It’s nearly a week now since I wrote this post.
I have to tell you that I haven’t felt this bad mentally since I first started seeing Trevor over a year ago. I felt like running head first into a brick wall repeatedly or curling up under my desk and hiding from the world. My insides were constantly churning with what felt like a nervous energy.
The worst thing was, I really couldn’t work out why I was feeling that way.
A couple of good friends have been trying to help me make sense of it all. But nothing that we were chatting about felt right. The timing tied in to my Anglesey trip but that trip actually went really well.
In the meantime, Trevor was away on holiday and the last thing I was going to do was start mailing him. Firstly he wouldn’t be checking (quite rightly!) and secondly I didn’t want him to return to to a pile of pathetic emails from me. I started listening to the last track he did for me which was all about ignoring the critical voice in my head. It didn’t seem to be doing anything.
I mentioned how bad I was feeling on Facebook. From the comments it was clear that everyone had way more faith in me than I had in myself. It was pointed out that I had all the skills and resources I needed to overcome this.
I didn’t. It made me feel even more useless. Just another reason to hate myself more.
I eventually gave in and emailed Trevor. He said the same as everyone else. I just needed to stop feeding the negative voice. That I had all the skills and resources I needed.
I still didn’t.
I was feeling worse and worse by the day and reached the point where I was feeling so low I was sobbing myself to sleep at night.
I mailed Trevor again.
This time he took a different approach. “What has changed?” he asked.
And it gave me a break. It focussed me on thinking why I was feeling that way instead of what I was feeling.
And in that breathing space and exchange of emails, we found where this came from.
My 40th birthday.
I set the event up on Facebook and invited everyone on there.I only have people I physically know on Facebook generally. Apart from a few Twitter friends that I’ve met, my Facebook friends are mostly people I have connected to over the years through work. The nature of what I did meant that I became very good friends with people all over the world. However it also means that only 4 of the people I invited are actually local.
I started getting declines and no acceptances and realised it wasn't going to work.
I had a real wobble (you may have read my blog post about it) but a friend on Twitter talked me round. Reminded me that these days I appreciate what I have rather than dwell on what isn’t there. And then I was ok. The logic worked for me. I cancelled the hall, changed the venue to my house and planned a Twitter party at the same time (#dawns40th)
Then a few more people cancelled. People who had said from day 1 that they would definitely make it. So even the few I was sure of making it were now not going to come.
It felt like no one was coming to celebrate with me. And it has felt very much more about me than anything else. That people have other priorities over and above coming to celebrate with me.
My 40th birthday, in so many ways, is the start of my life as truly me and I wanted to share that with all the people who've had the patience to be friends with the person I used to be.
I know that I was miserable and I know that I was a really good actor so most people didn’t have a clue how unhappy I was. As I saw it all these people were friends with someone else, not me.
And now this me is truly chilled, happy and hopefully more fun to be around. I want to thank my friends for sticking by me and maybe even give a little something back. A little fun. I suppose I kind of want to show off. I've lost weight, I've got a new career, I've found happiness for the first time ever and what better opportunity to share how brilliant that is than a 40th birthday party when the saying goes "life begins at 40".
I felt hugely rejected
I felt like a fool for believing that anyone would want to connect with me. I felt like the piece of crap I always believed myself to be. And those feelings of being unlikeable and unlovable had flooded me again. The critical voice came back. Everything I did was crap. I was useless.
So what changed?
Well firstly, realising where the problem was coming from immediately made me feel better and gave me an idea of what I could.
Secondly, with some nudging from Trevor I have been able to see that this is not about me. I have changed. It feels huge for me. But everyone else’s lives are still the same.
My friends don’t need to be here on one particular day to be good friends. They have supported me in so many ways before and I know they will after.
And there are people who are coming - some unexpected people - who see the significance of the day - who are overcoming the difficulty of getting here and the cost limitations they have to make sure they join me. Because they know how important it is.
It may not be huge numbers but each one of them is special and I am really looking forward to spending time with them.
Trevor shared a phrase with me:
“People are not put on this earth to live up to your expectations of them”
So am I over my wibble? Well not totally. But I know it was a blip and not a relapse. I know why. I just now need to work my way to believing everything I’ve written here – because I’m not quite there yet.
However, I suspect, when it does click, that it will signify another leap forward in this personal journey I’m on.