Getting trapped inside your own head with nothing but torturous thoughts is never a healthy place to be. As the April of 2013 faded into May I found that I was becoming more and more introverted. Riddled with self-doubt I began playing little games in my head to see if I was imagining problems that didn’t exist. They did.
Megan and I had a plan to work on us, I had been trying to tackle my problems at work yet still getting frustrated. Most of the time I just felt like I couldn’t do anything right anymore and somewhat powerless to make any changes with my life. I wasn’t myself anymore and people were certainly beginning to notice.
I’ll openly admit that I’m far from being a domestic goddess so after I had agreed to help more around the house I soon let things slip again. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly messy or lazy I just like to do things in my own time, at my own leisure. Then there are some tasks altogether that I would gladly put off for a lifetime. Like washing the dishes.
When Megan didn’t respond to our compromise and the little things we had agreed to try for each other began to slip or not even start, when I was left feeling isolated and neglected I guess I didn’t care so much that I hadn’t kept my end of the bargain. I wasn’t the only one with a broken promise. The biggest difference was that I had tried.
I arranged dates for us, when the weather was nice we made the effort to get out and go for a walk or have dinner in a park. More often than not these days however it was a means to an end, a change of scene to stop the conversations about how shitty things were getting between us.
I slowly stopped even talking about how I was feeling, since it wasn’t getting us anywhere. That’s when I really withdrew from everyone around me. I pretty much stopped talking to nearly all my friends, I wasn’t as outgoing at work, I just wanted to get to the office do my job and go home, I didn’t have time for anyone while I was trying to sort through the mess in my head.
My biggest problem was self-doubt. I knew something was wrong but I wanted to prove it to myself, it wasn’t enough for me to just feel it and act on it, I wanted to be certain that what I felt or suspected was right. I started playing stupid little games in my head, like I wonder how many days will pass before Megan says something nice to me, or kisses me with any degree of love or passion.
These games are dangerous, if you’re playing out these games in your head day after day I might say you’re already fighting a losing battle. I didn’t realise at the time just how self-destructive the thought process alone was, putting myself under the microscope like that, trying to justify every little emotion and feeling was taking its toll. I didn’t know myself anymore, I’m a rational person but I couldn’t make sense out of how I was feeling, I constantly questioned myself about whether I even had realistic expectations anymore.
Megan slowly began to blame my behaviour on my past experiences. I could see the logic in that, since my previous relationships had all began to fail the same way. With a gradual distancing while we were still together, all the while when I was trying to fix things my girlfriend (of the time) was simply lining up the next poor sucker. Sure, I was worried about history repeating itself.
Being told that you’re imagining a problem that isn’t there is awful. For one thing, no one can ever tell you how to feel, I have a right to feel sad and unhappy when things don’t go well for me. I didn’t like that the woman that claimed to love me, who promised to never make me feel this way was trying to tell me it was all in my head. I was mad at myself too, because for a long time I believed her.
I have very clear ideas on what my relationship cardinal sins are, it can be explained in just one word. Infidelity. Whether physical or emotional I will never make any excuses for it, and as an emotional person I find that I’m quite attuned picking up on emotional shifts in people around me, as a logical person I want to know why.
It’s these little thought processes and games that get so malignant. I couldn’t concentrate on anything anymore, I didn’t even care about anything much anymore. I felt like I was on auto-pilot. No wonder I was beginning to really struggle at work, I couldn’t remember the last time I had really enjoyed myself, that made me feel even worse.
I know I wasn’t easy to live with during this time, I knew that I was expecting a lot of Megan to put up with me with whatever I was going through. Megan couldn’t see that my problems with work were because of how much things between us were playing on my mind, but she did hear about my problems at work.
When I couldn’t talk anymore I started writing. I wrote little notes to myself, things I wanted to say out loud but knew there was no point. The future was beginning to look very bleak, I remember writing about not being able to imagine a future without Megan, but not being able to see a path forwards at that time for everything we had once dreamed up together.
The games kept playing out in my head. I kept analysing every look, every conversation and wondering if things might get better. We wanted time apart to appreciate each other more when we were together, we promised each other that we were both still in this. We promised that we would try to find our happiness again.
I’m not a quitter, I tried to keep my promise. Yet the games had begun, it was me against myself. I couldn’t win and I couldn’t lose. I thought I had dealt with my demons and left all my baggage at the door when Megan and I had gotten together, with full disclosure about my relationship expectations. Yet, here I was again being told it was all in my head, that I made the problems up, that I was my own worst enemy. I began to believe it.
Self-doubt, it’s a terrible thing.