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July 6, 2021

Sadness. F#@*, it sucks!

We are all just humans muddling our way through life and trying to figure out our place in this world. Some days are beautiful and others knock you for a six. Heartbreak and loss are those experiences we have to go through and can send you at Mach speed into a pit of despair.

So what do you do when you’re in a state of overwhelming sadness?

Well, I’ve started to share and to write. And let me state I’m not a full time writer. I can string a copy together when required, but it certainly isn’t my current day job. Forgive the misplaced commas and all the broken syntax rules. They’re as messed up as my current emotions.

I’m hoping writing stops the hundreds of thoughts that are running amok between my neurons and causing a debilitation in my body. I’m hoping it creates some order and structure to what I’m feeling and helps me to somehow just feel a little bit better. Even if it’s just for a moment.

You see, I lost the person that I believed was the “one”.

Yes, the “one”.

Quite a proclamation in a world of so many possibilities, and highly questionable from the “one” looking back at our journey from his experience.

Just to provide clarity it’s a break-up. Not death. And not to make a comparison between the two. Loss for any of us is traumatic. Just fucking horrendous. Heartbreak is violent and torturous to your existence. It beats you every which way and the pain you feel inside is excruciating.

I get that I am grieving. I understand the process. I can intellectually comprehend the human condition of grief. One can simply search on Google and there are thousands of articles and videos that can tell you how to deal with this terrible affliction, and how through time it will eventually subside – I will state though, sadness never goes away in its entirety, it’s always lurking in the shadows.

You see I’ve been here before; I know this feeling. It’s familiar.

So, my question is, if sadness is familiar to me, why does it get worse each time I experience it?

Besides the current situation, I think the answer is two-fold. Residue and surrender.

I’m a quite a flawed human that makes and has made so many mistakes, some consciously, some not. I admit that a large part of this loss is directly linked to my actions, decisions and shortcomings. So, the sadness is not only at the loss and failing the person I love, but also a sadness for failing myself. So, sadness often has a root in one’s own recurring self-blame and running script.

For me it’s the familiar failings that are the residue. The sticky remains of previous failures and losses that are subconsciously stuck somewhere in you. The small amount of sadness that always remains after each time you have managed to find your way out of the darkness of the last trauma.

The residue resurfaces with a great force and knocks you for a six, adding additional chaos to your already derailed mind. As if the ‘why’?  The ‘what if?’, the ‘if only’ aren’t enough to bare, you are now dealing with the absolute loathing of self. Doubting your value and self-worth and recounting all the failures of the past.

The thought of carrying on is at war with your mind and sadly, some of us don’t carry on. I admit, there has been one moment in my life when this did seem like a viable alternative and an option this time that crossed my mind when the sadness has been at its worst. I found the inner strength the last time not to succumb by calling a friend and I did the same this time.

‘I should have’, ‘I could have’, are re-occurring beratements. (When in truth the words are, ‘I should not have’.)

You feel like an outright failure in your sadness, and that just makes you even more fucking sad! If you don’t feel like a failure to yourself, you feel like you failed the other person. And the ultimate admission to self is you simply failed again!  As you get older I think it may be a bit worse, the cumulative effect of age and time. What the fuck!

The residue needs to be scraped and this re-occurring failing script needs to be shredded.

I want to be practical and logical about this all. The Google search self-help way. But it’s a bit difficult to feel better reading and following a ten point ‘getting over it’ list when you surrendered so much of yourself in a deliberate attempt to never experience this feeling of sadness again. (I get that it’s Utopian to never experience sadness again, but I contain the sentiment to this experience).

That part where I said, ‘I’m flawed’ and ‘make mistakes, some consciously, some not’. I really did try and surrender in overcoming my flaws and be very conscious to my shortcomings. Granted, I’m forty-five and the adage, “Can’t teach a new dog new tricks’ may apply, but fuck, I worked damn hard in surrendering to my internal opponents.  I did kill a few. But I made a lot of mistakes still. And these mistakes will provide for a lot more introspection and self-correction in my healing process and life going forward.

More importantly, I surrendered at a relationship level, into another human, way deeper than I have done before, and that makes the failure of this really disheartening and desperate for me. To surrender into another person requires letting go of a lot of your own and natural desire for control. I admit, surrender is slightly skewed because it’s measured by yourself and not necessarily something seen by the other person. For it to be seen, your actions have to match your sentiment.

