Answers After Abandonment

I just reread a post I wrote about a year and half ago about dealing with abandonment issues that stemmed from my childhood and how this is a recurrent theme in my life. I am still trying to figure out what it is about my choosing of people that are inclined to abandon or ghost without explanation. Sometimes I do get explanations, although they may be months or years down the road. Other times, I have to suck it up and realize that some people are just cowardly assholes and I’m better off without them.

I recall the time when I was in the army and received a letter from the ex-boyfriend that I’d lost my virginity to. Initially, I was shocked at receiving anything from him at all, as it had been about two years since I’d seen him, and I was far beyond over him. I can’t remember everything the letter said, but he’d apologized for treating me like shit, told me how beautiful I was, and said something about me looking like Mariah Carey (which made me laugh – must have been the hair!). Years later, he attempted to date me again, but that wasn’t happening; I don’t repeat the same mistakes with the same person.

Most “abandonment” that happened pre-internet was just what it was, and I believe it was easier to move on, because there was no communication available if someone moved or changed phone numbers. Out of sight, out of mind. People would just wonder what happened to that person until their class reunion. But today, there is no excuse – or maybe poor excuses – like the one “friend” that suddenly quit talking to me, because she blamed me for working in a place where her ex knew people and some other lame-ass excuse. That was total bullshit, and I realize now so was our “friendship.”

What I don’t need in my life are fair-weathered friends. We all go through things in life that are inevitable and difficult to deal with – sickness, death, divorce, etc. It’s another thing if the issues are just drama type of bullshit that can be avoided, but if someone else can’t handle the problems you never invited them into in the first place, that’s on them. What’s really shitty is when you’re at your worst place and you get abandoned by those you thought had your back, especially when you would never do that to them.

With that being said, I had a male friend that I’d known since my days in the military, and about three years ago, he suddenly disappeared. I knew he was taking a break from social media, but I did have his email and phone number. I also knew he’d had some health issues, so I was truly concerned for his well-being, especially since I hadn’t heard from him and my emails and phone calls went unanswered. It was really out of the norm for him not to keep in touch at all. But then I happened to log into an old Facebook account where we were still “friends,” so I messaged him asking how he was, excited to get back in touch, because I truly enjoyed corresponding with him most of the time. Immediately, I was blocked. I thought how fucking bizarre and dramatic is this? I thought maybe he’s dating someone, and he can’t be friends with other women. Later, I was unblocked so that he could send me a very lengthy message describing in detail how he blocked a bunch of people a few years ago that weren’t adding positivity to his life. Ummm, okay, that’s understandable, but I’m not exactly sure how I fit in there, being that we live 3000 miles apart. He added something about the drama in my life, which wasn’t drama at all – I had a family member with cancer, and around that time a close friend had died. That’s not drama – that’s life! But what I really think happened is this – since we’ve known each other, he’d wanted a romantic relationship with me, and I wasn’t interested. I recall probably telling him a little too much about my personal dating life, and I honestly think he was jealous. I mean, I understand if I wanted someone romantically and they were rejecting me, but the reality of it is we’d never get along in that type of relationship anyway, not to mention the distance. Besides, I didn’t drag him into my “drama” or whatever you might call it; he tends to do that himself with other people’s business. Either way, at least I found out the truth behind the matter, and he seemed very sincere about it, which is a lot more than I can say for other people in my life who have done the same type of thing.

Am I guilty of ghosting anyone? Absolutely! But there is a difference when you’re not getting along with the person or you’ve had a falling out rather than just never speaking to them again without warning. I wish there was an abandonment meter when meeting someone, because it is truly heartbreaking when it happens, and I would definitely avoid those types of people. It’s completely unfair and selfish, not to mention immature, to abandon someone close to you without warning or explanation, and it says a lot about that person’s character.

Depression and Antibiotics Linked

The other day I recalled reading something about intestinal flora and moods, and the possibility that an imbalance can cause depression. For me, this would make a lot of sense. Two years ago I had pneumonia and was on some really strong antibiotics. In the past year, from surgeries and other illnesses, I have been on antibiotics five times! This would explain my lack of appetite and food craving changes, not to mention the constant influx of depression.

During my research, I learned that the first antidepressant was an antibiotic, back in the days when tuberculosis was a big thing. The next thing I learned was that antibiotics can affect a child’s brain development. There have also been studies that antibiotics may contribute to types of psychosis and is associated with anxiety and depression. Due to antibiotics killing off all of the bacteria in the body (both good and bad), it really messes with the good bacteria responsible for sending signals to the brain.

