Please don’t leave me (Pink, 2008; Me, everyday). My psychiatrist says that everyone has a fear of abandonment, but I have what he refers to as ‘an anxious obsession about abandonment’. The fear and the dread of being alone fills my stomach and my chest; it feels like its creeping it’s way up into my head to spew out of my mouth and stream from my eyes. *Nobody loves you*. This is the part of me that I really dislike. It feels selfish, self absorbed and ignorant. *It’s not all about you*. It affects me daily and it makes relationships really difficult for me. I’m constantly second guessing everything. *You’ve pissed them off*. I feel paranoid and on edge. I feel threatened by my loved ones having relationships with other people. *They’re replacing you*. In the past I have behaved in ways that I am now ashamed of or embarrassed by. *Crazy bitch, nobody cares about you*. I’ve hurt other people and I carry that guilt with me alongside the anxiety I feel because that version of me lives in their memory. *You’re a horrible person, everyone hates you*.
Something that has plagued my thoughts constantly for the last few months is the loss of some of my friendships. During my most recent depressive episode, the one I’m currently trying to claw myself out of, relationships that I thought would last forever became broken or fragile and feel tainted. *You’re going to die alone*. I know that I wasn’t myself towards the end of last year into the beginning of this year and that affected my friends and I’m genuinely sorry for that. Depression does that unfortunately. At one point when I really didn’t recognise that I was depressed, a friend of mine told me that she had observed some behaviour that had upset her. I went straight on the defensive and I told her she was making it up. I can’t even begin to explain the guilt I have about that. *No wonder people leave you*. I wasn’t ready to hear that whatever was going on with me had negatively impacted someone else. It was so wrong and I am so sorry. I don’t remember doing the thing she told me I’d done, but that was no excuse to lash out. We live and we learn.
After that, whilst I was feeling particularly paranoid, I asked my friends if I had pissed anyone off. One of the girls told me that I can be a ‘dick’ and said some things that really hurt me. I felt like the worst person in the world. *You should probably kill yourself, everyone is better off without you*. I was absolutely crushed. She confirmed all the things the voice in my head tells me. *You’re a terrible person*. The times they were both referring to were the times I was struggling with my mental health, whether I recognised it at the time or not. And that’s not an excuse, its just a fact. *Nobody likes a crazy person, you make everyone miserable*. I felt like all of my friends hated me at that time and the anxiety I had about that was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. *You’re the worst person alive*. I think about that every day and I am terrified that the friends I have left are going to leave me because I’m just not good enough and I’m undeserving of their love. *They’re only friends with you because they feel sorry for you*. I’m scared that my mental health problems make me difficult to love, impossible even, and eventually I will scare everyone away or make them leave because of how I behave. *They don’t love you anymore*.
It’s difficult to blame people for leaving me. I have a tendency to cut people off and cut my feelings off for someone when I feel like they’re about to leave. I pick up on the slightest change in someone and I immediately think it’s because of something I did and then I push them away first. I end things I don’t want to end! I lose people I don’t want to lose. I let people think I don’t care because that’s easier than making myself vulnerable. Which all sounds ridiculous because I’m terrified of people leaving me. *You made them leave*. But I recognise it as a defense mechanism. *Everyone is happier without you*. So then if someone does leave, I can front it out like I don’t care even if I’m devastated. *You’ve ruined their life*. But if they don’t leave, then I have to somehow work through the guilt, anxiety and shame I feel over my behaviour towards them whilst trying to rebuild what I broke. *They’ll leave eventually, you don’t deserve them*. I’m trying to work through those things now, but my vulnerability during episodes of depression makes it even harder because I just don’t feel strong enough. I don’t have the energy and I’m so scared that confronting my grief, pain, anger, guilt, shame and all of those mixed emotions will cause me to slip further into the obsessive fear of abandonment. *You’re not good enough for anyone, they always leave and find something better*.
Now this has all been a bit heavy so let me lighten it up a bit with a story. It’s a bit gross but it’s funny (now, it wasn’t at the time). I had a panic attack a couple of weeks ago because I thought one of my friends hated me. At the time of this panic attack I was butt naked in the bathroom (I do shower sometimes) and I had a big infected spider bite on my arse cheek. I couldn’t even sit on it, it was so bad. Anyway, during this panic attack I truly believed I was going to pass out and/or die, so I sat myself on the bathroom floor completely forgetting about this puss filled lump on my right arse cheek… SPLAT!! So now not only am I sure I’m going to die from the panic attack, I’m sure it’s going to happen whilst I’m laying naked on the floor with my big, red, infected arse weeping. What a fucking nightmare! Luckily I was able to text my friend before my brain completely descended into chaos and she called me to help me calm down. Now you see why I write under a pseudonym right?! Absolute creature! Imagine my future husband or employers finding this!
Look after your brain. Bella xx
Samaritans: 116 123
*Signifies intrusive thoughts*
I’m fully aware that everyone experiences things differently, and the people I have lost will have their own view on things. I’m here to write about how I feel and how I experienced those losses.