Another dark Thursday evening. Another cold Thursday evening. At least it was dry though. The trudge from the station to therapy this time, for once, will be in dry clothes.
That is perhaps the only consolation. Since the last time my heart has been repaired, I was lifted, soared, then brought back down to earth, heart broken into a thousand pieces.
The previous week I sent a valentine text message, not thinking there’d be any reply. Except I did. “Where are you? I f*****g love you.” We spent the evening talking, the following Saturday morning together in each other’s arms, talking of where to move in together, days out, my mental illness. All was well again.
Since then, though, the familiar no texts, no calls answered, no e-mails, nothing. After five weeks without hearing from her, and then another 5 days from her declaring in my arms she would never leave me, I get that sinking feeling.
All I can surmise is that she’s gone off with someone else and can’t bring herself to tell me. It’s the not knowing that’s killing me though. I keep hanging on in hope, but know it’s the end of the road for us. I’m still in love with her, though, so the pain is almost unbearable.
I sit in reception, having found solace in the dark, unlit pavements getting there, wanting to just disappear from the world discreetly. I must have been giving off some signals, because a much younger woman, who I’d never acknowledged much before, thinking that she wouldn’t have much in common with someone a generation older than her, sits beside me.
We talk through my smashed up heart and screwed up emotions. In return I listen intently to how stressed and anxious she becomes at everyday things, and how it affects every facet of her life, creating a vicious circle. It’s probably done more for us so far than 3 weeks of group therapy, those 15 minutes in reception.
As we go in, there’s a fourth different therapist in four weeks. To be fair, one of them has always been there, but there other therapist changing every week has an unsettling effect on the group. You can hear the sighs as another one introduces herself, bouncing off her colleague and talking t us in yet another entirely different way to the week before.
It’s very apt for me this week as it’s low mood and depression. I’ve hardly been lower than I am now. My Depression Krypton Factor this week is 22, 16, and 29, with a stress level of 7. I’m marginally less stressed, balanced out by being more depressed. I wonder why.
We’re given a case study, Emma, and shown a vicious circle, where you think something bad about yourself, so feel down, so are unable to do something, so thinking something bad about yourself, etc, etc.
I’m trying to listen but my mind wanders, inevitably to who I refuse to call my ex and hang on by the merest thread to hoping her still being my girlfriend. There’s also increasingly serious debt problems and other things.
My mind is a mush. Being forced to jump onto two trains, and that long walk, in the cold and dark, is doing nothing to help. Try as I might to do the exercises suggested by the therapists during the week, real life comes along and digs me in the ribs more.
We are asked to fill in an aspects model form, which I cheerily fill in about how I brought in the New Year. The thoughts, images, emotions, and behaviours are pretty much where I am this very moment.
Next up is a problem list. I list out seven of them, with a goal to aim for to rectify them. Nothing wrong with that. My aspirations of solving them are so low I have nothing to lose.
There’s also behavioural activation and trying to prioritise them. I have 16 of them to my surprise. Disturbingly, I’ve listed snuggling with my girlfriend as medium difficulty. When she’s left you it’s actually impossible but I’m so in denial, even though broken hearted and knowing it’s over, that I can’t help but write that in. This is hopeless.
We go through 10 steps of beating depression, and something to do with a clown face, and also a flower, but I’m too lost in hurt, lost in the way my life has fallen away, that I don’t take it in. I wish I was in a better place. Literally as well as mentally.
I walk home in dark, eerie silence, trying not to make eye contact with anything but the pavement, the platform, and the window on the train. Four weeks into group therapy and all it’s done is made me feel gradually and gradually worse.
I have to keep trying, though, have to somehow take in what the therapists are saying and apply it to everyday life. If I don’t, I realise, I’m sunk. And I can’t even swim.
Eventually I reach home, and head straight to bed. At last I can dive under the covers, and hopefully drift off into unconsciousness, away from my mind, away from my thoughts, away from the pain, away from the distress. But I can’t avoid it, it’s there.
That sinking feeling.