I truly think this is another link between the horrible and constant depression I’ve experienced over the last couple of years, mostly because I just don’t feel like the same person I did three years ago. It was easy for me to bounce back out of anything, especially a relationship gone awry.

I have noticed that I definitely feel better both physically and mentally when I ingest probiotics regularly. Besides taking probiotic oral supplements, I make kombucha, which is a natural probiotic drink. However, I haven’t made any in the past few weeks and have been relying on the probiotic capsule. Now that I’m finally off antibiotics again, I’m going to continue with probiotics and see how this fairs with my mental health.

Feeling Worthless & Random Thoughts

My day began with getting woken up by my cat and not actually getting back to sleep, so I’m not exactly feeling good physically. It got worse when I got up and learned I’d been locked out of my Facebook account that I’ve had since 2013. I had jokingly changed my name about a month or so ago, but Facebook wouldn’t allow me to change it back for 90 days. I suppose someone reported me as a fake account, even though I run my biz pages from that account, have things for sale on that account, have my phone number associated with my account, have used credit cards for business on that account, and god knows what else they have that I’m not even aware of. They have more than enough of my personal information to prove I’m not a fake account. I also cannot access messenger, which is the only way I know to keep in touch with some people. Who knows what else I can’t access, because everything is connected to this POS network. Now Facebook wants me to send them my government ID to prove who I am, as if I’m going to send my sensitive information to some random person Facebook hired for $10/hr. I told them to fuck off. I may have to create an actual fake account in order to use it, but that seems like a lot of work for a platform I already despise.

I haven’t heard a word from my male friend, and as of yesterday, he still had me blocked on Facebook. Not that he was keeping in touch with me prior to that anyway. I’m just leaving him alone and not saying a word. I’ll just be as silent as he is. I just wish I could afford to pay someone else to fix my car, because I don’t even want to deal with bothering him again.

My new male friend/acquaintance seems to only text me when he’s drinking. There’s a sign to stay away. Last night he sent me a text inviting me over to “take a spin” in his jacuzzi. Take a spin? Really? I ignored him. Jacuzzis are gross anyway, and I will definitely not be joining him in one. Now he’s texting me about what kind of camera should he buy because he wants me to teach him photography. I jokingly said I charge $25/hr, but I should have said $100, because dealing with him costs me my sanity. I need to come up with a nickname for him, something fitting.

I feel no love. Seriously. None, except from my cat. I attempt to surround myself with things that make me feel better, but everything is only temporary. I want to be loved, to be wanted, to be appreciated… and not just for superficial bullshit… not for buying expensive Christmas gifts, not for acting up to someone else’s standards, not for giving a good blowjob. I guess that’s why cats are great. Fuck, at this point, I’d be happy befriending a ghost. If he wasn’t friendly, I’d cuss him out and sage the shit out of him.

I’m feeling terrible again. Maybe I’m low on B-12, but I’m out of syringes and keep forgetting to go to the store to get them. When I ask the pharmacist and say what it’s for, they still look at me like I’m a crackhead, even though I’m too fat to be one. I really, really need a massage. I know it would make me feel better for at least a day or two, which is more than I’ve felt in a while.

I’m constantly worried. I worry about how I will manage to pay rent each month. It’s not even high rent, and it’s relatively low (knock on wood) for my area, but my income has changed due to health issues. Then I worry if the only income I have will suddenly end and I’ll be homeless. This is another reason I’ve been so very anxious to get my car fixed, because it could be my next home.

No matter how hard I try different things, like changing routines and cutting alcohol, I am still depressed and feel worthless. So then I’ll have a few drinks, which lets my guard down and makes me actually talk to people I would normally not speak to. But they don’t know that, because then when I see them somewhere else, I may not be as friendly, and then they think I’m a snob. Not my intention.

I don’t like fake attention. I don’t like when strange men come up to me in a grocery store and give me compliments about my looks. It makes me feel weird, like a target, especially coming from men that should probably keep to themselves anyway and would probably fuck anything in a skirt if given the chance. It would be different coming from a man that I like and respect, but I prefer to be liked and complimented for how I am as a person.

Everything is just an illusion, but seeing people out together and seemingly happy makes me feel like an even bigger loser for being alone and depressed. Some of them are faking their happiness and showing off for people; they have someone to impress. I see that. But that doesn’t make me feel any better or… un-alone, because there is no antonym for alone. Disconnected might describe it. I’m not out to impress anyone. Fuck that. Like me as I am or fuck off.

