Society

I feel like the break up is a reflection on me. That I’m not good enough, that I’m unlovable, that I will always be alone. But why?

Because society teaches us that we need a relationship to be happy. It teaches women that their role is to be a wife, have children etc. It teaches us that that is what we want and need.

The scariest thing for me now is that I might always be alone. I might never meet someone to share my life with. I wonder if that is because I’m lonely, or if it’s because society says I can’t be happy without a man.

I want to be happy in myself, which seems a massive feat given that in my almost 25 years of life, I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with who I am.

There is the old saying “you can’t be happy with someone else until you are happy in yourself” and I was always trying to avoid that one. I thought that if I tried hard enough, I could be happy in a relationship even though I bloody hate myself. It caught me eventually though.I’m on a mission to work out who I really am and to learn to love myself, before I even think about trying to find someone else to love and to love me.

I’m really struggling at the moment. The realisation that I am not getting the “move in, get married, have a family” happily ever after story with S is tough. Realising that he is probably going to have that with his new girlfriend is absolutely crippling. I can’t help thinking THAT SHOULD BE ME. But it’s not, and for reasons I don’t understand, this must be the right way forward.

I would never have learned independence if S and I were still together, it feels like a big price to pay though.

Love,

Ellie xx

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Identity

Today I listened to a podcast on the topic of identity (Estée Lalonde The Heart of it, it you’re wondering!) and it got me thinking. Who am I? Who is Ellie? How do I define myself?

Identity is something I have always struggled with I think. My lack of confidence means I always focused on who I am to other people… I am a daughter, a sister etc. For the vast majority of the time since I was 15, being a girlfriend was a major part of my identity.

When I was with The Ex, I became more like he wanted me to be. I started using slang language which was not my style, I wore what he liked me to wear, I rejected scouting, my school and felt very separate from my family. But none of that was really me. It was me trying to be the Ellie he wanted. Of course, being so controlling and manipulating, I didn’t realise that at the time at all, I felt like I was being myself. But there was the cognitive dissonance, where I was doing things I knew I didn’t agree with and trying to pretend that was me.

Fast forward to the age of 18, The Ex left me. I was in a state, to put it mildly. I didn’t know who I was anymore without him. He had made me feel distanced from my friends and family, my hobbies were gone, I had no clue.

I started to try and find myself, but I think I was in the mind of a 15 year old, because I never got to do that exploration at that age.

Then there was S. Things were so different, he seemed to like me for who I was, it was so strange not to be put down all the time. But now that S has left me too, I am starting to see that the me I was when I was with S wasn’t me either. I am like a chameleon, my need to please others means that I will strive to be whoever I think they want me to be.

The problem is, I’m on my own now and I feel so lost. I’m not a girlfriend anymore. I don’t know my identity but I want to find it.

I am going to try and work out who I am, for myself instead of for anyone else. I think it’s going to be a long journey but I am actually sick of my identity not being real, of being so scared of being myself that I forget who I really am.

Of course, my illnesses come into my identity, but they are not my identity. For too long they have been. I’m like this because of my anxiety, or I can’t do that because of my fatigue. No. I have to accept that my collection of illnesses are part of me, but I am more than just my illnesses.

I am fed up of moving around and feeling sorry for myself. Yes, S left, and yes it still hurts every single day, but being sad and going over and over all the what ifs isn’t actually going to help me. Moving forward and focusing on my future will.

Wow, that was not quite what I intended when I sat down to write this post! I think I’ll be writing more about identity as I go through my journey. I’d love to hear about your experience with working out who you really are!

Love,

Ellie

I don’t want to be rescued

I have spoken to my counsellor a lot about how both the ex and S* rescued me in a way. Before the ex, I was going through a low patch and I wanted to be rescued, enter the ex. After the ex, I was in a much worse place, enter S, ready to rescue me and me wanting to be rescued.

