So I was shocked two years ago when I fell into depression for the first time and didn’t feel any emotions at all. Even when the depression began to wane, it took a while for my feelings to come back. And when they did, even though I knew I was feeling SOMETHING, I wasn’t always sure what it was or why.
I actually never put it together until right now, but that was about the exact same time I went out with Boo for the first time. I had known him for about a year and had actually avoided him for a while because I thought he was kind of weird, but after we spent a long time talking one night setting up an event, we kind of clicked.
He sent me a brilliant Facebook message later that night that said, “You have a beautiful smile. But I think you’d smile even more if you went out with me.” I mean!
We had an amazing first date. He picked me up on his motorcycle and we drove past Christmas lights as we went to Loca Luna for dinner and a salsa dance class. (I was embarrassingly terrible – and sweaty.) Then we rode around nighttime Atlanta on the bike and I wrapped my arms tightly around his waist. We stopped at Fourth Ward Park and walked arm in arm, and he stopped and picked me a flower. We went out something like five times in the next seven days. I was really starting to fall for him and felt like we were moving towards a relationship. And then he disappeared. I think he lost his nerve.
For the next three years he was the greatest desire of my heart. We went out again a few times. We often went to breakfast together. We texted about things and had conversations that would lead you to think we were growing closer. But every time it seemed like we were moving towards each other, suddenly he would disappear.
I was so confused and infatuated and disappointed and determined and sad. He became about the only thing I thought about. I was absolutely certain I could fix all his sad, hurting, broken places, and then he’d see how amazing I am and he would love me forever and in return, fix everything that was broken in me.
After another bout of depression which almost led to suicide, I finally realized that nobody or nothing was magically going to fix me. I always believed that magical moment or person would come along and make me OK. But I finally realized that only I can make me OK. No magic.
That realization, along with finding ways to get out of the house and be more social, volunteering, therapy and meds have begun to make me a more rational person. I’m learning to listen more to my brain and much less to my heart. My brain is smart. My heart is stupid.
I guess it’s because of the gamut of emotions I’ve run through and the intense concentration and energy and time I’ve spent on them in my relationship with Boo over the past several years; but as I start to examine my experience of feelings right now in my life, I’m starting to see that they’re ALL misassigned to Boo.
I feel anxious? I think it’s because of Boo. I feel angry? I think it’s because of Boo. I feel happy? I think it’s because of Boo. I feel sad? I think it’s because of Boo. I guess it’s because I’ve felt those things so often in relation to him, assigning those all those feelings to him in any situation has become a conditioned habit. My brain is broken and I’m going to have to rewire it!
I can at least identify that anomaly now because I’m finally starting to see that as much as I care about Boo, he is not worth the pain, obsession and disappointment. I love him but he has so many things going on that would make him terrible in a relationship right now.
I can see how he would do nothing but continue to hurt me and neglect me and disappoint me, whether by omission or comission. I can’t keep letting him do that to me. And I can also see that so much of my pursuit of him is simply about the conquest, not in the sexual sense as much as just the “I can win you over” sense.
So I’m untangling some of my feelings about him. And I’m starting to realize that most of the things I feel are not really about him.
I felt happy this morning and I immediately felt in love with Boo. And then I realized, the happiness I was feeling didn’t have anything to do with him. It was about me in that particular moment in time, having quiet time with God in the car on the way to work, enjoying the weather and feeling grateful.
As I begin to recognize these moments of emotional confusion, I’m starting to untangle the patterns of thoughts and feelings that I’ve trained myself to feel over the past several years.
I CAN have emotions that aren’t about Boo, and that realization has gradually begun to diminish the amount of time I spend thinking about him. I can finally recognize him for who he is, good and bad, and not just unrealistically as a man who can save me.
And most importantly, I’m finally beginning to see that I can be happy MYSELF without needing anyone else to fix me.