Thank F**k That’s Over…

This review of 2018 is more a way of me taking stock of everything than telling all my readers about it. It’s a way of trying to make sense of what has been a pretty chaotic time.

Where to start? At the beginning I suppose. The first couple of months of 2018 went like most others in 2017. My relationship was falling apart and I was trying to get to grips with my new job. To be honest, January and February are something of a blur. I think I was just going through the motions and each day kind of blended into the next.

It was March when everything changed and the ride began. The hammer of inevitability struck. Just a couple of weeks after my son’s third birthday, his mum and I brought our relationship to an end. We’d been on a rocky road for a long time and neither of us was happy. She hadn’t been able to get over my misdeeds, i.e. my cheating on her a few years prior and texting other women, and I felt like I was trapped by her distrust.

Not once have I defended my actions during our relationship. I did a lot of things that I shouldn’t have done. She maybe didn’t handle the situation as well as she could have done, but the simple fact is that she never should have been in the position to handle that situation at all.

So, I moved back to my parents’ house just before my thirty-fourth birthday. We quickly settled into a rhythm of me having Caellum every weekend and seeing him a couple of times midweek too. This seemed to be working alright until June when the holiday to Turkey came around. My mum, who is fighting terminal cancer, took a bad turn with her mental health and everything suddenly changed. She missed the majority of the holiday due to her breakdown. Worse still, on a personal level, was that she felt it best that Caellum stop coming to stay for a number of understandable factors.

As you can imagine, this made things somewhat difficult where my ex was concerned. The only way I could spend proper time with Caellum was by staying there again at weekends. A lot of the time this was no problem as my ex and I do get along; however, it was tough in the respect that we were both still trying to move on from the relationship and being around each other made that difficult. There were times where the tension could have been cut with a knife.

To coincide with all of this, my own mental health took a dramatic turn for the worse. Depression, something I suffered with for a while after Caellum was born, and anxiety hit me like a tonne of bricks and my life descended into a dark and deep hole. My confidant was a person I’d got talking to properly in late 2017 and she became a crutch I depended heavily on. Her support stopped me slipping deeper into the mire.

When she suddenly had to take a step back, things got worse. In November, I actually began to go through phases of suicidality despite the fact my mum got through her bad patch and I could start to have Caellum at my parents’ house again. I’d never before felt like I wanted life to end and it was a horrible sensation. There was no way I’d have ever acted on my feelings for the simple fact that I’d never willingly see Caellum grow up without a father. Honestly though, that was the only reason. If not for him then I daresay I’d have gone through with it.

There were four or five bouts of these suicidal feelings. The final flirtation with them came one day in work, a couple of days after my ex had announced, quite out of the blue, that she had got into a relationship with someone. I’ll admit that this caused a clusterfuck of emotions to surface; anger, despair, jealousy, uncertainty, and fear to name a few. The sensation that I wanted to end it all hit me while I was sat at my desk and it came over me greater than it had before. I don’t cry easily at all, yet I was fighting back tears of anguish and had to disappear for twenty minutes to compose myself.

That was the day I decided the self-pity and self-flagellation party had to end. I knew I couldn’t go on dipping into these dalliances with suicidal thoughts, so I stopped. At the time of writing this, 11:42 on 31st December, it’s been two weeks to the day since I felt so low as to crave death. I’ve had my down moments, but, in general, I’ve felt much more positive.

In general, 2018 has sucked balls! It’s had good moments, such as the aforementioned family holiday in Turkey, watching Caellum continue to grow and develop, and making new friends. In the main though, this year has been awful and I’m glad to see the back of it.

There are going to be changes in 2019. I’m not going to wax lyrical about them here. The time for talking is done. It’s time for action. I won’t be the guy to drone on and on with oft-spun platitudes about how things will be different. Instead, I’ll just get on with it. I need to stop chasing validation from others and start making myself proud, feeling satisfied with what I do. That’s been one of my main problems in life. I’ve always sought the approval of others in every single way, which is why I’ve made so many silly mistakes. When a person lacks confidence in themselves, they’ll go to all kinds of extremes in order to get it, much in the way an obsessive compulsive will perform certain compulsions in order to provide temporary relief from an obsessive thought. The compliments or nice actions of others give me an ego boost, though the euphoria lasts only so long and I soon go in search of more. Perhaps what I have is in fact OCD. Hmmmm…

Anyway, continuing to assess and evaluate my mental health and then applying fixes to remedy whatever issues I have is the way I’m going to work from now on. I’m not going to allow myself to slip back into a downward spiral of self-pity and suicidality. The time to start respecting myself and allowing myself to feel pride in my achievements is the way forwards. When you hit bottom, the only way is up. As Tyler Durden says in Fight Club, it’s only when we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything. 2019 will be a better year; I’ll make sure of it.

