Tuesday, September 06, 2011

How I Kinda Lost It and Why I Love the NHS

Lately I've been thinking a lot about coping or rather, coping mechanisms. When confronted with stress, trauma (of any sort, really) or emotional torment, how do we cope? Apparently I use humour (or so I'm told BY PROFESSIONALS, no less). Others may turn to self-abuse: vices such as booze, drugs or porn. Or maybe depression. Or worse - they don't cope: they simply deny. Others may simply avoid any such situations that may provoke anxiety.

The thing is, when you're not coping - and here's the beauty of the human brain - you don't actually know that you're not coping. And it isn't until something goes spectacularly awry, that you may even realise that you're not actually coping. If you realise at all, of course!

I've been thinking about it because it wasn't until only recently that I realised myself that hey, maybe I hadn't really coped with the trauma of leaving my ex-boyfriend. Or rather, hadn't coped in an entirely healthy way. You see, after breaking-up with him, I immediately thought, "I NEED TO DATE AS MANY MEN AS POSSIBLE NOW!" Why? Avoidance of the real issues at hand (that shit was intense). And avoidance of my emotions and what was happening (basically no one gets me and I'm going to die alone, surrounded by cats). And I was terrified that maybe dudes would never be attracted to me again (nah, they still are - LOOK AT ME!)

I know I haven't written about the break-up of my four year relationship with my ex and that's for a number of reasons.

1. Are people really that interested? I know I would be but that's because I'm a nosey bitch.

2. Despite everything that went down, I do need to respect people's privacy, even if they don't deserve it. So, it's difficult when people ask, "what happened?" because I can't actually say what happened (I mean, I can. You got 30 minutes? Problem is - I just don't want to get into it). He and I will always know what happened and I suppose in a way, that's enough. I usually give some generic response which almost always leads people to assume that someone cheated or was done wrong. Folks, don't assume that because we're not cheaters - maybe just fraudsters.

3. I'm still coping.

You see, this past weekend my friend, Erica, confirmed as much. She said to me, laden with meaning, "people don't realise when they're not coping." Indeed, it wasn't until only recently that Claire, one of my best pals, said to me - on numerous occasions - that for those first few months following the breakup, I was not well. And she's right, I wasn't. At the time, of course, I thought that I was. I thought that it was perfectly acceptable to go out on a date with FOUR DIFFERENT MEN in SEVEN DAYS (hey, just dates!) I thought that it was perfectly healthy to not eat for days on end and sleep limited hours. I thought that it was normal to go to Berlin for a long weekend and drink in jazz bars alone (actually, that was awesome). When clearly, I was avoiding the real situation - you know, realising that my entire four-year relationship wasn't what I thought it was; that I was in love with someone who was incapable of loving himself; that I had been emotionally supporting both of us with no one to support me. And so on. I could go on but damn, that's what the NHS psychiatrist is for.

So, in two words: NOT COPING. Looking back, it is evident to me now that I was not well. At the time, of course, I kept repeating my personal mantra that I was "fine, everything is great, I am doing exactly what I want!!!" Now, I'm better but still healing. Actually, no; I'm great.

Although I feel like an entirely different person to who I was six months ago or even a year ago, I actually feel more like myself again. And for that, I'm grateful - to my amazing friends, to the NHS and to this blog; it's been cathartic ranting and raving on here so, thanks for sticking round. Even if you just tried googling, "date scottish men" and somehow ended up here.


Anonymous said...

Time is what cures all. Over time things do get better, Maybe not easier but they do get a bit better.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a few months now and I really enjoy it! It took me 10 months to REALLY feel fine after my breakup (2 years ago), so hang in there, you're doing a good job coping, much better than I was :)

Anonymous said...

Just think it's the good time to leave a comment: Ive been reading your blog for few months now and I just love it, the way you express yourself...you're just so talented! hope you aware of it :)
(and I know I don't know you but you seem like a great woman, you've done so much in your life...moving from Canada to Scotland on your own and deal with so many things again on your own...come on, that's quite amazing!) In a nutshell: You're a source of inspiration somehow :)

Jennifer said...

What a lovely comment - thank you so much! I'm honestly touched and a bit embarrassed! Shucks. x

Hailey said...

I keep coming back to your blog because you're honest. Fuck, you're a real person HAHA That is really refreshing! As a blogger myself it is scary typing it all out but know that there are people out there coping...or maybe not coping with similar things. So, thank you.

Jennifer said...

Hi Hailey - thank you for your comment. To be honest, I really debated about putting something up about how I struggled at times with mental well-being. But you know, fuck it, because I know there are loads of others out there who can relate. Thanks for reading. x

Jessica said...

I can SO relate to the ideas behind supporting someone who isn't supporting themselves emotionally. But I know you know that already.

And I'm glad you didn't open up a little more about it until you were ready, but that eventually you're breathing it out a bit, part of the healing process.


Jennifer said...

Thanks, Jessica. It's been difficult - at times - and just being honest has helped me. A lot. Other times though, I kinda look around and think, "what the fuck am I meant to do now? SOMEONE TELL ME!" I think I got it sorted now. I think....