Picking myself up

8:30am

I felt sad yesterday. I was too tired and crappy feeling to exercise so I read most of the night. I ended up having a recurring dream but I can’t think of what it was this morning. The sense I have is it was a pleasant dream. Drinking on Sunday left me in/with a funk, a general sense of sadness. Instead of beating myself up over this like I was yesterday I thinking more of this is a learning experience. A reinforcement of why I quit drinking. I’ve disappointed myself and my kids. Last night I didn’t feel a desire to drink. All I could feel was sad and longing. I wanted to reach out to Michelle and talk to her about what happened on Sunday. She’s the only person I have felt comfortable being completely open and vulnerable with (exempting my therapist). I miss that connection with another person…the vulnerability, acceptance, and love of a woman.

Enough about that…sobriety…I need to put that back on the front burner and re-focus on the habits I have formed the last 6 months. No more casual (1 or 2) glasses of wine. Those are going to lead to my falling into old habits again. I can see it now. So tonight it is exercise and maybe a movie then home for bed and a book.

I’ve been putting off the second meeting w/ the match maker. I’ve rescheduled it 2 times now. I’m just feeling a general indifference to the idea of dating (all indications to the contrary with my opening paragraph to this journal entry right?). I guess what I don’t like about dating is the idea of getting from meeting a stranger to the part where we are a couple who has settled into a life together…the getting there is awful and I’m tired of having to do it.

I have good friends

2:00pm
I have good friends! I was discussing my journal entry from this morning with an old childhood friend of min. He was floored by what I had put up with Michelle. He then said:
“You know what? Instead of a ‘reasons you shouldn’t be with Michelle list, how about a list of things you want in a relationship. You need to quit looking behind you and look to the future. All you’re doing is spinning your wheels thinking about how things went wrong with Michelle. You’ve done the therapy. You’ve effectively addressed (and continue to address) your anxiety and drinking. Move on man.”
He is right. I am just hurting myself and wallowing in what was…like another friend said a few days ago. I need to look towards the future. I have my meeting with the Match Maker this afternoon. That is a step in the right direction. I was thinking this morning I was going to cancel the meeting. I am not. I need to take steps forward. Not keep looking the in the rear view mirror.
I’d like to amend my last sentence this morning from, “fuck me for being so obtuse and stupid for so long!!!” to “fuck me for being too focused on the past and not looking towards my future for so long!!!” I’ve handled my mistakes from my last relationship. I’m a better man for the next one. Hopefully, I’ll find a wonderful woman who will love me and the boys. Someone we can share the love and joy the boys and I have have together.
Like I said…I have good friends. He told me exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I feel a lightness in my chest. It’s where my anxiety usually is.

A new outlet

2:00pm

Instead of journaling this morning, I worked on a sonnet. I’ve never written one before. I am enjoying it though. I’m trying to encapsulate the way it felt to the boys and I when Michelle left. How we’ve felt adrift for a while. I’m including the boys but really, I’ve been the one unmoored.

Mom isn’t coming for a visit after all. She had a steroid shot in her hip and had some sort of weird reaction to it. She is going to come in February

Thank God for therapists

8:00am

I feel better. I emailed my therapist. She replied:

No, some things (holiday, anniversary date, a particular event or place etc) may trigger what we may call a “relapse, where you may feel more sadness or other feelings. If it continues beyond a week or two, or becomes too overwhelming it might be helpful to come in for a visit. If a need arises let me know and we will set something up.

Reading that made me feel better. It made me feel less panicked and dispelled any notion that there was something wrong with me.

I worked out when I got home. I spent the evening with Dennis and Brad. We had a lot of fun together. I read my book. All of that (especially being with the boys) made me feel better.

I am not on the verge of tears. I feel like I am back on the path now. It feels good.

Something is wrong

12:00pm

I am still not feeling right. I ate lunch, surfed the web a bit and still have this nervous feeling in my chest like my heart is racing. I just checked my pulse, it is 69 bps…super low and super normal for me. I’m going fucking mad. My head feels super loose and foggy, like I am just short of being dizzy a vague disoriented feeling, if that makes any sense.

I want to go home but I am afraid to be alone. I am going to wait for Lisa to get back to me and just keep my head down and work through the rest of the day.

What is happening?

10:00am

I am getting a sinking feeling in my chest again. Not as intense as it has been but it is getting worse. I think something might be wrong with me. I think this is what a panic attack is. I am short of breath and my heart rate is elevated. I just sent my therapist the following email:

Hi Lisa,
Ever since I went to Chicago over Thanksgiving I’ve been having a really hard time. Just feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m not sure what is going on. I’m in this weepy, about to cry at any moment place. I’ve not been sleeping and thought that might be it. I slept well last night and felt better until about 15 minutes ago and now I feel like I’m back to where I was the last few days. I don’t feel right. I feel like I did when we first met those few months back in August. Is it normal to have these kind of “relapses”?

Getting better

I wanted to change

for three. I should work for the

two who deserve it.


8:30am

I am surprised by the amount of boredom that comes with sobriety. I am bored…all the time! When I would normally stop off at a bar/friend’s house for a drink is just dead time. I can’t tell you how many times I say to myself, “now what?”  The better I am emotionally, mentally, and physically…the more energy I have. The more energy I have, the more I am bored. There is only so much laundry to be done, I can’t clean the house all the time, the dog won’t go on endless walks, there are only so many books to read, so many movies to see, I can’t play games on my phone endlessly, I can’t work out more than once a day, it’s too cold to play golf…I am just bored, a lot. Looking at this from the outside I can see someone posing the question, “does being bored make you want to drink?” It doesn’t. That’s good.

Of course I think about Michelle and what we would be doing together. I’m not sure why I’m bothering talking about that…silly.

