This post has become a bit of a troublesome thing. I wrote it and sat on it. I edited it even though I promised myself that I would stop editing out all the things that hurt me but also things might also hurt others to read. Several friends have finally opened up to me and my writing but they all say while they enjoy it and that I’m so very brave, it is also very hard to read. But then there’s a cheeky fucking imp in my head saying “Try living it for 50 years!”. So I shall plough on but please understand that the last two post were mainly dealing with the past. The genesis of my depression. This one is all about patterns and triggers and more recent events that have lead me to the most severe mental breakdown yet, however I must also say that I am proud of myself too as I didn’t actually collapse into a spewing mass of non verbal gloop. So some progress. But revisiting trigger events is still subjective and I need to maintain a healthy distance from all I am writing.
It’s time to look at my autistic spectral habit for pattern spotting in everything. Numbers, letters, colours, words, music, shapes, speeches in fact I see patterns everywhere, all day and I love them on the whole – except wallpaper. The repeat pattern of wallpaper is so fast and clumsy that it makes me recoil in fear of being trapped in its repeating miniature motif for eternity. I would sooner vomit on a wall than hang wallpaper. Especially troublesome is patterned paper on staircases. This can be so oddly phasing as you climb or descend that it makes me nervous that I might stumble and fall like Laura Ashley. Did a repeating pattern ultimately cause her demise? Sorry poor taste joke but that’s my bad head laughing sickly again.
I recently took up the kind offer of a room in a house with a rapid repeating wallpaper in their kitchen, Brighton houses. It’s repeat was so manic I asked the son and his girlfriend to help me paint-over the noise of the pattern with a single clean tone of green. Luckily we all got away with it. Haha. The kitchen is a calm world of bread making and plant based baking.
Patterns, patterns did I mention patterns? As a small child I was not at all keen on repeating patterns. I hated playing ritual games over and over again. I yearned to play creative story role-playing games where a new adventure was made up each time you played. Until I lost my libido this creative role playing made me the most incredible and attentive lover! Playing tag or hide and seek was just too mind numbingly boring for me. And yet as I grew older and ever more stressed by the traumas I suffered in my youth, I required repeating patterns of behaviour to bring me some kind of comfort to my shabby existence. But constructing complex patterns can be incredibly relaxing for me.
Patterns are one thing but triggers are a far more debilitating thing for me and often cause emotional breakdowns that I find impossible to move on from. This often leads to my walking away from things or people as I cannot cope with the memories of sad moments acting over again as triggers for another breakdown. A poor choice economically was when I stopped teaching singing. I now find the experience of trying to teach singing so full of sad emotional triggers that I cannot return to it. Even though I am often called upon to step in with my expertise to help out folk with problems it just make me so stressed and desperate. (Here is the first of one of those moments where I worry the truth might hurt another and I want to edit it out but it is my life and without expressing this I am not being truthful to my cause to reach out to others by explaining how I feel hurt. Deep breath and know that I bare no grudges.)
A very dear pupil and friend who I adored teaching, shouted at me one afternoon on the way to a rehearsal in the back of her car. Up until this moment we had had a beautiful friendship and a loving caring supportive relationship. But I have always made it a rule that nobody is allowed to talk down to me, ever. My bubble of love and kindness towards her popped. My desire to defend and support her broke instantly but I didn’t shout back as this is not the way we should ever speak to each other. Instead I retreated into a world of bruised silence. I stayed for the evening as she had a dinner event at her house with her full band but went home the very next day and never returned. Even though she told me that evening that she loved me it was too late because I’m a principled fool. It triggered a bout of self-hatred which took me a long time to recover from. She wouldn’t have ever intended me harm but my head does weird things. When she had her brief outburst with me she implied I wasn’t doing enough to earn my salary. I was being paid less than half my daily rate, as her producer was abusing his position so everyone else was paid less than their true value to inflate his own ego. But as I adored her I was willing to accept the low pay as I really did enjoy helping her find her voice. And sharing so much beautiful laughter with her. When I worked alongside her she really did sing with the most incredibly beautiful and emotional voice. I was more proud of her performances than anyone’s. Confessing this now I realise that I am truly sad that I can no longer help her sing.
