Normalising the Sadness

My fineness didn’t last too long. I have been bouncing around for far too long. Down for weeks; up for days. I’ve been trying to come to terms with a relationship ending. Some say that the grieving process of a relationship is much like the grieving for death. I have to admit that for me personally, though deaths are traumatic, they are permanent. I don’t hold any supernatural beliefs. I do not believe there is a heaven or hell waiting for me. I do not believe in the ghosts of the dead beyond the imagination of the individual. Death for me is permanent. The energy that created me spent 14 billion years not being me, I’ll be here for a relative fraction of a blink, then I’ll not be me again forever. That’s the permanence of my death. Once those who die are gone. They are gone. Destined to be recycled and dissipated in the Universe. While I am here; their ghosts live in my imagination. They bring a smile to my face in remembrance. Every thought a celebration. But, this is where grieving the end of a relationship is different. Neither of us is dead.

It’s not like grieving death at all for me. Perhaps it is similar for those people who still believe in the supernatural. Who still believe that they can communicate or reconcile themselves with the dead. Those people have my empathy and sympathy. They do not need to feel the way they do. I do not want to belittle what they feel because the pain is the same. The only difference being that my ghosts are real. I still see her face. I still know her thoughts. I still know what she is doing. They are not memories. They are a life running parallel with mine. A life I have no impact on. A life I value so dear, but must endure its dematerialisation again and again and again. I want to talk to her. I want to feel her; hold onto her. You could be confused by my talk. As much as she is a ghost to me now; I am as much a ghost to myself. I remember who I used to be only 9 months ago; and he is equally a phantom. I can’t hold onto him either.

I went to sleep last night feeling hopeless, and I’ve awoke and continued that way. My mind is just a hum; a synesthesic power-line. It feels like there’s a precarious drunk finger resting on the volume. A weighted slip one way; and my hum becomes an unbearable din that’ll result in an impulsive flick of the power button. I mean death by the way. Suicide if my analogy is too overly poetic. And the other way, well, that’s just the silence and pretence of the status quo. Nothing changing. I wish I could see me rising like a phoenix from the flames, but I can’t. I feel broken. I feel like as long as I am that fraction of a blink I am always going to be reminded that I’m broken.

You may, or may not know, that I’m a proponent of science. I trust the scientific method’s endeavour. Although psychology isn’t as confident in its theories as physics or chemistry say, I do trust those established hypotheses to supply a route to conclusion. The one that I keep coming back to is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief. I come back to this because the outlined phases of the grieving experience are well tested and adopted in psychological assessment. I have to admit that I’ve seen these stages so much now that they no longer have much meaning. Like my ad blindness, they have just become a whisp of incoherent colour in the background. Even now as I try to absorb and relate, I might as well be looking at a Jackson Pollock painting. No opinion; just a meditative stare at work of art.

So, here I am. I want to understand Jackson Pollock. If there is a profound meaning, a release from the hum, then I want to know. I am going to tackle each stage and relate it to myself.

1. Denial

Apparently, in this phase the heart rules our belief system, rather than the head doing so. This is a little vague and subjective for me. My heart just feels like its aching. It says that even though it is known that the relationship is over, I really don’t believe it. This is true for me, though it doesn’t fill me with any hope to know I’m still rooted in the first stage. I have said before in a past post that our circles are firmly intertwined. I cannot avoid her. I still hope she will talk to me. I still hope she will wrap her arms round me. I still hope she will tell me she loves me. Can you see? I hope for what I know I will never have. It is my hope fuelling my hopelessness… maybe. I know the truth, but I continue to entertain the fantasy. I suppose I do understand the heart’s rule really. It just makes no sense. I still hope things will work out. Within the clear indications that it’s over are the remnants of what we used to have. The promises I made to her, and the belief that the promises she made to me are still as deeply felt as mine. I still love her; and I still want to believe she loves me too. I want to say that I know she doesn’t love me. I want her to say she doesn’t love me, but I’m afraid she’d tell me she hates me instead. I am still in denial.

2. Anger

Anger is a strange one. I am only angry at her for not talking to me. I feel she has left me hanging. I don’t know what I did wrong. I don’t know why she stopped loving me. I am just full of questions. I know she knows I’m full of questions and I’m angry that she won’t give me the opportunity for answers, or even the opportunity not to ask the questions. I just want to hear her voice. And I suppose that’s why the anger I have for myself is of a magnitude far greater than what I can have towards her. I know that I’m the problem. I am the cause of my sadness, or my demise. I get angry at myself for being selfish. I get angry at myself for feeling entitled. I get angry when I find myself hating. I get angry at myself when I’m jealous, when I expect something, and most of all I get angry when I see her smiling. My relationship with her was born out of altruism, and all I really want is for her to be happy. I know that her relationship with me was born out of emotional desperation. I really hate myself for wanting to perpetuate that scenario. I suppose I’m angry that she never thanked me or told me that I was a beautiful human being for loving her. I felt beautiful at the time. I’m angry that her beauty was taken from me, and that I’ll never be beautiful again. I wish I could just rage and scream and hurt myself, but I repress this anger. I internalise it into self loathing. I’m angry because I need her.