13 thoughts on “Thank F**k That’s Over…

  1. This was a tough read that pulled on my emotional strings…it’s really positive that you’ve put everything into one piece of writing. I find summing up and reviewing and reflecting really helpful. The nice thing about looking back on a year as at least you have a full narrative from beginning to end. You can chart it all from one month to the next and see the trends and milestone moments, but when you’re living it, it’s so hard as we don’t know what the ending will be. I know that suicidality is incredibly tough. There is no worse pain to feel, and I feel for anyone who feels it. I’m so sad that you had to experience it. Its encouraging that you’re seeing signs of a recovery spark in you. It doesn’t mean it’ll be plain sailing…But thank fuck there is some improvement. You may feel worthless and inadequate, but those feelings are not facts. I’ve been conditioned and brainwashed to feel those similar things too and I have the same kind of needs for affirmation and attention and reassurance. I often label myself as pathetic for wanting these things, but these psychological drivers are so powerful (and so bloody common too). What is less common is the insight to realise these shitty things about ourselves rather than being mindless and unaware of them…so insight is a great first step. I don’t know if I’ve ever said but I’m loving Matt Haig’s book. Reasons to Stay Alive. It’s one of my fave books. Please take care because you’re so worth it. X

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    1. I think you have mentioned that book before, or at least the author of it. While Caellum exists, I’ll always have a reason to stay alive. It’s about paying attention to all the other countless reasons to stay alive too because there are many. It’s easy to ignore them when you’re on a downer. Some of them require more work than others. As for affirmation, it’s nice to receive it from others, but if I can’t respect myself and allow myself to feel pride in my achievements, irrespective of how small, then the praise of others is null and void. My writing and this blog are my babies and it’s up to me to nurture and grow them, not other people. I’ll continue to do that in ways I feel are right and not sell out for the sake of a few more cursory likes from randoms who like every post they see in their reader. You’ve always been an inspiration to me for the way you honestly cope or don’t cope with your mental health issues. It’s okay not to be okay, just so long as we know why we aren’t okay and use it as a springboard. People like you and I always bounce back. They can’t get rid of us. Fuck em! xxx

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      1. I like that sentence about coping or honestly not coping. I try and keep it real. I’d love to be someone who is unaffected by feedback that is either good or bad. I’d like to just feel secure, and self validate my own worth. Sounds like we’re on similar paths. There was a list in the Matt Haig book of other people’s reasons to stay alive; and they were vast, and all so different. Some stay alive for their pet cat, others so they don’t want the illness to win. I think aliveness is hard, and the greatest lie we are told as kids is if we work hard and be good, that we’ll always be happy.

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  2. I am so very glad you pulled through the toughest of times that 2018 threw at you. Those periodic feelings of thinking about hurting yourself are so scary. As you know I’ve had those thoughts too, and it is so terrifying. I am really glad you fought against those thoughts!

    Caellum is so lucky to have you as his dad, and we in the blogosphere are lucky to have you around!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At some point, when having these thoughts, logic has to kick in and you have to think, “What does harming/killing myself really solve?”, and you quickly realise it solves nothing at all. It just creates mess for people who care about you.

      I don’t know how lucky people are to have me. Some may disagree with you. Nevertheless, I’m here and I’m doing it my way. That way may not attract the many, but it attracts the best. Present company very much included in that 🙂

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  3. Oh, Paul….
    2018 knocked you around quite a bit and my heart hurts so bad for you.
    But you came through it. You are literally an inspiration. I have a feeling, now that you’ve taken the gloves off, that 2019 is going to be YOUR year. You’ll be doing the winning, not it. I’ve been telling my writing mentor about you and I was like, “I literally can’t wait to see what he does this year. I just know it’s going to be insane (in a good way).”

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    1. I’m flattered that my name came up in a conversation with your mentor 😊 I wish I had a mentor. It’d definitely help. One way or another, I’m going to make sure good things happen this year. I need to get back to my agent/publisher searches and work on my submissions. I’ll schmooze the narcissistic MFers from here to kingdom come! 😂 Thank you, as ever, for your unwavering support. I treasure you! ❤️

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