Christmas Has a Way

Christmas has a way of making you feel alone… that kind of lonely that hits you so deep you can’t shake it even when you’re surrounded by your closest family. I had this conversation with my best friend the other day during our commute home, not about Christmas but about wanting someone whose focus and love is dedicated to you and you alone; that life partner. I would love to find that person, but I know it will be a while before I do.

In the meantime… I’m secretly happy that my mom is here all of the time helping me out with improvements on the house, and that my brother shows up at random hours to raid the refrigerator and use my Netflix.

Around a Year Ago

It was around this time last year when I had my meltdown. I hit the depression stage of grief, after losing my father. My relationship with Y came to a heartbreaking and unexpected end, and my work atmosphere had me so stressed out that I could barely face walking into the office each day.

I remember bawling during my entire morning commute one day. I remember sitting in the parking lot trying to catch my breath and stop myself from crying and shaking. I was having a major panic attack.

That day marked the climax of my breakdown, and it was also the day I started to heal. I already knew my mind wouldn’t be focused on my job that day, so I spent my time searching the web for a psychologist, and later that afternoon I saw my family doctor who prescribed me both an antidepressant/anti-anxiety medicine, as well as Ativan (Lorazepam) for the tough days. I also bought a journal and started writing my feelings out. There were a lot of them, they were messy, but it helped.

That day didn’t fix things, but it got the ball rolling. My grief was full bore ahead for quite some time, I couldn’t understand why things ended with Y, and I had to pop an Ativan before I could go to work most days because tension in the office was just that bad. I was being bullied. I ugly cried in front of my boss. Twice. If I wasn’t crying I was on the verge of telling her exactly where to go. It was a horrible few months.

Eventually, the meds started kicking in and I was able to keep it together a little better. It took a couple tries but I eventually found a shrink I clicked with, and we worked through a lot of abandonment issues that I was left with after my parents divorce. For the grande finale, I gave my two weeks notice just after Christmas and was able to decompress for nearly a month before starting my new job. From there, things were on the upswing.

Today, I’m in a healthy office environment. I have a job where
I’m praised, appreciated, challenged and supported. I miss my dad every day, but I’m sad about it far less often. I have moved on romantically, and I’ve made the decision to pursue my life dream of adopting an older sibling group.

My life isn’t perfect yet, and I doubt that’s even possible, but I have come so, so far over this past year. I’m finally living for me, and I’m happy about that.

“One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the gift of attention.” -Jim Rohn

“One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the gift of attention.” -Jim Rohn

Later this week I have my first appointment with a new psychologist. The psychologist I had been seeing moved to Vancouver, but the upside is that it gives me an opportunity to explore a different angle. Instead of focusing solely on my anxiety, I intend to focus on grief and relationships for the time being.

Over the last couple of months, as my relationship has grown from that initial dating phase into something more, I’ve realized that I don’t really know how to do this part.

Parts of being with someone come easy to me, but there are other parts where I need some help. I’ve never had a truly healthy relationship, and it’s been a long time since I’ve tried. I’ve never had role models, my parents were divorced when I was a teen and up until that point I think they merely lived together. I never saw or heard them appreciate or admire one another. I saw dad slap moms ass once in a while, but somehow I think The Italian might raise an eyebrow if I tried that. There are things I simply don’t know, and things I don’t know I don’t know.

A great friend of mine recommended the book “The Five love Languages” over the weekend, and I downloaded the condensed audio version. The brief 45 minute overview gave me some things to think about, some different ways to show love and to recognize when it’s being shown to me. I think that in and of itself will provide me with a more secure perspective in my relationship. I’ll still have to navigate the specifics, but this is a good first step.

“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that many people enter into a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good.  In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” -Anthony Robbins