These tiny moments all add up to a greater whole that seemed at the time so traumatic for me that I had to stop as a voice coach. I withdrew from teaching. Eventually I withdrew from my partnership of 27 years. I then withdrew from London and went home to Hastings to lick yet more wounds and cry too much alone. And I withdrew entirely from life. Why do I allow people I am so kind and patient with to hurt me so very much to the point of feeling like an emotional cripple? I can only guess because I always hope naively that I will be appreciated for the incredible work I do for everyone. I ought to stop hoping for that. I now wonder remembering this as I write if she knows how much pain I felt then but that isn’t really her problem it is mine. That pain is my own sad amplification of the type of incident that cripples me so often in life. Maybe I am just too sensitive but I can’t seem to stem my empathy and my need for stable kind friendships. Nobody ever says thanks for anything I do to improve their lot. So I tend to go on to hate myself even more for always being so open and kind to everyone. What a dumb arse I always become.
Major trigger warning alert. Selling my house and giving away everything I owned ever was a terribly cathartic experience. Like being the executor of my own estate only I wasn’t dead. Except my house was my security and with my house being sold a small part of my soul died causing a deep and significant collapse in the darkest recesses of my fragile psyche. But I tried as ever to hide my hurt. I did not want to sell my house as it was my only constant and my security for the future. After I gave up the singing teaching I expanded a small cleaning company to quite a major operation but the billionaire property company I cleaned for got a bee in their collective bonnets. They needed to change all the cleaning companies for newer ones who would agree to hand over cash sums to the employees oiling the wheels of the tendering process and supplementing their already inflated salaries.
Sadly they took all my contracts, all my staff and refused to pay me £20,000 of unpaid invoices that they had lost in their over-complicated system of shuffling unpaid bills from pillar to post. Their cruelty was handled with such grotesque vigour that I became quite suicidal as my entire life was dismantled and destroyed by them. My accountant had to write off the twenty grand and I had to sell my only asset, my comfortable home to pay the bank back. And worse still I had to send my dogs away to live again with my ex as I had no home to house them in anymore. Dogs are still a crippling trigger that I cannot remove from my fragile psyche as I miss them so entirely. This still makes me very sad almost daily when I see people and their dogs. And all for the greed of a company worth billions of pounds. Fingers crossed Karma will reward me for this pain inflicted on me. We worked beyond the hours they paid us to keep their properties above the standard of cleanliness required. I was so dim to assume that almost two decades of devotion to their company counted for anything. The tough lesson that I had to suffer among all the others. Handing over my staff to the new companies and knowing that they would all slowly have their contracts taken away too was a horrible time. I cared so much for all my staff.
So without a home or a job I thought I would have a big long holiday. I have worked so hard my entire life that I had not had a holiday since I was 7 years old on the Isle of Wight. I was 48 years old now so I set of for Europe before my UK passport became a dirty word. I began to blog here about the things I saw, the patterns of life in different places and the joy of foreign cultures and peoples. The only problem with travelling was being separated from the man I loved. I just wanted him there with me all the time as I felt incomplete without him. I was so blindly in love with him that I sadly didn’t notice that he was actually happier when I was gone. I clearly can be such an emotional knob-head at times but it hard to see the wood for trees when you have had everything you ever fought to create taken away from you by a business so powerful I couldn’t even afford to take them to court. They had stripped me of everything I owned.
So I set off homeless but free to travel. I decided to try and observe all the security blanket behaviours and patterns that I had clung to all my life and to break them. I hoped that my man would love me more for growing and changing. He once said he was frightened of patterns and I worried that if I didn’t change he would stop loving me. It was such a long hard task. The earliest pattern was my desire for drinking a perfect coffee. Now that I had no home I couldn’t make coffee each day the way I loved it. I used to spend hours in foreign cities searching for that perfect coffee experience yet it never really came. I tried apps and asking locals but no cup was hitting any sweet spot. Eventually I just woke up and smelt the actual coffee. I saw the futility and stupidity and decided that I would enjoy the coffee however it was made or roasted or served. And that simplified my mornings and my moods.