I always feel alone, even in most company. It’s the worst feeling in the world. When I am in company and feel this way, I tend to just get up and leave, because I can’t take it, and I’m not going to subject myself to torture. As an introvert, it’s total hell. Someone I had a beer with recently ruined my somewhat content mood, and I became annoyed, because she was being super aggressive and opinionated in a conversation, discussing topics I don’t care to discuss, especially when I’m already feeling bad. I’m sure that wasn’t her intention; it’s just her nature. I was relieved when she left me back to being alone.

I’m not sure there’s a cure for depression in my case. My VA counselor thinks that I’m just one of those people that is naturally/normally depressed. I don’t think it’s normal at all. I have never thought of myself that way, as I’ve always yearned for happiness. We all want happiness. What if I had all of the things listed that I’ve researched and written about (eating alone, sex, touch) that might help with depression? Would I still be depressed?

Cutting Back on Alcohol

A few weeks or so ago, I’d written about changing some things in my life. Today is Day 20 of no drinking/cutting back on alcohol. It was something I intended to do, but the losing my shit incident was a catalyst.

I started out being on antibiotics, which was a great way to begin my not-drinking voyage. I have to admit the first few days were tough, because I’d been working outside in the heat, and beer sounded great, but I knew the medication would have made me sick anyway.

Once I got through the first week, it wasn’t so bad. I started keeping myself busy working out or taking walks in the evenings. I went grocery shopping and ran errands during the times I would normally have gone to happy hour. It probably helped that I didn’t exactly have the money to be going out.

Week two was a success, however, I thought I would feel better. I haven’t felt that much better except that I didn’t have hangovers. I was tired, but in a different way; I felt exhausted. My appetite began to change, and I was cooking again, and I had more motivation mentally and could think clearer. Still, I had no energy for the most part (could very well have been due to the antibiotics). The weather brought on some allergy issues, and it felt as if fibromyalgia was full-blown for a few days. My body was super achy from head to toe, and I remembered that when I drank beer, the aches would disappear. I did notice anxiety went down a little while I wasn’t drinking, maybe because I was just exhausted. My mood was only slightly lifted, but I was still feeling depressed. Perhaps it was lack of human contact or something else, but I was craving not being depressed, which is part of the reason I quit/cut back on drinking.

On Day 15, the weather was pretty bad. I had one beer in the fridge (one that I normally wouldn’t drink, because it would have been gone by now) that I drank and didn’t really care for it. The following day (16), I met up with some friends that are getting married soon to discuss some things about their wedding that I’m shooting. It was nice getting out of the house for once and home by 10:30. I had three beers in two and a half hours, felt high as a kite, and felt like shit the entire next day. Two of the beers were relatively normal in alcohol content, but the first may have been almost like drinking two. I remembered how much I hated waking up feeling completely unrested, having to get up to pee at wee hours, thirsty and unable to get back to sleep, and basically being unable to fully function intellectually with unclear thinking skills the following day. I also noticed my allergies were worse. Three beers was almost nothing for me before; it only took two weeks for that effect.

When the weekend rolled around, I went to an event out of town, and then a new friend/acquaintance offered to meet up for sushi. At first, I was hesitant being unfamiliar with him, but I was hungry, and the timing was perfect. I started out drinking water, had a tiny bit of sake and opted for a beer that I normally really like. However, I wasn’t liking the beer much at all and switched it to something sweet. It was nice to be out having conversation and a meal with someone, and I left feeling generally content, yet tired.

The following day, I noticed my mood was off. I felt sad, even though it was a nice day. (I suppose I could have also been sad about my other male friend.) Again, my energy was low and I had little motivation, but I didn’t feel like I had a hangover or anything. I was burping up the beer the next day, which made me not want to drink it even more, especially after nearly 12 hours passed since I’d drank it… just gross. I felt annoyed all day and canceled plans to go to an art event, because I didn’t want to be around people. I don’t know if this is a result from drinking or just being tired or annoyed.

Doing two experiments of having a few drinks after not drinking showed me that it really doesn’t bring me any happiness, especially the following day. Socially, it can be fun, but I am pretty sure I can find other fun things to do.

People were asking how long I was going to stop drinking. I never had an answer, because I tried to make realistic expectations and just go with the flow with how I felt. I have no cravings to continue doing it, and after feeling as bad as I have been, I don’t looking forward to it again. Eventually, I want to get back into eating a stricter diet, but for now I’m doing one thing at a time; I’m still enjoying chocolate chip cookies for now.