But this time I don’t want to be rescued. When S and I first split up, I wanted nothing more than him to rescue me. When I felt suicidal, I wanted to tell him and for him to make me feel better, to rescue me again. But actually, that is not what I need anymore.

I want to rescue myself. What a revelation!

I don’t need a knight on a white horse or any of that bullshit. I need to learn to look after myself, not become reliant on anyone else. I’m not saying I don’t need friends and family because I do, but I don’t need someone to rescue me. I don’t need to be a victim forever. I am not passive in my life, I should have the main role in my own life.

So this is me, on a mission to rescue myself. And do you know what? I’m going to be ok.

Love,

Ellie xx

* now this is confusing as both are exes but let’s be very clear – my relationship with “the ex” was toxic and horrible, my relationship with s was happy and safe… It makes me sad to draw parallels between the ex and S, as the relationships were so so different, and yet I am realising there are definite similarities in some ways which I had never noticed before.

Safety net

Scared of being alone,

Missing the way you smile

And how you touched my hair

Wanting to be in your arms,

To be in my safe place with you.

Safety has gone now, I miss him. (I just re-read that sentence, when I wrote ‘him’, I meant S, but saying I miss safety and that S was safety to me is just as true.) I am doing ok most of the time but sometimes I get an overwhelming wave of sadness. Today it was while I drove home from work, tears streamed down my face. No trigger, just the feeling of loneliness, emptiness. I know that it is for the best, I would never have ‘grown up’ and taken responsibility for my own wellbeing if he didn’t leave me.

I am trying to take control of my life now; I made a bucket list for 2018, I have started my CBT for fatigue (will write a post on that soon), I am focusing on the amazing friends and family I do have and even reconnecting with some old friends. I am really trying my best but it’s hard because I am terrified that I will always be on my own.

I miss S and our stupid in-jokes and the stupid names we called each other. I miss lying in bed cuddling while we watched a film and feeling safer than I have ever felt. I can’t imagine getting that feeling again.

I am 24 and I know that is young and there’s time to meet someone, I know it doesn’t mean I will be on my own for the rest of my life, but I didn’t plan for this – I couldn’t have planned for this. My plans and expectations for the next few years down the drain – hopes of moving out and buying a property *flush*, hopes of marriage and children *flush* hopes of safety and love *flush*

Seeing other people with long term relationships is hard, I have hit the age where people are starting to move in together/buy a place together or get engaged/married. It just reminds me what I’ve lost and makes me panic that it’s going to be too late for me. I know it’s silly but that’s how my brain goes.

He was my safety net in so many ways, and now he’s not there, free-fall is a terrifying prospect. But what if I don’t fall? What if I can fly instead?

Love,

Ellie xx

Realisations and pain

I feel so broken. I’ve come to lots of realisations this week about my behaviour and my relationship with S.

I took him from granted. I relied on him way too much, to the point that I can’t regulate my emotions myself. I can’t self soothe because I never had to. And that dependency was something I learned from my previous relationship, the ex really broke me down so I lost all my confidence and ability to look after myself. That’s a long time ago now but it still has its effects. He wanted me to be dependent on him because that’s how he controlled me. Unfortunately I transferred this dependency onto S and I never realised until this week how serious and negative that was.

It’s hard for me to know what to do now; I feel lost. I don’t have a very good sense of self (another thing to thank the ex for!) I find it hard to know who I am and I tend to define myself by my relationships (a daughter, a sister, previously – a girlfriend) and my job, because I don’t know how else to do it. So now one of my major identities is gone, lost.

Unfortunately I think it’s one of “those too little too late” moments or “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” type things. I would give anything to turn back time and deal with things differently, but I can’t so I am going to have to live with it and try and learn from it.

I know my faults – I am very emotional and not good at regulating emotions, I get angry and lose control of my temper, I overreact and I get carried away with my thoughts, making up explanations which are usually wildly wrong. I put myself down constantly and have no confidence, I rely on others for my happiness. I pushed S away, and yet pulled him back, over and over (my therapist described it as the “I hate you. Don’t leave me” phenomenon). And all of it makes sense given my history, but none of it is S’ fault. None of it can be changed by anyone but me.

