I’m missing?

Day 8: My sadness and heartache seem to be triggered by memories of things that happened which then lead me to think about things I had wished I had done with her. I thought about another experiment to try. This experiment that I had just done sorted through the future fantasies and expectations that I had with her, but I never dealt with the past realities. I needed to find a way to sort through everything that had happened that we had together so I can let go of the past as I had let go of the future.

 

A Welcome Change

I finally made one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever made in my life and that was to start seeing a professional psychologist for help with further understanding and discovering myself.

I can say without a doubt, this was the BEST thing I have ever done for myself.

As soon as I sat down and started explaining who I am and some things about myself, my therapist had already understood the feelings I had and the reasons I had them. To finally have some understanding and to have someone tell you why you may have felt a certain way, it was almost like the lonely burden I placed on myself was somewhat lifted and something inside felt lighter.

In my first appointment I introduced myself and told my therapist a bit about my life, my job and why I’m seeing them. Immediately after hearing that I was a middle child and I had a sister that was 6 years younger that passed away as a baby, my therapist immediately identified that I was neglected as a child and I most likely did not receive the love that a child needs to develop properly. This made so much sense for me, someone who was always seeking to gain the love of others even through the sacrifice of my own happiness. My therapist further explained that it was no fault of my parents, as no one is perfect and being a middle child often means they were too busy with the other children to pay proper attention to me, and with my sister passing away when I was 6, I was not able to receive the attention I needed, and so I developed a quiet, left in the dark demeanor and felt as though I was not worthy of having attention paid to me. A child’s mind is a fragile thing, and that thought and feeling carried with me throughout my life. We moved on and I continued telling her about major life events, such as my parent’s divorce when I was 12 years old, my stepdad and how much of a time bomb living with him was, and the few relationships I had been in that were ultimately doomed to fail (because they were all long distance). I told her about the depression I had fallen into, and the car accident that had changed my life, and before I knew it, our time was up for the first session, but I had felt a huge burden lifted, and I gained some further understanding into why I am the way I am.

The following posts I am going to be writing are going to be my experiences from going my therapist and I urge anyone who reads this to continue reading my experiences to see the change in my thoughts that I have undertaken.

My hope is that if anyone has ever thought about seeing a professional about anything they have experienced or are going through, to seek help out because talking to someone who can help sort things out can be invaluable. And if you have already seen someone and felt they didn’t help you, perhaps try someone else; everyone has a different way they make sense of things and you may get someone that doesn’t work for you, but that does not mean you are hopeless, you just haven’t found anyone that can help make sense of it all.

When I first sought help I was afraid and didn’t know how to find the help but there are a lot of resources available. If you are in Alberta we have a mental health helpline found at http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/amh.aspx or in the US, http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/finding-help, a quick google search for help in your location will usually bring up a number you can call for free for help and then it just takes the courage to call. I ended up calling a number my employer provides for anyone having issues and they set me up with the therapist I see now.

I also have a friend that practices hypnotherapy and has an affordable pay model for anyone seeking help. here is a link to his website, Healing Self

I started seeing my therapist in April 2017 and looking back to then I can see how much of a difference it has made in my life, but it is not easy and you have to face many personal demons, however every hardship I’ve went through has only contributed to my growth and I truly feel like a different person than I used to be. #Worth

My Best Friend

“The definition of a best friend is a person who you value above other friends in your life, someone you have fun with, someone you trust and someone in whom you confide.” 
-www.yourdictionary.com/best-friend

I’ve never really had a best friend before, at least not in the true sense of the word. I’ve had friends I’ve been close with and that I’ve shared a lot with but  I’ve never really valued someone above all others. I always imagined that the person I’d end up calling my ‘best friend’ was going to be the person I was in love with because it’s always been the people I’d fallen in love with that I had felt the closest to. I’ve never felt that there was a ‘Best’ friend before, that is until I met her…

Let’s start from the beginning: It was one of my first days at work, and I got a call for a voicemail password reset. Typically we only change two numbers on the voicemail during the reset so I asked the caller what their favorite number was, she responded with five. I changed the password to include five-five and asked as a joke if she would remember that. “Of course! It’s my birthday!” It took me a few seconds but I realized we shared the same birthday in that case, 05/05. This was my first contact with someone that would end up very special to me and also my birthday twin!

Eventually I had to go up to the building she was working in and I met her face to face. We had a pleasant chat and got to know each other a little bit more, and to be honest I had a bit of a crush but we didn’t really get too close. It wasn’t until we both signed up for our companies corporate challenge where we compete against other businesses that we began spending more time together.

Our first challenge… and our first time ever hanging out together; Blood donation. I had never gave blood before and I was chatting with her about what to expect until she asked if I would like it if we went together. A beautiful girl that I have a bit of a crush on asks if I want to go donate blood with her, heck yes! We ended up going to donate blood and sure enough my vein collapses so I can’t donate more than a few drops and she gets lightheaded from not drinking enough fluids but that’s okay because we get to sit down and chat for a bit, and it turns out shes a pretty wonderful girl that I really enjoy talking with. We ended up going to get some Aussie pies from a pie shop afterward and chatting a bit more however she started to feel ill so I took her home but our first little interaction was a good indication as to how well we got along.

