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.

Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. ~Usher

Most of my friends will assume it was The Italian’s workaholic nature that did us in, but it wasn’t. Not in the end.

A few weeks ago I went on my annual road trip to Vancouver Island to visit my best friend. She asked me why he didn’t come, and I replied that I hadn’t asked him, and that he wouldn’t have taken a week off of work anyway. She noted that I’ve never had a boyfriend accompany me on that trip before, and that when I finally do, she would declare him “the one”. We didn’t talk much about The Italian aside from that, but he was in the back of my mind the entire trip. His work hours had started getting carried away again, and he knew he wasn’t making me happy. He had stated as much a few weeks before I left, so it was no surprise that we had both started putting some distance between us. I was trying to figure out where my “line” would be… how much I could compromise our time together.

Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable. ~ Author Unknown

Meanwhile, aside from the nightmares that accompanied my forgetting to take my anxiety medication for a few days, I was enjoying my trip thoroughly. For the first time, I took one of my dogs, Sadie. We went for long walks through the woods, and she swam in the river and in the ocean, while M took some incredible photos. I spent a lot of time reading books about child abuse, and about attachment and adoption. I played games. I prepared dinner for my best friend, her boyfriend, and his brother and sister in law. We sat around the table grilling chicken and peppers and having “lemon meringue” drinks, and after a few too many, we confessed what we liked and appreciated about each other. I went out and did some target practice with the boys while my best friend was at work one day during the week. There was so much fun to be had.

A couple of days before the end of my trip, I was sitting around an evening camp fire in the back yard with M and her boyfriend, laughing and talking. Andy had been texting me during my entire trip, asking what I was up to and making sure I was enjoying myself, and this night was no exception. I found myself wishing that he was there. I was thinking about how well he would fit in amongst my friends, how he’d love to sit around the camp fire, watch movies and shoot some clay pidgins with us. I realized that I could see him sitting around that dinner table, grilling up a storm and having drunken sentimental conversations with my friends…

…and then I realized that I couldn’t see The Italian in any of those scenarios. Not a single one. I can picture us married, living together, even having children, but outside those walls, I just didn’t see where he would fit into my life. The Italian isn’t the kind of guy to kick back around a camp fire with a beer, or go out wind surfing with the guys. He’s an amazing man, I just realized he wasn’t the right man.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop. ~ Author Unknown

It made me sad to think that we weren’t meant to be together, but it had become very clear in my head. It was fact, there was no wishy-washy thought process… once I realized that I couldn’t picture him with me when I was doing the things I loved, I knew it was over. I broke up with him the morning I left the island to come home.

The Italian didn’t handle the break-up well. He was hurt, but I know that he knew it was coming. After a few days we touched base again and it was better that time. He doesn’t hate me, but he doesn’t want to remain friends. I can understand that, I never wanted to be friends with anyone who broke up with me before, either. My heart hurts when I think about how much we cared for each other. It’s proof that love really isn’t enough. You can adore someone like we did, but you can’t change them, you can’t mold them into who you want them to be, and at some point accepting that they would be happier without you is all that you can do.

Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. ~Usher

I am sad sometimes, I grieve for our friendship and for the sweet intimate moments we shared, but for the most part I don’t miss him. I guess that comes from not being able to see him very much anyway. I missed him so much in the weeks before we broke up, that I had forgotten what it was like to be with him. A blessing in disguise, I suppose.

I guess I’m just glad I got to be the girl who was worth that damn expensive coffee, for a while.

Our story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. And although this is the way all stories unfold, I still can’t believe that ours didn’t go on forever. ~Nicolas Sparks

Just some Mid-September Updates

Some updates in puke-on-the-page style, because I just took NyQuil and am falling asleep…

1) A couple of weeks ago I left The Italian a voicemail saying I was checking in to see how he was feeling (he had a cold). This morning I told him I was staying home because I wasn’t feeling well. He phoned tonight after work to ask how I was feeling and wish me sweet dreams. I was in awe by the sweetness of this because it was thoughtful and because we don’t usually talk on the phone. I’m glad to know I set a precedent of sorts. I’m also reminded of all the sweet things Y did for me… before he cheated on me… and then the scepticism creeps in and I’m just confused. I guess it’ll be a while before that goes away.

2) I’m trying to be open to The Italian as more than a rebound boyfriend. He’s acting as though he legitimately likes me, and I don’t want to miss an opportunity because my head is somewhere else. Besides, he made some crack the other day about me not noticing him even when he was sitting right beside me. Oops. That said, I’m still taking it slow… really, I have no choice. I’m just not in a position to jump right in with my heart.

3) I should have the keys to my new place by the end of this weekend. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to have my own space again. I’ve been decorating it on Pinterest all day.

4) I tried to shave my 100 pound dog today, so she wouldn’t shed so much in my new place. She looks horrid. Poor thing.

5) Therapy is going pretty well. She’s given me some good tips for handling my anxiety. To be honest, it’s just nice to be able to talk to someone who knows how to ask the right questions.

6) The meds are keeping me level and keeping the anxiety at bay as well. If only I could remember to take them every day. I’ve been bad about that this week.

7) Y’s best friends fiancé has been inviting me over for coffee then rescheduling last minute. She’s not very organized, but she desperately wants to be my friend and she hates Y. She told me she wants me to attend their wedding. Yeah… awkward much?

8) Speaking of Y… people keep asking me if he went back to Turkey. Honestly, I don’t know. I think he’s still here, but I’ve done my best to block all thoughts of him out of my mind completely (survival tactic). I really don’t want to talk about him yet. I still just can’t go there. It will probably be years before I can think back on it and not be hurt. I know there’s a lesson in there somewhere, but it will be longer, if ever, before I figure out what it is.

9) I deactivated my Facebook before I went on my vacation to Florida, and aside from a couple of times I logged in quickly to search for an address, photo etc., it’s still deactivated. I don’t really miss it like I thought I would. I needed to disconnect. I’ve been living my life more.

10) I’ve been busy as all hell… and on purpose. I have been making a point of getting out with friends as much as possible, spending time with The Italian once or twice a week, and making efforts to progress my life and just be happy.

11) I had the most amazing vacation. Visiting my family (who I’d mostly never met) was awesome! They were so much fun, and I saw some amazing places (Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota was by far the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen). To be honest, it was nice to spend a few days with people who didn’t know anything about my recent breakup. No one asked questions, I didn’t have to explain anything, and I just got a break from it! The last half of my trip was phenomenal too! I got to catch up with a friend from high school who I’ve really been missing. We had such a nice time re-connecting and just hanging out. I loved every minute of it!! It was so nice to see the life she’s built for herself and to get to be a part of it for a few days. My vacation was exactly the break I’d been hoping for.

12) Two weeks from today I board a plane for Chicago, where I get to meet some of my best friends for the first time. Me and four of my best blogger girlfriends in the same room… finally. It seems surreal. We have a lot of fun stuff planned for the weekend, but honestly I would be happy to sit on the floor beside them, painting our toenails and having girl chat all weekend. I can’t wait. And no, I’m not nervous in the least. What’s there to be nervous about? They’re my best friends. :)

13) I’ve passed the point of no return with the NyQuil.