So, yep, I didn’t get it 100% correct, I didn’t even pass. But if surrender is about accepting, receiving, about breaking down those inner walls that block your ability to see what is in front of you, I was getting better at it. I had effected the change. I still made mistakes, held up parts of the wall, and got so much wrong, but I was hoping I had more time on my side to surrender even more into the “one”. I thought this relationship was the ‘forever’ one. That the journey was going to be longer. Longer to allow for more surrender, more evolving and growing.

So, when I combine the residue and the surrender to the reality that he is no longer in my life in the way I had pictured, hoped and longed for, it is the most horrendous feeling of sadness and despair. Hard to deal, hard to comprehend and hard to survive. It just fucking sucks!

I am at best in this sad state able to fill a swimming pool with my tears, at my mediocre, barely functional, and at worst trying to purge, claw, hit, rage against and numb the feeling inside.

I have always said when the feeling of sadness hits at its worst, it’s like the scene in Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, ‘Alien’. The scene when the creature jumps out from John Hurt’s stomach. Its horrific, grotesque and just darn right scary. That’s sadness for me. It’s this feeling of this this alien lying in your core waiting to break through and devour your life force, and when it does you are lifeless to its existence and presence. Pretty much fucking dead!

This ‘Alien’ scene is my reality. But the sadness is not isolated to just that. Every moment I’m dealing with something else. Sadness in its quietest moment is raging an internal war. Shooting explosive shrapnel that is ricocheting and breaking through every part of my mind and killing every part of me that is seeking shelter. There’s nowhere to hide, nowhere to seek cover.

Whilst seeking cover one is dealing with;

Hysteria. Every second, thousands of questions, thousands of memory playbacks, thousands of conversations never had or to have, thousands of adventures never going to happen, and a million intimacies just gone.

So over. So overwhelming. So sad!

Denial. It’s 1 April. There’s no chance in hell this is a joke, but in my sadness, I’m running through all potential scenarios that make it seem unreal. It’s just a bad dream, right? Fuck, no chance of that. When last did I sleep? Exactly, it’s not a dream. We just having some space. He’s away on a trip. He’ll be back in a few days. No.

So over. So overwhelming. So sad!

Hope. Check the WhatsApp top bar to see if he’s online?  Is he ‘typing’? Is there a message? Pick up the phone, start typing a message, delete the message. It’s over, he’s dealing with his own sadness. He’s not going to message or phone or arrive at your door. We just need time and space then it will be okay! Step and repeat!

So over. So overwhelming. So sad!

Distraction. Netflix on. Scroll, play, watch. Scroll, play watch. Netflix off. I don’t even know what I just watched.

So over. So overwhelming. So sad!

Self-sabotage. The photographs! Fuck, the photographs. I know better than to look at these. But we innately like to self-sabotage. When we are feeling shit, we like to make ourselves feel shittier. I scroll through the pictures. Reminisce. The memories. No more experiences to be had or memories to be created. Fall to the floor in a thousand little pieces. Gather and assemble myself with flailing arms knowing that this shit is going to happen again – probably in the next 45 minutes. What the fuck? Another photo. Step and repeat!

So over. So overwhelming. So sad!

Self-destruction. Somewhere in this séance of sadness you hope you hydrated. Pour another glass of wine. Because water does fuck all to numb the pain, alcohol does. For the moment only. Drink till you sick, that’s always a good idea. Maybe it will help me sleep. I need sleep. I can’t sleep. Drown the feelings. Poison them. Make them stop. I want to pass out and not feel. Step and repeat!

So over. So overwhelming. So sad!

I’m a mess.

Sadness is horrible. Grief is horrible. Loss is horrible.

So where does this all leave me? Unfortunately, I have to go through it, get through it.

I doubt myself. I can’t, it’s too much.

I have to deal.

I’m dealing as a first step to write. As I said, to try and gain some order to all the thoughts and feelings that run through my mind.

Secondly, to document for myself, the horrible reality, the end of a journey I thought would last forever (naïve at forty-five, I know) and the feelings associated in this loss as part of my process to heal.

And thirdly, to share. Not dirty laundry, but my humanness. To share the normalness of being human and the emotions that we all at some time go through. This is unlike me. I normally share with one or two close family members or friends and isolate and retreat into myself (the truth is, I normally retreat into self-destruction). ‘I can fix myself!’ I have always proudly proclaimed. (Let’s not talk about pride in this fuck up. That’s another area of self-examination still to be done.)

I have chosen not to be alone in my sadness. I have retreated back to a place of safety where I have the most support from family and friends.

