I’ve said it before on my work blog, hindsight isn’t a wonderful thing, it’s fucking useless.
Knowing what you should have done after the fact is of no help but it makes for a nice anecdote.
(Ok, perhaps hindsight stops you from boshing out the same mistake again, maybe that’s why it’s useful?)
I reckon some of us like repeating particular mistakes.
Those of us that do, probably haven’t learned to change the behaviour. And perhaps certain actions turn out not to be mistakes at all.
But there are always moments that cause regret.
And we sometimes act on impulse fully understanding that it will fuck something up.
But we do it regardless.
Because it feels good in that brief, transitory moment – to hell with the consequences (and there are always consequences).
The drink that pushes you over the edge, the kiss with someone you shouldn’t, finally calling that person a cunt after years because they are, in reality, a cunt.
That shit feels great at that moment, we then tell ourselves stories to make our actions palatable and squared with our own conscience.
But just like Jarvis Cocker sang, “Then you come down”.
And boy, do you come down…
You feel empty, depressed, and if you’re really unlucky, without much to live for.
That intense feeling of hopelessness does relent (thank fuck) and we get back to normality (whatever that might mean).
I’m fortunate, I don’t, as a rule, suffer from depression.
I did think maybe I might have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but I’ve come to the conclusion that I like winter it’s just aspects of my life that I don’t like.
Although my family has a long history of mental illness, I’ve been lucky enough to swerve the persistent ‘black dog’.
You’ve probably experienced low times yourself.
Awful life moments that are down to environmental factors, a friend dying, a parent leaving, a relationship ending.
Most of us have been there, we’ve felt desolate and lost with no way back to sanctuary but we nearly always return.
Sadly, some don’t.
These events can trigger a lifelong dalliance with mental health issues, issues that undermine your daily existence.
It’s fair to say, we’ve all been through the fucking mill the last two years.
2020 was not only the year of the plague but it was the year my stepson succumbed to leukaemia.
(Talk about pissing on your cornflakes.)
Having to watch my husband internalise his suffering and use alcohol to numb his feelings, was tough – and it still is.
I appreciate it’s not an all-inclusive trip to Seychelles for him either.
I just dunno how to help him and any suggestion I make is met with indifference.
“He has to deal with it in his own way, Sarah.”
Sure, if he is dealing with it, meanwhile, I watch the destruction.
God love him, he has always lacked motivation.
He would agree that I’m the partner with the drive, the one who takes the reins – the archetypal nagging wife that gets on his nerves.
But now this catastrophic – unthinkable event has cemented his inertia.
I don’t know how things will change for the better.
I guess I’m still in the thick of it – just when you think life is on the up, your brain is primed to sabotage progress.
Feeling powerless is not something I manage well.
Being out of control is not in my nature. I’m convinced things go wrong when I take my hand off the wheel.
So telling you that I feel like this makes me very nervous.
Anxious is probably a better word because I’m not a reveal all kind of person but this blog is, in part, my therapy so It’s about the process (or some such bollocks).
So, here I am teetering on a cliff’s edge, wondering if I have the strength to step off.
(It’s a metaphor so no need to call the emergency services.)
The step isn’t into oblivion but into change.
Because living with someone you can’t reach is hard. Not having the ability to communicate with the person you love, feels a lot like failure.
And I don’t like failure, I will fight long and hard before throwing in the towel.
I’m the same as you, I have my own personal challenges so when I have to deal with someone else’s, it’s much to contend with.
But that’s what you do for love, isn’t it? That’s part of the deal. If you think relationships are easy to sustain, you’re probably not in one.
Humans are unpredictable.
Their emotions can make living a contented life, complicated.
They also lie and play down what they really feel.
And men aren’t the only ones doing that, we’re all masking to some degree.
I rarely talk to friends and family about what’s happening in my head, and that’s because sometimes I want to switch off, enjoy their company, and forget about shitty stuff.
It’s also a resilience thing.
A little something I learned from being a kid who suffered the trauma of a disastrous divorce.
(Not my own childhood divorce, this isn’t the Deep South.)
That bleak time left me at the age of eleven becoming the emotional crutch for a parent.