There is so much work for me to do on myself. Work I was hoping to continue while in the relationship with S, but plans have changed and I’m on my own now to work it all out. I’m glad that I’m still having counselling as this is helpful. I need to work on myself so that I never end up in this ridiculous situation again.

Feeling quite reflective today. Now it’s time for bed.

Love, Ellie xx

And Repeat

I seem to go round and round in circles. For a while things seem to have settled down, weeks, maybe a month. But it always comes back to this. The way my brain works is fundamentally negative. Sometimes I can ignore the negativity, put on a brave face and keep going. But it keeps building up and building up, and eventually I give in to it: All of the negative stuff is true and then I become paranoid, sad, insecure and self-hating. Again.

You would’ve thought by now I would come to expect this to happen. But every time it’s a surprise. Every time, I’m sad again, ruminating in my own negativity. What is this? Some kind of a cruel joke, trying to crush the happiness I’m working so hard to find?

And it all leads to more stuff. One small thing, one look or one comment can suddenly mean that I am a failure in life and no one loves me. It’s irrational and I know it. And somehow that makes it worse. I think This is irrational, I will ignore this stuff. But it comes right back with a painful blow: You’re irrational, out of control. You don’t deserve anything. All you do is mess things up.

And S tries to help, he always does. But it hurts him when I tell him I think he’s going to leave me, when I tell him I’m not good enough and he shouldn’t be with me. Sometimes I think I should just run away, escape from it because if I leave it can’t hurt me (right?) I’m so scared, petrified of being hurt again, being used and left again. But when I’m not in this mindset, when I have my rational brain in gear, I know this is stupid. He makes me happier than I’ve been in such a long time, he cares about me and he’s always there for me and he’s the only one I want to talk to when something happens (good or bad.) I know I don’t want to leave really, but sometimes I think it would be safer. Love isn’t safe, you let someone get so close to you and you know they could hurt you, really hurt you if they chose to. And that’s scary.

So let’s get this negativity out. Maybe if I see it written it will make more sense, maybe…

S was watching a film with a friend, he said that I don’t like the films he likes. It’s true, I’m not a massive fan of action films. But my brain twisted it:

He wants me to be different

I am boring

I’m not good enough

He’s going to leave me

I’ll be all alone

I’m unlovable

No one cares about me

Why should they? I’m disgusting.

I’m too fat, too ugly.

He is only with me because he feels sorry for me

I don’t deserve him

I don’t deserve to be treated right

The ex was right about me

I’m nothing.

And so you see, the thoughts spiral. This is the whole “don’t get on the train” thing from CBT, except I got on the train. Again. And I end up feeling worse and worse. And I get paranoid, because good things don’t happen to horrible people like me so that means something is going to go wrong.

S said there’s only one thing he doesn’t like about me, that I’m so negative all the time. But it’s not a choice. I try so hard to keep going even when I feel bad, I try to be positive but these thoughts, these negative thoughts fill up my mind and I can’t get them out. I’m stuck. I told him I’m still ill and I feel like he thinks I should be over it by now, he said he doesn’t think that. I can’t get it out of my head that the ex always said I’m seeking attention and (my) depression isn’t real. So maybe S thinks that too…

And every time this happens, I speak to S. He calms me down. He tells me he’s not going anywhere and that he loves me. And then some time later, it all repeats…

Extreme moods

My moods seem to be so extreme and I hate it.

Things have been really good with S and I have allowed myself to care, to rely on him, to love him. I have been so happy and even started feeling like things aren’t going to go wrong (a big thing when your thoughts are generally as negative as mine!) But it scares me, it’s dangerous. Because last time I got hurt, last time my love got abused (by the ex.) And I can’t do it again.