We started hanging out more and more as we did more corporate challenge events together and one evening she made one thing clear: She wasn’t looking for anything romantic and just wanted to be my friend. I appreciated immensely how upfront she was and of course I wanted to be her friend, she made me laugh a tremendous amount with her wonderful sense of humor and I genuinely enjoyed being in her company.

As time passed, we grew closer and closer. I helped her move from her old crappy apartment to a much nicer one and as anyone knows, when you help someone move, you know its getting serious. I took her to a few of my favorite places, we went to work events together and she even asked me to house-sit for her when she left for home. We were pretty inseparable.

Then, she left for a month to visit her home. And in that month of staying at her place, I missed her…I missed her more than I should have, more than I thought I would and more than just a friend would. We had contact every now and again, but honestly I lived for the times we were able to chat. She had become more than just a friend in my heart.

I was more than excited when she came home and picking her up from the airport was like I found a long lost missing piece of myself. On the way home she told me that something interesting had happened to her; She had developed some romantic feelings for someone and at that moment my heart sunk a bit because of my own realized feelings, but I quickly came to realize that her excitement for this development was more than enough to make me feel happy for her in finding someone she had romantic feelings for. That romance didn’t last long though and it breaks my heart that the excitement she had from finding those feelings faded away.

I always thought I would start dating someone, fall in love and they would become my best friend, but I now realize that love is a catalyst that creates a best friend. I’ve found a best friend that I love and want more than anything for her to succeed in all aspects of life. I want to see her excitement if she develops romantic feelings for someone, I want to see her move forward in life and get to where she wants to be. I want to see her become what she will become and I want to help her every step of the way in any way I can because that’s what a best friend does and I know its what she wants for me too.

I love my best friend; My one I value most; My someone I have fun with; My someone I trust; My someone I confide in; My Duchess.

The Crash

Sadness is a beast that can easily consume you if you allow it…

I’ve always felt a sadness inside of myself. I hid it by portraying myself as someone that was cheery and lighthearted for most of my life, but deep down I was in pain. I don’t know the cause of it, perhaps loneliness inside my heart, perhaps my negative self image and lack of self confidence, perhaps it was a feeling of uselessness and self loathing or perhaps just a chemical imbalance or maybe it was a combination of some or all of these things or something entirely different, I don’t know, all I knew was that I had a sadness deep down inside of me.

My life had had it’s ups and downs, I had loved and lost, I had felt purpose, I had helped many others and I even felt like I had saved some lives. I lived and I had no regrets.

Leading up to the winter, I was jobless while trying my best to find something, things were not going very well with the princess I was with at the time, and things were not going well at home. My stepdad had begun to drink and make snide remarks about how ‘lazy’ I was while making mentally abusive comments to my mother. After a while this escalated and he would yell and call my mother and I names and remind us of how useless we were… Funny what goes on behind closed doors. My princess and I had broken up and my heart was broken. I had no luck finding any jobs and I was starting to fall into a good amount of debt. And worst of all, I started to believe my stepdad was right, I was completely useless. “What was the point?”

I gave up…

I made a decision. I was going to end it. I didn’t want to live anymore.

I was going to spend the last bit of money that I had left on my credit card to enjoy my last little bit of life before I took it and I tremble as I type this because I can recall how set I was on my decision.

I remember I was at a drop-in volleyball center and A few friends and I joined up with a small family and the father and I got to talking. I opened up to him and he told me he might have a job opportunity if I was interested. To be honest I wasn’t that interested because I was already set on what I was going to do, but I guess a part of me was curious, or perhaps a part of me wanted to live on, regardless; I agreed to meet him in a few days to talk…

The night I left to meet this father, it had just snowed with freezing rain falling the night before. Roads were slippery and my car was rear wheel drive with not much traction at the best of times. It happened about two blocks away from my house, I was behind an SUV when the driver suddenly slammed on their brakes. I quickly hit mine but I got literally no traction… I was sliding out of control and was veering into the oncoming traffic lane. I can remember the scene: A blue caravan parked on the right of the road, the brake lights of the SUV, but most of all I remember the headlights and front end of the red caravan heading directly towards me.
In the last moment before impact, I remember that it was so quiet I could hear myself think one last thought, “Good, I wanted this.”

I came to, my airbags deployed, my face feeling like it was broken but I came to and was alive. I remember moving my legs and arms to make sure they were there and functional then finding my cell phone which got launched to the ground and calling emergency services. I had to kick my door open as I fell out of my car onto the street, got up and stumbled toward the other vehicle to make sure they were alright. I heard screaming from the other vehicle and I felt dread as I approached. I saw a mother holding her screaming child telling her everything was alright and to calm down. I requested an ambulance for the other driver whom said his back was in pain. After letting them know that the ambulance was on the way, I went to the sidewalk, sat down on the snowy cement and I cried. I cried from happiness that the other family was alright, and I cried because I was happy I was still alive.

