It was where I belonged.

Over the next few meetings with my psychologist we dove deeper into me being me and why I am the person I am. I began to feel like I had never thought so much about life and what it all means like I had over the past 12 months. I was spending an abundance amount of time on my own that my brain was literally on over drive with every possible thought and every single memory of the past 10 years questioning myself, my beliefs, values and importance.

I remember my anxiety and depression getting worse and worse. I was good at hiding it most of the time, but sometimes I didn’t want to face the outside world. I didn’t want to talk to family or friends and I would bottle everything up and keep to myself. I tried to make every day a new beginning and start fresh, but something would happen or a thought would pop into my head and it would take me straight back down again.

I remember talking to my psychologist and asking why I wasn’t moving on as quick as I thought I should be. She said “look, it won’t happen over night because you are mourning a loss, and, mourning a loss of someone who is still alive is a different kind of mourning”. It was the loss of my relationship and there is no time frame on it. I could take all the time I needed and no one can force it on me. I know a lot of people in my life just wanted me to move on and be happy, but I was really struggling. I felt like I had taken 10 steps backwards in my life, and they all swiftly kept moving forward.

A new gym was opening close to where I live, I thought about joining but questioned if I would actually go. I have always, for as long as I can remember, struggled with my weight. A close girlfriend of mine who is also my oldest friend said she had joined and encouraged me to go. She said we can go together and if each of us was going the other would be more determined to go, so I joined. I had lost some weight for my girlfriends wedding but soon put it all back on once he got home and I fell into depression. Since then, it has been a big struggle to lose it all again and this rollercoaster of weight loss has been going on since.

I started seeing some old friends that I used to go to school with and I felt like hanging out with ‘new’ people did me some good. They were from a different crowed and I felt like I was able to ‘start fresh’ with these friends and get to know them again. We did different things to what I’d usually be doing with my other friends and I was always laughing when I was with him. Laughing is my most favourite things to do in the world. For that moment, I forget about all the pain I have been in and I’m happy.

Mid May he went away again, this time to Canada. I felt like I had no right to get upset this time, we weren’t together, he was a single guy and was able to do as he pleased, but… I got upset. When he told me he was going, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. He was going to be away for about six weeks and again, missing my Birthday. He left a few days before what would have been our anniversary. That day sucked, a lot. I tried to pretend it was like any other day but I couldn’t help but remember how we celebrated two years ago. Paris, breakfast in bed, strolls through the streets, Eiffel Tower by night, my heart literally ached.

About a week before he left, I decided to start this blog. It wasn’t something that I had been thinking about for a while, it was spontaneous. Something for me to do in order to get my story, thoughts and emotions written down. I felt like the people around me were sick of me talking about him, me, anxiety, depression and life. Again, that’s my anxiety kicking in, and I’m sure my friends and family were always happy to lend an ear.

We saw each other the morning he left, we talked about what day was coming up and I tried not to get emotional but I knew my eyes were tearing up. He said the date is something that he will always remember, something he wont forget. He still cared about me and always will. When he was leaving he gave me a hug and I couldn’t help but cry. I don’t know if it was the fact that he was leaving or the fact that being in his arms was something I had been missing so much for so long and that when his arms were around me I felt protected and loved. It was where I belonged. He told me not to cry and everything was going to be OK. Was it? I hoped so. I hoped that I was strong enough to move on sooner rather than later and to work harder at being… just me.

Like I have said previously, every night before I’d go to bed, I was determined to make sure that the next day was going to be my day, I was going to wake up and work hard at so many things in my life. Eating better, working out, working hard with my photography and promoting my business and being happy. I read all the ‘self help’ books in the world and saved every motivational quote I came across. For a split second or a few days I was so motivated to get out there and change my life, be a bigger and better person, successful and ultimately, happy.

As my birthday was approaching, I wasn’t at all interested to celebrate. I couldn’t help but remember my pervious birthday and thinking I can’t wait until he’s home next year to be with me to celebrate. I wasn’t interested in anything anyone wanted to do, I was happy to be with my family and have a quiet celebration.