And knowing that I’m going to Germany in just over a week, far away from S, is scary. I know I’m going to miss him. I’m scared that he’s going to forget about me (as irrational as that is.) I’m scared that things won’t work out because we won’t have the time to put in the work that a relationship needs. Recently I’ve been feeling like we’ll be fine, and feeling like I know he loves me, he’s not going to hurt me etc etc. But it’s this panic.

It’s the self-destructing part of Ellie that comes out when I’m scared. I get irrationally angry over nothing/everything. I push people away from me because I don’t want them to leave me. I can’t help it, I just seem to do it. And as much as I try to tell myself it’s stupid, it’s irrational, it doesn’t stop it.

Last night I found myself so angry, so upset, with no reason. I felt like breaking up with S, again with no reason. Even though I don’t want us to split up, he makes me happy. It’s just a defence mechanism but it’s not helpful, and I don’t know how to switch it off.

A good day

After last night’s minor melt down, today has been a much better day. Although this morning was still a bit wobbly*, and I was in a stress (couldn’t find things!)

I went into work and they have agreed to give me a few days off so I can go on holiday with S (Yay!) And we did some research, we are thinking of going to Prague! 🙂

Then I went climbing with S, and had my first attempt at lead climbing (where you climb up with the rope and clip it in as you go up rather than having a rope that comes down from the top) so that was exciting (and a little bit scary!) I definitely think climbing is good for trust in a relationship… you are putting your life (or at least your unbroken limbs!) in your partners hands!

I’ve also had further information about my arrival to Germany, so have started looking at flights… This is when it gets really real! I will be flying out there with one of my course mates, so at least I won’t be on my own!!

And my other bit of good news, which is probably quite boring to most people, is that I am (finally) back to the weight (very nearly anyway) that I was before the Mirtazapine! (6 months after stopping that medication!!)

Now it’s time for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner… yum!

*To borrow WeeGee’s word 😛

Mammoth

MammothToday I was feeling pretty low. I have been feeling a bit funny physically for the last few days – lots of migraines/headaches, feeling a bit faint/light headed, feeling really really hot… that kind of thing. And a combination of feeling bad physically and mentally is never good.

So S said he would come over after work for a bit to see me and give me some cuddles to cheer me up. And he did.

We ate some strawberries and ice cream and had some cuddles and talked and it was really nice. It sounds pathetic but it’s the small things that mean the most. I love the fact that  S can just come round and he gets on with my family and it is relaxed and I don’t have to be on edge (like I was with the ex and my family).

And as you can see from the picture at the top of this post, I am now in possession of a new elephant (or more accurately – a mammoth!) S brought me it from work to cheer me up (as he knows how much I love elephants!) It is a little fluffy cuddly toy mammoth and I think he’s really cute! Only problem now is that I can’t think of a name (but I’ve decided it is a him), so feel free to give any name suggestions! 🙂

While we were cuddling and talking I said “Maybe you do actually love me”, because I’m finally starting to think maybe it’s true. Maybe not everyone will be like the ex, and maybe I’m not unlovable – maybe it wasn’t even my fault. And he laughed and said “At least it’s a maybe now.” I know it’s stupid that I am so scared of getting hurt and that I really find it so hard to believe that anyone could love and care about ME, but these are thoughts which have been programmed into my mind for a long time – with the ex, and even before that with the teasing/bullying (?)

I am feeling more determined than ever that I am going to get through this stuff, and I am not going to let the ex win or ruin any more of my life. I can and I will get through these problems. I can and I will succeed and be happy. I know I need to deal with the anger I still feel about everything that happened, but maybe I can use it positively, and use it as motivation and incentive to keep going and stay determined. I can and I will.**

I am so happy being with S, he makes me feel safe and loved and happy. And I love him, I really do and our relationship is so much better (now that I’ve finally allowed myself to feel that way instead of being too scared to get close.) I think my depression/anxiety/general craziness* definitely does affect our relationship but he copes pretty well, and he is very understanding and helping me get through my issues.