Lack of Sex & Depression

Yesterday I wrote about eating alone and depression, realizing that I need some social interaction during meals. While still attempting to get to the root of my own depression, I realize that when I am having regular sex, I am a much happier person. I sleep better, eat healthier, feel more energized, and for whatever reason, I think more clearly and get more things accomplished, and I generally feel alive all over. I cannot remember the last time I felt that way. (Oh wait, yes I can – two and a half years ago. *cringe*)

I did some research on depression and lack of sex. Not surprisingly, it turns out there is a correlation between the two. The hormones released during sex help with fighting off stress, pain, and illness – all of which I’ve been dealing with. There are other physical bodily results from lack of sex that made me say WTF! For women: “Without regular intercourse, your vagina can tighten and its tissues can get thinner and be more likely to get injured, tear, or even bleed during sex.” Whoa. This would explain some things.

During the last three years of my marriage, we had sex once a year, and I didn’t consider myself depressed at the time, but looking back, I probably was. Prior to those three years, sex was dull; even though he was happy and thought it was great, it was boring for me, because he was boring and insisted he knew what he was doing when he did not. Except for a couple of short term relationships (2-3 months) in the past six years, I haven’t had regular sex at all. I miss being held, being close to someone, and having someone to care about. I haven’t had good sex or even a good kiss in over a year. No wonder I’m depressed and pissed off about everything.

Solo isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m not desperate enough to have a fling, but dammit, my body is telling me it needs some attention. Prior to the past year, I would have been open to a friend with benefits situation, but that’s not going to work for me now. I tend to get my feelings involved for the wrong reasons, and having sex only increases those feelings – and I certainly don’t need to put myself in another situation that makes me feel shitty. And despite some of the terrible things I’ve written that have happened to me, I am very aware of my sexuality, and I have no hang-ups enjoying intercourse with the right person. The issue is finding that person.

Eating Alone & Depression

I have a lot of work to do with myself. Writing down my thoughts has been extremely therapeutic for me, and the more I write, the more realizations I have – the patterns, the negative thoughts that were ingrained into my system that I didn’t even know existed. I’m doing my best to pinpoint the things that have been causing depression and doing whatever I can to lift my spirits.

Whether you’re an adult or a child, eating alone all the time can be depressing. When I was trained to be a home health care aide, we were told that it’s important to eat meals (or at least sit) with our elderly clients, because they tend not to eat as much when they’re alone, and they’re happier eating with other people. What is it about eating alone vs eating with others that somehow determines our happiness? Studies have found that people enjoy the general social aspect of eating with others. The only times I didn’t eat alone throughout my adult life was when I was in the army, married or had a boyfriend, or when my daughter was young and I had a regular schedule. Studies show that people who share meals with others tend to eat healthier and live healthier lives. I suppose that would explain one of the reasons I have been depressed for much of the past six years.

Except for eating at my grandparent’s houses or with my father when I was a child, I often ate alone growing up. If I didn’t eat alone, I was usually separated from the adults, or dinnertime was so miserable I’d opt to eat alone. It was either literally get yelled at for breathing or something else that is considered normal to anyone. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of my book, Unheard:

“Since dinnertime is dreadful, I hate evenings. Even when I am starving, I prefer eating by myself. I hate looking at him and watching him sit with his head tilted down towards the plate and scraping the food from his fork into his mouth without ever looking up. I try to speak and make normal conversation; he makes a point to say something to upset my stomach or tells me to shut up and eat. He finishes his food, gets up without excusing or cleaning up after himself, trots into the living room, lights a smelly cigarette, watches TV, and drinks beer. I guess he thinks it was a woman’s job to keep quiet and clean up after him.”

When something is “normal” for a child, they don’t always realize it’s not normal or healthy as an adult. I knew that what was happening to me didn’t feel right, especially when my friends did “normal” things, like eat with their families. I have never purposely separated myself from eating with others as an adult; it’s just that I don’t exactly have a choice when I’m single.

My daughter visited me a couple of weekends ago, and for the first time in a while, I cooked up a delicious shrimp and pasta dish. It was the first time I’d cooked a meal for anyone other than myself in months, and it was nice to share. When I was regularly dating, I cooked more than I was taken out, and I was perfectly happy with that, because I was happy. I realize that some of my happiest times are when I’m cooking and sharing meals with others (not being expected to, but wanting to), and that hasn’t happened regularly in two and a half years. (If you follow my blog, you’ll probably guess with whom.) I’ve also been more depressed in that two and a half years than ever, and I eat alone almost 100% of the time.