My therapist thinks we have reached the end of her usefulness. She pointed out several things that are different since we first met:

  • Grief has moved (mostly) to acceptance
  • Stress and anxiety are way down
  • I am effectively using tools to manage the anxiety that remains
  • My desire/need for control has abated
  • I have been sober for 15 weeks

Consequently, I am happier than I have been in years…happiness is my “starting position”.

I have to agree with her on all fronts. I know I feel sad from time to time. I think about and miss Michelle in my life every day. Knowing she is happy and grateful to be free of the boys and me hurts and makes the “missing her” worse. That said, I wake up every morning feeling good. I don’t feel like a different person…just a better version. I started out doing this for Michelle (I could have become the embodiment of everything she wants and she still wouldn’t be with me. She left because she doesn’t want roots. She wants freedom.) This change is ending up being for my children and myself. I like this version. He is kinder, gentler, and more patient. The boys like it too.

 

Strength

clarity is (comes

when it wants. rushed…you dilute

its poignancy) strength


7:30am

Wednesday…what to write about? I’m taking Friday off to spend some quality time with Dennis (he doesn’t have school). I’m excited about hanging out with just the two of us. He is at the age where he generally isn’t interested in doing that as much.

I feel great today. I keep doing the things that work when I get upset or sad about Michelle: exercise, read, take a bath, etc, etc. It helps with sleeping. I don’t have any repetitive, obsessive thoughts. This morning, Brad asked me about sleeping and if I am getting enough. I asked why he was asking. He said, “I don’t know…you don’t seem as tired in the mornings.” We talked about drinking and how some people use alcohol to help them get to sleep. I explained it actually makes for a very restless sleep. He asked me what people who can’t sleep should do. I told him use the techniques we’ve both learned to quiet our minds and eliminate the swirling, obsessive thoughts. He liked that.

The three of us had an interesting end to the night last night. We watched the “Nosedive” episode of Black Mirror. In it a character has an epic, public meltdown. When the show was over I asked the kids if they understood why she had her meltdown. They did…they could see her stress building and building to an explosion. I told them that is what happened to Michelle when she lost it in Arizona. I explained the way their Aunt Rae and Uncle Patrick (mostly Rae) had treated her and her efforts to ignore it caused so much stress those weeks she finally cracked under the strain. She didn’t have any control once she cracked. I think they finally understand what happened that evening back in July.

 

What works

I am Regret. I

force questions that do not have

answers. I loathe sleep.


9:00am

Monday morning I sent Michelle a photo of Brad and his soccer team after they won their tournament with a brief description of the weekend both boys had. I sent her the picture because I thought she loves my boys and would like to hear about them. On my drive home from work I received the following text from her:

Michelle: I don’t see the need for us to have any more contact. I will not be responding to any more messages.

I was so upset. I have been feeling so good about things. Thursday I get all weird and freaked out about going on a date with a different woman then this. What the fuck? I did what works. I had a brutal workout, spent quality time with my boys, cried a little bit, talked to my dog, took a long hot bath, and read my book. By the time I was in bed I felt better.

I had some choice things to say back to her immediately after she sent me the text.

Me: Yeah, I can see that from your perspective. Why keep in contact with people you really never cared for to begin with. You are a cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive person. You kept that hidden for over three years. I don’t know if that is admirable or terrifying. You always said the song “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations was our song as a couple. Talk about foreshadowing huh?

About 5 minutes after I sent that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have. Now, I don’t have any regrets. Fuck Michelle and the space she keeps taking up in my head and my heart!! She IS cruel, unforgiving and vindictive. I am sending her the following text and then I am blocking her number from my cell phone as well.

Me: Yesterday, for about 30 minutes, I felt bad I sent that text. That was it. I stand by it. You ARE cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive. I should have included selfish, naïve, and immature as well. You’ve allowed one moment to define everything. You can’t allow I am capable of change because you are NOT capable of change. You have told me to “go fuck yourself” and that “you ruined my life and I fucking hate you.” I wish I had it in me to respond in kind…I don’t.

I’ll leave you with this: your actions the last 13 weeks and 2 days has as much to do with us being apart as anything I have done. One day, you will look back on our life together (our family) and you will regret leaving. You will miss us.

I sent this as a text and as an email. I have blocked her on my phone and email.

 

Sliding Doors

8:00am

I have been writing in my journal less lately, just once a day. It hasn’t been intentional. I just have less on my mind to get out on paper. I talked with my therapist about this. She thinks it’s good sign. It means the inner turmoil, depression, and conflict are subsiding. I feel it. I feel like I’m on “this” side of my depression. I still feel sad sometimes. I miss Michelle and how we were together. I miss thinking about our future together. Putting that down on paper makes me sad, the past tense of the verb. It’s the way things are. Even now it feels so wrong and surreal. It’s like I’m in Sliding Doors. I wish there was a version of me that still had Michelle in my life to love. I miss hearing her voice. I miss telling her about my day. I miss reading while she does her homework. She used to do this stupid thing Saturday mornings while she was getting ready for work. She would turn on the ceiling fan light (which is super bright) and right before she did it would yell out, “PREPARE, PREPARE!!!” so I could cover my eyes with a pillow. I miss it…the day-to-day minutia of our relationship. I like the idea of there being a Sliding Doors (alternate) universe where Michelle and I figured things out and were back together living life towards our future. I wish there was an “our future”. There isn’t. She wants something else. I don’t even know what she wants because we don’t talk anymore. The last time we communicated was almost 2 weeks ago and she was screaming and hysterical about not being able to see the boys.

So I’m alone. I used to like being alone. Unfortunately, these days alone means being without Michelle. I don’t like that at all. Maybe, someday, I will.