This time around, and the current time we are living in there is much sadness. I forced myself to go to the office this week, and in my own vulnerability it opened up conversations from work colleagues around how tough this past year has been. So much loss has been experienced from jobs, to relationships, to death. And you realise how we so often suffer and endure our pain in silence.

So, I guess at its simplest, if someone else reads this and is experiencing something similar, it’s about you knowing that you are not alone in what you are feeling and experiencing. And, as much as I don’t believe it myself, it will get better!

Let me say it again. Sadness sucks. It’s horrible. It’s debilitating. It’s messy. And I hate emotions. Emotions are just fucked up! They fuck us up! They fuck me up! They are the biggest part of why relationships fail, because we don’t know how to deal with them and we are ill-equipped in how to talk about them. We are embarrassed by them. I wish to a certain degree we never had to experience and feel them, particularly ones like sadness.

Most of us are emotional retards, carrying feelings of mass destruction. The implosive and explosive power of our emotions is nuclear. Unspoken and not dealt with, our emotions destroy – ourselves and then those closest to us. Our emotions drive our behavior and our responses. No wonder we are doomed to fail. There’s very few of us that have our shit together. We are all great pretenders though.

When you sad everyone tells you to be gentle on yourself. That’s just impossible. In reality you are in a raging torrent. At moments pounded against the rocks, getting battered, scraped, concussed. Being carried by strong currents to which you have no control, sucked under, gasping for breath, drowning. Arms reaching, thrashing about in your attempt to hold on to something, a branch, a rock, anything!

Sadness is simply not gentle. It’s ruthless. It’s violent. It’s malevolent.

But the river eventually slows, and the rage of the torrent calms, and this is where my sadness will flow. It will. I know. But it’s going to take a while. I just need to ride it out. Who knows for how long?

Right now, time doesn’t matter.

I have lost my partner, my lover, my friend.

I have lost my teacher. My oh my, my greatest teacher.

I have lost part of my dreams, my hopes, my pictures.

I have lost my champion, my believer, my cheerleader.

I have lost my sense of direction.

I’m powerless in this sadness for all this loss.

He is significant. He is monumental.

And I didn’t tell him or show him at all.

I’m sad for my failing, behaviour and selfishness.

I know better.

After getting this far in this writing process, I am realising there will always be residue. But we do have a choice in what residue remains. And that is based on how we deal with ourselves in learning from our experiences. It also depends on what your life script is saying. Do I want to change my script?  Or stick with the narrative I have been running most of my life?

And on surrender, I’m realising you can only truly surrender if you change the script, but changing the script requires a surrender too. Surrendering into the acknowledgement of your own faults, own repetitive self-sabotaging behaviour and let’s call them at this point for lack of a better word,  ‘issues’.

It seems complex. But it’s not.

I either step and repeat, copy and paste, or I don’t.

I either choose to learn, grow and be better at being better, or I don’t.

This journey with the “one” has been my greatest experience in love, in learning, in growth, in surrender, in acceptance of self, reflection of self, and I hate to say it … in loss!

I am going to miss him.

I am going to miss this beautiful, extraordinary human.

I need to be sad at the moment in all this significance. I need to grieve this loss. I need to mourn the loss of  ‘him’.  I need to acknowledge my heartbreak and feel it, not numb it, try to ignore it, or self-destruct in it.

For this moment in my life, this sadness is required and deserving, no matter how horrendous it feels. This is okay for now.

I will exist for a period with this alien inside until it is ejected, and I will keep my head above water till the torrent slows down to a gentle stream.

For now, it’s minute by minute, then it will be day by day. The sadness will pass. I will have residue. What that residue will be is dependent on me and how I deal and tackle all that is revealing itself about myself. I need to surrender into myself and edit my script! I need to step from outside myself into myself.

I say quietly to myself and to whomever else needs to hear this right now, ‘You are not alone in your sadness’. It offers no resolve or comfort really, but I can say that in my familiarity of sadness it will get lighter as you surrender into yourself.

I made my bed again today!

(The writing has helped. It has managed to slow down and ‘organise’ all the hysteria, longing, missing, questioning, berating and hurt that is raging in my head and heart. It has provided an outlet to put all my feelings down, so the sadness doesn’t overwhelm. It has provided objectivity to myself for myself, and bizarrely objectivity to ‘him’ for ‘him’. It has provided me with side bar topics that I have noted down and will need to explore to be better at being better. For those feeling the same, I hope you find a minute, even if it’s just a minute, to catch your breath. Sadness is horrible, this I know.)

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