I try to take myself out to eat for lunch or dinner just to be in a social outing, even if I’m out alone. However, eating out gets expensive, and I feel that I can cook better than what is served in most restaurants. Plus, I love sharing my culinary skills with others. Like the studies have shown, it’s the socialization that I’ve been missing at mealtime and probably another reason my friends keep telling me I need a boyfriend. *eyeroll*

Acceptance After Being Ghosted

The other day I posted about the other four stages of grief after being ghosted by someone in a close dating relationship. There were a few times I felt I had come to the acceptance stage, but I was alternating between all of the stages randomly. I would think to myself, I’m over it; he’s a jerk, and then something would toss me right back to a different stage. I’d be angry at the fact that he’s meeting other women and dating and having fun, but I was left standing alone without answers to my heartbreak and had a miserable dating life. (I was also angry when one of his family members suggested that I must not have ever had anyone break up with me before, since I had these feelings. I corrected them by reminding them I was ghosted without answers.) I have come to some other realizations about this person that have helped me to enter the stage of acceptance.

It’s always helpful to get over someone by dating another person, however, the options I had been presented were pretty grim. Prior to meeting OC, a close friend had unexpectedly passed away, and during my mourning period (which lasted about a year), I jumped into a two-month toxic relationship with someone 18 years younger. I met OC about three or four months after that relationship ended. I was looking to date, but only looking for friends and activity partners, so what I felt with him was completely unexpected. Looking back, I feel that I was probably still vulnerable to opening myself up to injured souls, because I was also one of them.

Taking accountability for myself, I probably ignored a lot of red flags – the first of which was that OC’s online dating profile stated he was single. However, he was still technically a married man (verified separated for two years at that point) and still living in the same house with his wife. I broke my own rule by continuing a relationship with him, because my rule is to date someone that has been single (not separated) for at least a year, preferably longer. When I initially met him, he’d told me about another woman he’d been on a few dates with and was texting him… but according to him, he was ignoring her. I’d informed him that I only date one person at a time, and I expect the same in a partner and that he needs to tell this woman that he’s seeing someone else, to not just ignore her. I don’t know what he did, but now I suspect he ghosted her as well. Or perhaps he ghosts women, then shows up randomly when he thinks it’s okay and allow him back into their lives again… the same way he did to me six months later when he unblocked me and liked my social media posts – and still continues to this day!

I specifically remember a couple of times him mentioning things to me that seemed off. For example, even though he still claimed to be getting divorced, he was adamant about staying in their home and was building a separate entrance for himself. I later learned that during the time they supposedly separated, they’d purchased the house together, which didn’t fit the divorce story he was giving me. He would spend the night at my house most nights and head home first thing in the morning; we never spent any mornings together – just afternoons and nights. I had suspected he’d been hiding something or bending the truth, but I never actually found out. He also had a tattoo of a ball and chain along with his wife’s name on the front of his hip. When I asked if he was planning to cover it up, he became flustered as if I’d asked him to chop off his balls. He replied,  “Why? No one will see it.” Seriously? I told him I see it, and if he dates other women, they’re going to see it as well. I suspect he never covered it up, and he probably never will. (I wonder what his new girlfriend thinks of his wife’s name when she’s giving him a blowjob?) He’d say random things that didn’t make sense to me at the time. For example, one time he told me he was selfish and immature, but I hadn’t seen that side of him, so I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. What he’d presented to me in his actions was opposite of what he said in so many ways.

Something wasn’t right, but I blamed it on my own insecurities. I developed a lot of anxiety when I didn’t hear from him, especially that last week prior to him ghosting me. Perhaps he was lying to me, perhaps it was something else, but I ignored my gut feelings. The problem I have with myself is I am determined to get to the bottom of things, to find out the truth, and when I can’t pinpoint what isn’t right, I continue with a relationship until I do find out. He claimed to be “so busy” with his work, but right after he ghosted me, he’d pass me at the beach every single day, so I felt he was using that as an excuse.

Knowing OC’s history of 30+ years being raised in and then leaving a cult religion whose manipulative members suddenly cut off their own children for not being followers, I am aware that this has been ingrained into his system since he was a child, so it is probably easy for him to act this way without any regard for my feelings. Not that it’s right by any means, but what else can I tell myself when I have no other explanation? I also realize, no matter how sweet he was to me while we were together, he is a very wounded and disturbed soul that may not feel anything at all. He lied to me and broke promises, especially when he knew I was recovering after a divorce and promised me he wouldn’t break my heart.  I tell myself he was fake and manipulated my feelings and trust for his own selfish purposes, and everything about the relationship was as fake as Dirty John, because genuine people do not develop close intense relationships only to treat others with such disdain. I wish I could have moved on when it all went down; I wanted nothing more than those awful feelings to go away. I look at him now and think I can do so much better than him.

The stage of acceptance is the beginning of my healing process, because I am ready to meet my next long-term relationship.