3. Bargaining

Bargaining is said to go hand in hand with denial. It’s the act of trying make the relationship work through negotiation and/or threats. This whole idea of bargaining seems like something I’ve bypassed altogether. I’ve never consciously tried to negotiate. I only negotiate with myself. I tell myself that being benign and invisible is the best thing to move forward. Not much of a negotiation, but it’s been enough to frustrate the shit out of me. Like I said I want to rage and scream and physically hurt myself. As for threats, well, I would never threaten her in the sense of intentionally physically or mentally abusing her. That’s just not me at all. I even repress my call for help and support in case this might be construed as an abuse by her. She is such a beautiful human being. I would rather die than take her back to where she was when we first met. I would rather die. I wish we could still talk…

… That last sentence sounds like a negotiation doesn’t it? The one before it sounds like a threat? Another reason for my self-loathing.

4. Depression

I am in no doubt that I am depressed. What kind of depression though? I have no idea. I have tried making connections, or should I say self diagnosis, by revisiting my past and through research and comparisons to others. I’ve encountered major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder, but they really make me feel like a fraud. I mean all I am is still in love with someone I want to love me back. I feel like I’m exactly that dude that people would say ” What’s wrong with him? He’s depressed? He doesn’t know what depression is. He just needs to pull himself together. What; it was all over a girl? There must be something wrong with him.” Even though that reaction is one I retaliate against in defence of the legitimacy of other’s feelings; I cannot apply it to myself. I feel a fraud. I have sought no clinical diagnosis. I feel like a fraud. Despite reaching and doubled this 3 month ‘get over it’ threshold, I still cannot take myself round the doctors to ask for help. I dread the thought of being told there’s nothing wrong with me. I dread the thought that I’m not detached enough, my sleep patterns are not troubled enough, I’m not empty enough, disconnected enough, desperate enough, hopeless enough, suicidal enough, and being told that as long as I’m eating and exercising I’ll be fine. I’m worried I’ll be told to get out and stop wasting the doctor’s time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no pushover. Even in my desperation and low self esteem I know what is right. I know when people are being horrible bastards. I know when people are being cruel. I will still fight. I’ll fight because I think of that scenario being applied to someone else. I think of a doctor saying that to her. I’ll fight for her. I’ll fight for you. I just don’t think I could fight the feelings inside myself from hearing that. I want help. The only problem is I only want her to help me. She is the only one. The thought that it’s only me to help me leaves me desolated. I feel hopeless today. The past two days of relative freedom seem like someone else. I don’t know how that person did it. This inability to move on perpetuates itself. I feel like I’m never going to be free of it. I know I must be wrong. I know I will probably be all right one day, but that doesn’t help. There’s no comfort when the thoughts that consume me now threaten to truncate my fraction of a blink. I should seek help.

5. Acceptance

This is the only glimmer, though I have little proof of its prolonged onset. Here’s one arbitrary quote regarding acceptance “… this is the phase in which we are able to make peace with the loss. It doesn’t always come on suddenly; it often happens gradually, little bit by little bit,  interspersed with some of the other phases.” Now, I been here for 6 months. I’ve been interspersed so fucking long it’d be a joke if it didn’t feel so tragic. Those other phases are there all the time; they never go. I read all this lot out like a chronology. These stages are like a fabrication. It’s totally delineated. Here’s more quote “… there is almost certain to be lingering sadness.  Acceptance entails making peace with the loss, letting go of the relationship and slowly moving forward with your life. Sometimes it feels like this phase will never come, which usually means you’re still struggling in an earlier phase.” How’s that for a ‘Get out of jail’ card?

I’m sorry; I feel like this is antagonising me, despite it really being solace. I don’t want to be cynical; cynicism scares me. I suppose I do think I will be okay. I just become frightened by the darkness. I really do love life. I don’t care if you’re a jet setter, an adrenaline junky, a charity worker, bone-idle, a bookworm, homeless, a professor, incapacitated by illness, or even a sociopathic politician. Every life is important. Every life is precious; even mine. When someone dies there is always one Universe less than there was before. Well, perhaps I revisit acceptance more often than I thought.


I guess I just need to carry on carrying on. Though, there seems to be one thing in the 5 stages of grieving. They never once tackle the fact that someone may not want to let go. I suppose this acceptance will eventually win and I’ll be destined to some form of latent sadness for the rest of my life, but I do not want to stop loving her. I want to love her. I can’t shift that. My want, my love, is that which continues this grotesque round robin. How can it end? How do you stop loving someone? How do you want to stop loving someone?

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