Looking back, I died that day. Much like motivational speakers preach about the Caterpillar dying and being reborn as a butterfly, I died the day I crashed and I was reborn wanting to live for the first time. My life still had many complications that I was going to need to figure out, but I wanted to figure them out because I believed that there was something better for me and there was and its turning out that there always is.

For anyone who does struggle with depression or suicide, my only thoughts are that it does get better, but you have to stop being consumed by the sadness. It is tough, but there are people out there that can help. I wish I had spoken to someone, perhaps they would have been able to help and I wouldn’t have spiraled into the situation that I put myself in where I felt so backed into a corner that I had no way out. I was lucky, and my life went on and I can truly say that I enjoy every bit of it including the hardship and adversity. The challenges in life are what make it interesting and help to build you and mold you into something stronger and honestly there is no challenge that is insurmountable.

Sadness is a beast that can consume you, but if you starve it, life continues toward bigger and better things.

 

Love is a Battlefield

The heart is such a difficult thing to understand because it wants what it wants and there is no changing that. It defies all reason, it defies all logic, it truly is it’s own entity; it’s own fragile, delicate entity.

Love hurts. At least unrequited love does and I’m convinced most people have experienced it in one way or another. I feel like I’ve been in a situation of feelings not being returned quite often and I’ve even been the person who didn’t return those feelings and it truly does feel like a battlefield.

The conditions for love are not as easy to fulfill as one would think. When I was younger I figured love was easy, A person likes another person and they would get together and work on it. As I have grown and experienced love and heartache, I realize that there are many factors to consider when falling in love with someone and an imbalance of one of those factors can cause the love to never be returned or the love to ultimately fail. Timing is important; it truly is a tragedy when you love someone and they are just not at a point in time where they can love you back. Attraction; it seems obvious that you are attracted to someone you are in love with but the heart can be fickle and you might have an attraction one day and if it is never acted upon, it can fade, and the opposite can be true as well. Mindset; Sometimes a mindset can be the cause or fall of love. I have experienced a love with someone where we shared a similar mindset however as the person I loved matured mentally, my mindset was left behind and we no longer shared the same joys, dreams or desires and ultimately we fell out of love.

Love can also be terrifying and I found that it is the fear that can make it seems so uncomfortable to let your heart fall. What if the person you love doesn’t love you back? What if they break your heart? What if they are the wrong person? What if they do love you too? The uncertainty is scary and sometimes it is just easier not to have those feelings, but love is a battlefield, and in a battlefield you are fighting for something. Letting fear deter you, and letting the pain of failure break you means you have conceded. If you want to succeed on the battlefield that is love, all you have to do is keep fighting, keep trying until you make it, knowing that you are fighting for something that is beautiful and can bring about so much happiness, something that is worth enduring the battle you are put through. I know because I have been in love, and it is something worth fighting for.

The Voice

I’m not sure when it came about, but at some point I developed a voice inside of my consciousness. This voice isn’t just some random thing in my head, I know it is driven by my own thoughts; all the negative and self loathing thoughts I’ve ever had have created this demon within.

Whenever I think back to times that I have felt depressed and self conscious, I can remember this voice being there, telling me I’m not good enough, telling me I will never make it, and telling me that I shouldn’t even bother. It has crippled me, to an extent that is still unknown to me as I still have yet to explore that topic in my journey of self discovery. This voice has held me back and I didn’t know how to fight it.

I let this voice dominate my own view of myself; It told me I wasn’t good enough and I never was, at least not to my own self and it really drove me into my depression. It wasn’t until I had my crash that the voice seemed to be silent and gave me a moment of peace. I was only focused on life immediately following my crash, the life that I still clung onto, the life that I was close to losing. I focused on my life and I started this journey in the voice’s absence and I’ve grown so immensely I had completely forgotten about the voice… until it returned

I had been talking to someone close to my heart and I had ended up causing that someone some unintentional pain with some unmindful words. My heart felt wrenched from causing this pain and I felt awful, and then the voice returned “Everything you touch, you hurt…” The voice…my own conscious…my inner demon, it was able to speak again, and I was overcome with a sense of terror. I felt myself begin to regress to a former state as some tears began to well in my eyes, but I stopped…I stopped and thought about what the voice just said to me. “Everything I touch, I hurt?” It’s true I hurt someone, and yes I felt truly awful about it, but how dare that voice tell me that. I spend so much time trying to heal the hurt in others and some part of my brain is going to tell me that I hurt everything I touch? Wrong… I challenged the voice in my own head that put me down. I called it out for what it said and although it wasn’t completely false, it certainly wasn’t true. I challenged the voice and I discovered the voice was a coward that had no answers when it was put in the spotlight.

I was able to confront one of my inner demons and find a way to defeat it which feels like a huge milestone in my self development. Everyday I feel like I am faced with new challenges and knowing who I am and knowing I have my own self beside me has been getting me through each and every obstacle in my way, even ones from my past that I never thought I would be able to overcome. The voice has been silenced.