Then it was an endless series of other habits that I had to identify, observe and conquer. Habit after habit I smashed, hoping that my love would notice the changes but he didn’t. He had moved on and found new loves and I wasn’t part of his life anymore and I still couldn’t see it. I was seeing the pattern of abusive behaviour that I always accept from everyone in the hope that someone might really being care about me or maybe adored me. I just wanted one honest faithful friend and yet I was being used over and over again by everyone I met. My futile stupid generosity towards everyone was just biting me in the arse again and again. When I returned from Peru to shower my love with gifts and presents that I had searched so hard to buy him and had carried around for weeks he told me within half an hour of my returning that a new friend was coming for Christmas with him so would I clear off somewhere else? I did. I spent Christmas totally alone pretending everything was fine, blogging about wonderful Christmas foods with nobody to share them with. But this was my fault for not opening my eyes to the truth staring me in the face.
I am so embarrassed that this pattern of hoping I had found a best friend and lover to share life with was a falsehood. I’m also embarrassed that I feel like a crazy stalker waiting for him to see how much I love him. He won’t as my love for him was clearly suffocating. This crazy need is another pattern I attempting to break as it always seems to leave me feeling alone in life. Yet I still stand there hoping to be loved for being just me. Wanting to feel adored by just one special person. I just want my lover to say “See that man there? He’s the most wonderful man in the world and I love him”. I cover my face with shame as I type all these tales from my past as seeing them in black and white is frightening. I just took so long to see that I had lost my precious man years ago to my depression at losing my business and house. Yet I wasted my time and money giving him space to enjoy his new friends with me out of the way. What a deranged plonker depression makes of us.
Mental health can be so costly in so many horrible ways that can just keep hurting again and again. I cannot even speak to him now as looking into his eyes that made me soar with confidence are currently the biggest trigger to my tunnel of sadness. Knowing that I have lost the man I most loved ever is so overwhelming that I really do so often want to slip into a permanent sleep and never wake up which is that old echo from feeling my brother deserved to live a better life than I could. But instead I have finally woken up and though everyday he is sadly still in my mind I will get better. Recently I had my first day in six months where I didn’t think about him for the entire day. I congratulate myself for that. I also know I should hate him for not telling me when he stopped loving me but I just can’t. I still love him so much that it makes me cross I cannot stop loving him even though I know it is over forever. And this is a problem with mental illness. Moving on alone to better patterns.
So unbelievably I have started going to the gym 5 days a week for 2 hours everyday. More surprising is that I really enjoy it. I get up at 5.15am and walk 4km to get there. I feel fantastic. Anyone in Hastings who is looking foe a gym with more than just weights and machines I would recommend Trojan Gym up on the Ridge. The owner Ashley showed me a series of cross fit exercises that I love doing daily.
I’m not gaining any bulk or nice-shaped muscles but I do feel much happier and fitter. I’m told I look much better and slimmer but I can’t see it yet. Eventually I will I’m sure but the important part is that my head feels so much better everyday.
This has a lot to do with having cried all day on my 50 birthday and waking up to the emotional pain. I just felt so isolated and miserable that I had lost the greatest love of my life and he didn’t seem bothered at all that I was utter broken. Still trying to look on the bright side I will say that he has undoubtedly given me vast deposits of good future karma in my lucky karmic savings account. The gentle kind dumb optimist in me is learning to stand back up and to try and make new friendships based on absolute trust and kindness. I have been a fool lavishing money on a person who never gave anything back to me emotionally. A harsh lesson yes but one that I am learning to be grateful for. Even though a part of me still loves that man, I am determined to get over the hurt one day. I hope. For now I’ll keep hammering away at making a new and happier me.
This article is worth a read folks. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46320445
I am now attempting to make new and supportive friends. But it is hard when you approach life like a 50 year old child with unrealistic expectations.