Time for bed now, but tonight I am going to bed feeling happy and safe, instead of anxious and scared and paranoid (like last night).

Good night,
Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

P.S. Here is another picture of my (nameless) mammoth!

Mammoth toy

* I hope this doesn’t offend anyone – here I am referring to my irrational thoughts and behaviours, which could definitely be called crazy rather than the mental health side of things.

** This is one of the mantras from my list, and this one often comes to mind. When I’m feeling low or like I can’t do something, I think to myself ‘I can and I will’ and I feel more in control, more determined and more positive.

Strange happenings & arguments

It seems like every time I post something on my blog, something strange happens!

One time, I wrote about the ex, and the next day I received a message from him (despite not having heard from him for months before that!)

Yesterday, I wrote a cheerful post about things being a lot better… And then last night got very upset and ended up arguing with S, and today I’ve spent most of the day in bed and feeling down. 

It’s all very strange.

I know it’s not because I’ve written it. But it does seem that everytime I write that things are feeling a bit better, I end up feeling worse afterwards. 

Last night’s argument made me realise I still have a very long way to go before I’m “better”. I am insecure, scared and worry about everything. I read far too deeply into situations and I expect S to understand how I feel all the time, when of course he can’t. I struggle to keep up with it myself!

During this argument, it came to light that there are lots of underlying issues. And they are not issues with our relationship, but more about me (because of the ex). I am ridiculously insecure, and trust is very difficult. Even though S has never given me a reason not to trust him, I always imagine these “what if” scenarios, and I expect him to find someone else (like the ex did). 

He went out with his friends while I was away, and it was something he was planning to do when everyone was home, but he did it while I was away. I can’t help but see it as him not wanting me to be there. No matter how much he tells me that’s not true. Then it comes down to me thinking he’s embarrassed and ashamed to be with me, and that’s why he doesn’t want me there. The more I think about this, the more it snowballs until I’ve convinced myself that S is just going to hurt me (just like the ex did). 

They are not the same. They are completely different people. I need to remember that.

Not everyone treats people the way the ex did.

I find it very difficult not to blame myself for everything, and not to over-analyse every detail of everything. 

Recently S has said things that he hasn’t said before. Nice things, about wanting a future for us, and being in love with me. But for some reason it scares me. Because you can say the right words but it doesn’t make things work. The ex said all the right things, and treated me like crap. He made me feel like I was nothing, like I was lucky that he put up with me, and now that’s how I feel about myself. 

In my previous relationship, sex was a given. I guess I thought I had to, that it was his (the ex’s) right in a way. And sex was something I could give him, to make up for all the crap he had to put up with by being with me. Sex was how I learned to show love (that’s what my relationship with the ex taught me, anyway). But he didn’t love me. He said all the right things, but he hurt me and he used me. He made me into this mess, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces, even though we split up nearly 2 years ago now…

S still says sex is not important, that it doesn’t matter and he doesn’t mind that I’m not ready. I just see it as me letting him down again and again. I am ashamed of myself for not being able to give him that, the one thing that he could get out of being with me (the way I see it anyway). 

I hate arguing with S. It makes me so sad. It hurts too much. We don’t argue much, but when we do it’s because of me being insecure, me over-thinking everything, me over-reacting. I want to stop. I want to be “normal”, whatever that is.

I wish I could have a normal relationship, where past memories don’t affect the present, where I’m not scared of being left behind, and where S doesn’t have to make all these allowances for me. He never complains, ever. He just takes it, he just puts up with all the crazy ways I react.

I know he loves me, I know I’m lucky to have him. He makes me happy, or happier than I’ve been in a long time anyway. So why don’t I let myself trust him? Why don’t I let myself believe the things he says? Why do I question his motives all the time? I just wish I could get over the past, then maybe I could live in the present.