I tried to organise just a small dinner with three of my closest friends and nothing seemed to go right, they weren’t available on the night I wanted to go so I decided to just go out with one girlfriend. I can’t explain the feeling, I was happy to be celebrating, but I felt a gaping hole in me. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it, so I stitched it up and headed to her house. She asked if her fiancé could come, “Of course I said” after all, ‘Its just the three of us’.

Boy, did I get a shock when I arrived…

Just me.

Being the new year, I was determined to make it so much better than the last. I knew things couldn’t change overnight, but I was sick of feeling sad all the time and I was desperate to be happy, so, I decided to make an appointment to see a psychologist. I figured if I was able to speak to someone who knows nothing about him and nothing about me and my life it might make me understand where I went wrong.

I booked my first appointment and off I went. I felt sick I was so nervous and, I got there forty-five minutes early!!! I had no idea what I’d say, how much I’d say or where I’d even start. After filling out some paperwork, she welcomed me into her office and I sat down. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. Why on earth was I so nervous?

“So… what would you like to talk about” she asked. Blaaah!!! Nothing but word vomit came out of my mouth, I pretty much started at the beginning and told her where it all started, what my life was like, how happy I was, what I was doing for work, my family life, friends, him, everything. I could see she was sitting and staring at me, taking everything I said in. She didn’t write a lot down, but when she did it made me think twice about what I was saying. Did I do the wrong thing? Is it my fault? Am I a bad person? Should I have done more?

By the end of the first session I thought I’d feel a lot better. I imagined feeling like a whole weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I’d come out of there with a clear mind, but I felt nothing. I didn’t feel better, or different. I was glad that I was able to say what I needed to say without feeling judged. But as for the pain and uncertainty… nothing.

I spoke to my mum and told her how it went. “Yeah, it was okay” I said. I don’t like talking about things like that with my parents, I don’t like the fact that they feel my pain when I’m sad or upset, they shouldn’t have to feel it too. I really thought that after being on medication and seeing someone who I would magically feel better. She explained that these things take time and they don’t just ‘magically’ happen over night.

I remembered the whole rollercoaster conversation that I had been having with one of my closest girlfriends. I braced myself for the road to come, but was just so desperate to get to the end where everything was ok and I could go back to feeling normal. I knew it would take a while, but I was so eager to finally get there. Day to-day life became a little bit of a struggle, not all the time, but sometimes I would feel really unmotivated and unhappy. There were days where I’d really miss him, and just want to be with him and I wouldn’t enjoy the company of the other people I was around.

Back at the psychologist I started talking more about me and where I went wrong in life to be feeling like this, I always thought I was a good person and would go above and beyond for anyone in my life. I felt like I was being punished for taking everything for granted. Was it because I was stubborn? Or always took him for granted? Picked fights over the smallest things? What? Where did I possibly go wrong to end up the way we did?

Over the weeks my anxiety was getting worse and worse. I couldn’t stop putting stories in my head of what people were thinking of me. “Look at her, she deserves to feel like this” “Sucked in, she thought she had her whole life planned out” I couldn’t even get in the car without getting anxious at a traffic light in fear of what the people next to me were thinking. When I get anxious I go quiet and don’t want anything to do with anyone around me. I want to sit on my own and process everything. This often comes across as being in a bad mood, or angry and really annoys me. Everyone has a different way of dealing with it, I don’t judge them, so why should I be judged?!

I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the past 10 years because reality was finally starting to hit home. I was alone, without him. I thought I had come to terms with what had happened, but boy was I wrong. I began to put on this front around my friends and family that I was dealing with it all. I wasn’t. I was a mess, I became a professional at pretending I was ok, and pretending I was having fun when I was out, pretending to have this smile on my face. I decided it was just easier to tell everyone I was moving along with life than sit there and have the same old conversation with them over and over.

Whenever I saw him on the odd occasion I felt instantly better. We celebrated his Christmas at his family friends house and I loved every second of it. It was like nothing had changed. I missed him, a lot, and I felt like he missed me too, but he was already happy, he was going to be OK so I needed to be ok.

I realised that this was the beginning of a whole new chapter of my life. I hadn’t been alone in 10 years, and had never been just me, we were always ‘him and me’.