To say that I’m good at dealing with terrible circumstances is an understatement. I have mastered the art of getting on with it.
Although I bottle and cork my own feelings, I try to be open in intimate relationships.
You know, for the greater good and all that. I’m a fairly decent listener but often all I hear is silence. Thing is, you can’t make a person be something they’re not, and it has nothing to do with how much they love you.
And some folks can’t talk, they don’t know how, or they just don’t fucking want to.
Sharing the stuff you keep to yourself is hard.
I don’t just mean the dark thoughts. Telling another human how you feel about them can also be difficult because you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And you have no idea how they will respond.
So you take a risk and hope sharing your feelings won’t make it weird.
Some people get scared when you’re honest.
A direct approach might give them the jitters, the kind of approach that deals with stuff that matters – not just the periphery of the human experience.
Another reason people don’t talk is they’re worried others will think they’re fucking mental or worse, weak and fucking mental.
And they’re right to feel that because we’re all making assumptions. The stigma of showing your inner turmoil is ever-present despite the trendy campaigns.
What if people see us as a burden? What if they get tired of hearing about our problems?
“It’s totally ok to have an off day, Sarah but I’m bored of this now, it’s been an entire week!”
Fair enough, people are just different, I get it, but no talking gets lonely.
And feeling like shit can really isolate you. It can consume you.
When you go through hardships it’s difficult to see anyone else.
Other people fade into the background and before you know it, you’re living alone, at least, in your head. You miss the life that is being played out in front of you. The world beyond your own nose blurs and you’re in your own uncomfortable bubble.
It’s true that feeling bad usually gives way to feeling good (and then back to bad again). But it’s the ebb and flow of those feelings that can wear you down.
And it is those lows that sucker punch you.
Floor you, and make you exhausted. In those moments you question everything, like, was feeling pretty good the day before a complete fucking lie?
Then comes the self-loathing.
In my depressed reality, I’m not a very good person, I’m a bit of an arsehole.
(Yeah, yeah, I’m always an arsehole.)
I do have some very unattractive traits. In summary: I’m a selfish, egocentric arrogant prick.
Sure, I have some nice things going for me (like I said, I’m egocentric) but they come hand-in-hand with the shit.
I don’t think I value the people I should as much as I value myself. I’m not a psychopath (not quite anyway) but I see behaviours in me that make me wish I were different.
It’s true that none of us fit absolutely into the categories of angel and demon.
We’re complex, flawed individuals, not comic book personalities. We are many things and sometimes we’re dicks.
Despite being an arsehole, I hate to hurt people but I experienced so much guilt as a kid that as a result, I’m all out of it as a grownup.
I will consider carefully if the hurt I cause is justified.
(Yes, I analyse everything.)
Guilt is tied to the feeling of remorse so if I don’t believe I did anything wrong, I’ll be sad you’re upset but I won’t beat myself up about it.
That’s pretty odd for a woman because we’re conditioned to feel guilty about so many things, like eating too many chocolates, and other inconsequential bullshit.
(Female Catholics must be nervous fucking wrecks.)
I’m not a complete unfeeling bastard.
I do sometimes obsess about things I’ve said and done.
If I care about someone, I run things over and over again in my head, critiquing my actions. And I wonder why I can’t be better.
Fuck, being decent is hard.
And often it’s much less believable. No one can be thoroughly nice, can they? We’re suspicious of goodness. We get bored by it, that’s why we like movie villains, they are more interesting but no one wants to live with Cruella De Vil.
Is my being an arsehole entirely my fault?
Can I not blame genetics, my upbringing? I guess to a certain degree I can but at my age, I do have to take some bloody responsibility.
I don’t always feel like a loathsome undeserving person.
But for the now, I do. It will pass, and I’ll be singing my praises in no time.
What is that all about, I wonder?
It’s true that no one has been meaner to me than me. I not only enjoy a good self-roast but I like others to join in.
If you’re taking the piss out of me, you’re showing affection. And I’m reacting to that in a positive way. So when you jab at an insecurity, find a weakness, I will mostly enjoy it.
I say mostly because If you’re being serious with your takedowns, I’ll be gutted, especially if I like you.
But I won’t tell you that I like you because that would mean revealing my feelings.