As Desperate As An Ice-Cube In Hell

I thought about turning on the TV tonight, but I can’t get my head around watching it alone. Since my separation, I’ve hardly really watched TV at all. Which is weird, because it’s not like me and Ex really watched anything together toward the end anyway, mostly because we couldn’t be in the same room as each other. I vaguely recall spending most evenings either beading with my headphones on or laying in the bath for hours with a bottle or two of wine, while he either slept on the couch in front of the TV or skulked off into his shed to pretend he was busy.

Before it got like that, back when we did watch shows together, it was always what he wanted to watch. Typical male king-of-the-remote-control stuff. He would fall asleep and I would gently pry the remote out from between him and the cushion. I would slowly turn the volume down before changing the channel, hoping that the sudden shift from one show to another wouldn’t startle him awake. There’s an art to it, but I never mastered the skill. I invariably failed and would receive a glare and a, “I was watching that.” He would reclaim his precious prize, switch the channel back and nod off again.

Now days, if I’m faced with the challenge of deciding what to watch, I’m like a crippled little lamb. So mostly, I don’t watch anything except for The Walking Dead. If I’m with someone, I can watch, but I can’t make the choice. Even if there’s something that I want to watch, I’ll concede to someone else’s preference. It’s part lack of confidence in speaking up, and part being so desperate for company that I don’t want to risk them deciding not to join me on the couch.

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You see, I’m stunningly needy. I’ve only just come to realise this. I’m fairly certain that everyone who has ever dealt with me has been long aware it, while I’ve been existing as a shapeless mass of oblivious desperation. I’m horribly lonely, even when I’m not alone. I require constant reassurance that I’m a good person, a good mother, that I exist, that I’m not losing my mind, not a burden, not a hellish mash-up between The Blob and Freddy Kruger.

When someone doesn’t want to spend time with me, I “know” that it’s because of who I am as a person, or how I look. If someone rejects me, I feel like hideous monster who should be shunned from society. Conversely, if someone chooses to spent time with me, I feel like maybe I matter. If I’m lucky enough to spend the night with someone or be shown affection of any sort, I start to think maybe I’m not so bad. So I crave touch; a hug, a hand resting on mine, any kind of gesture. It’s not romance or love that I want, it’s just the feeling of being worth…. something. Hell, some days, I would be happy to be punched me in the face just for the sake of human contact, some kind of acknowledgement that I’m here and I matter. And that’s not a healthy way to be.

I’m learning a lot about myself as I work through this process, and most of it isn’t great and it hurts like Hell. But all the same, I’m glad that I’m figuring myself out, so that I can work on fixing it. Three steps forward and two steps back is still progress. Eventually, I’ll have found all the little pieces of me, I’ll cut back the rot and I’ll be content to be me. I’m not going to get any younger or prettier, so best I start learning to accept myself now before I’m a lonely old hag preying on handsome young Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on my door, insisting that they have one more cup of tea.

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24 Hour Depression And Why It’s Not All Bad

*Written earlier in the day, feeling much better now, think it’s passed*
My mood is fragile today. A thing happened that shook my confidence and I feel worthless and unappreciated. My empathy levels are too high and the struggles of others are tearing at my soul. Some of the time I feel pulled, stretched and taut. Other times I feel limp and empty. And tired, always tired. I thought my post winter depression was over. This feels like a one day-er. They happen now and then. A day of stupidity, to interrupt the usual flow of life. I don’t mind one day trips into the abyss, they’re a good reminder that I no longer spend months at a time there. That’s a blessing.

Today I’m incapable of being productive.

“Depression” by Mary Locke

I’m craving human contact and comfort, but a noisy part of my brain I telling me that I don’t get that anymore now that I’m single. This is a stupid thought because, in reality, I never got that when I was married either. I’ve gone too long without affection from an adult human and I feel like a dog thats been left chained to a fence and neglected. That noisy part of my brain also likes to tell me that I don’t deserve the affection I want/need, and that makes me feel a little sick.

I recently met a new friend who is affectionate and tells me nice things about myself. My mind struggles with the idea that someone thinks these things about me, and wants to spend time with me, and so I came to realise that my self esteem is still incredibly fractured, beyond what I thought it was. I’m grateful to this person for making me aware that my self-image is skewed, and also for giving me the gift of feeling good about myself during the rare moments we are in each others company. To find a friend who is a kind and genuine person, around whom you can be completely yourself, is rare. It’s nice to know that my naive faith in the goodness of humanity isn’t entirely misguided.

I know myself and my depression so well now, I know I will be better tomorrow.