Do I even know how to be… just me?

When The Clock Strikes Midnight.

Christmas if my favourite time of year. It’s when my whole family gets together and has a great time. We have it at our house every year and most years we spend it sitting by the pool and having an amazing lunch prepared by my parents. This year, however, I felt a big hole inside me. He wasn’t there. I know there were a few christmas’ where he was away, but this time he really wasn’t there. This killed me.

I wasn’t planning on doing anything for New Years. I couldn’t help but think back to this time last year where I announced to everyone, “This year I will become Mrs…” I felt so stupid and almost betrayed by my self that I had actually allowed myself to think something that amazing would happen to me. 2015 would have to be the worst year of my life. I lost my boyfriend, my partner and soul mate, but I think what was effecting me the most, was the fact that I lost his friendship. Don’t get me wrong, we were still great friends, but to me it was different, I felt he was the only person on this planet to really get who I was, and who I was really able to be myself around and it killed me that I didn’t have that anymore.

I didn’t plan on celebrating New Years Eve this year, I felt like I didn’t have anything to celebrate, for the past 10 years we have celebrated together and this year I just felt so lost. I had been invited to a few of my friends parties, but nothing that interested me, my brothers were going to be out and my parents were away. I was quite happy to sit at home on my own. I received one last phone call from a friend where he was able to convince me to go to a party he was going to. It made me think, I could either sit at home feeling sorry for myself or I could go out and have a good time with a few friends.

On the way there my anxiety was absolutely going through to roof. I was with one of my friends who was doing her best to keep me sane, but deep down I felt like I was going to crumble. Upon arrival, I felt the party atmosphere smack me in the face and at first I didn’t appreciate where I was, I just wanted to go home and be on my own. “Why though?” I kept asking myself, here I am with my friends, having a good time and enjoying everyone’s company. It’s so much better than where I could have been.

I couldn’t stop thinking about him, he had asked early on in the week what I’d be doing and when I said nothing, he really encouraged me to go out with friends and enjoy myself. When I found out that night that he was at home and not out celebrating with his friends, my heart almost shattered. Here I was, celebrating with a lot of his friends, and he was at home. The guilt I was feeling could have swallowed me whole. I decided not to let it all get too me too much and try to enjoy my time at the party.

I really tried my best to enjoy my time and put a smile on my face. I really felt the love from all my friends around me, I tried so hard not to bring the mood down, I don’t know how well of a job I was doing, my anxiety felt like it was so visible. When I get anxious, I go really quite, I don’t like to talk to anyone, I would just rather sit on my own and absorb my own thoughts and feelings, this makes it quite difficult when I can’t escape from people and I have to interact with them.

My girlfriend made sure I wasn’t alone all night, her and her boyfriend made me feel needed and wanted when I was feeling the complete opposite, I tried hard to enjoy my night with them, but couldn’t help feeling a little third wheelish (Now, however, I kind of consider myself as the third person in their relationship. Ha!)

The clock stroke midnight. I wiped away the tears rolling down my cheeks hoping no one would notice and hugged and kissed everyone whilst we let off some fireworks and toasted to the new year. My girlfriend grabbed me by the hand and took me to a quite place, she just hugged me a let me cry. Part of me felt so stupid and guilty for ruining a good party for her, and part of me was so thankful that I was with her and not at home.

Not long after midnight, I left that party and went past my other friends house where she just had some family over and a couple of friends, as funny as it sounds, I really felt the love that night from these two girls, they were adamant that I wasn’t going to spend the night alone and only insisted that I get out of the house.

I made my way home and as soon as I sat down I couldn’t control the tears. I think because I had just come from two houses full of people to an empty house, I went from a real high to an even lower low. I couldn’t stop thinking about ‘this time last year’ and how in a space of 12 months I was in such a different place. Somewhere that I never, ever imaged I would ever be. I thought this year, we’d be celebrating together and we’d be so happy that he was home and excited for the year ahead.

I was so desperate to be happy, but all I kept remembering was the ‘roller coaster’ I felt like this was only the beginning and I had to prepare myself what was to come.

How do you prepare for such a thing?