Fear isn’t the killer, loneliness is.

It’s going on stupid o’clock, as ever.
But then who cares?
For the second day in a row, in my home alone trial run, it’s been just me.

No-one cares when I go to bed.
No-one is there when I do.
No-one cares when I wake up.
No-one is there when I do that either.

I got a large chunk of work done.
I cried a lot.
I did chores.
I cried a lot.
I went up the road for a pint with my kindle. before I did the shopping and came home and forced myself to eat, because that’s what people do.
It’s also the only way I was going to have any actual human contact.
Not a phone call from the boss.
Or the odd random text from whomever.
Actual talk with a real person, in person.

And I did, after a fashion, chat to a couple of other people, in a completely meaningless pass the time kind of way.
And then I shopped.
And I walked home, crying a lot.
And then I came home, to an empty house.
And cried some more.

The cats are missing the kids, fighting over territory, and not yet quite ready to give in and concede that they might have to spend time with me, in my role as understudy.
The reptiles have all just eaten, and let’s face it, they’re not really all about the feels.

So here I am.

On the sofa.
All by myself.
White wine, crappy TV, iPad games.
Which would be heaven to some people.
Sadly I’m not one of them.
It’s just sh*t.

I guess I’ll go to bed soon.
That being what people do.
And then I’ll be asleep, where I get to go and live in one of many worlds, away from this one, and from which waking up is like waking the dead, and I fight it with every fibre of my being, because I’d rather be in those dreams than in this life.

So I’ll wake up.
Cry a lot.
I’ll make coffee, take my meds, cry a lot.
And then tomorrow will be just like today.

Rinse and repeat.

As trial runs go, I think it’s going swimmingly, don’t you?

Tick, tock…

And so it began…

Four years ago tomorrow, which is actually today now, Matt and I first met. We didn’t get together then. But there the seeds were sown, and he pursued me afterwards, and then, well, the rest is history…

I had no idea we would end up where we did, and how good we would be together, how far we would fall for each other, and I had absolutely no clue we would end up here. How could I have? I had no idea we’d end up here the day/night it all happened, let alone saw it coming beforehand. We had amazing, with flaws…and then we had nothing, because there wasn’t a we, there was suddenly just a me, left flailing around in the void, with no compass, no guide, no idea how to cope.

I wonder if he’d even be attracted to me now. I wonder if he’d even recognise me. Because I don’t. I was thinner, I was fitter, I was healthier, I was more attractive. Now I’m none of those things. I don’t even dress like I did. I can’t. But more intrinsically, I’m not me any more. My life now is unrecognisable. It has shrunk down to nothing. I don’t know who I am now. I used to like me. I used to be happy. I used to be independent, I used to go places. We used to go places. I used to be so many things, none of which I am now. I’m just…broken. Adrift, and lost. And so, SO f*cking lonely. And yes, I know I probably sound like a stuck record, but that’s the way I feel and continue to feel.

I tried to explain in my last entry how low I have been feeling. I pretty much spelled it out. I don’t think I could have made how I’ve been feeling lately any clearer. So I guess I hoped people would listen and reach out to me. And once again, a few did, to be counted on the fingers of one hand, the usual much appreciated suspects… And I really am grateful to those who got in touch. It does mean a lot. Just like I was touched by the lovely girl at my support group who passed on a green crystal heart than she’d been given at her lowest point, that she wanted me to have, and to pass on when I no longer needed it, which meant so much to me. Just like I was touched by the lovely lady at the same group who sadly is in the same position that I am, who wanted me to know that she reads my blog and it means a lot to her. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. Thank you.

But more fool me if I thought anyone else would actually read it, or reach out as a result. It’s just as well that I really write this for me, rather than anyone else, isn’t it? It’s good for me to express myself, because I can’t tell you in person how I’m feeling, and you probably wouldn’t want to hear it if I did. It’s too uncomfortable – for me to say and you to hear. I know many people have said call me if you need me, but I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t reach out, even though I should. And I think people just presume that because they haven’t seen you or heard from you that you’re fine, when actually, it can just as easily mean exactly the opposite.

But what do I have to do to make people hear me? I don’t know. I’ve nearly given up on trying. Still, having ended up in a really scary place over the weekend, I did get in touch with the doctor, who is supposed to be going to help, though judging by her ability to call me back when she says she will so far, I don’t hold out much hope. I saw my counsellor today, and I have some things that I should probably be going to work on, though I’m not sure I’ll manage it. I’ll try… Yes, I should drink less, and go to bed earlier, and get up earlier, and yes, that might make me feel better. But since I can work when I want, and do, what’s the point of getting out of bed if I don’t have to? Why drag myself from the only place I’m happy back into painful reality? I’ll try, I’ll give it a go. Probably. Easier said than done, I bet. Hiding in a world of white wine and then dreams may not be the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s what works for me now. I know I’m probably not helping myself, or helping the anti-depressants do their job. But it’s not like I’m drinking more than I have done over the last few years, and what happens if you take away my crutches, my one remaining comfort zone?

There are a lot of firsts, and birthdays, and anniversaries and the like, coming up in the next couple of months. Like two years ago we went to see the Wonderstuff – the first time I ever had, having always wanted to, and 29 years after he’d first seen them. It was amazing, and we had the best night. It was awesome. But facebook memories, my memories, his memories and comments, that’s all they are now. Memories. They’re all in the past. Seeing/reading them…each one is like a little stab to the heart. A painful reminder of what we had, and what is gone. He’s not here to share them with again, and they’re not important to anybody else. You don’t just lose your person, you lose a shared history, a narrative, the way you don’t need to say things because they always know what you’re thinking. It’s the stone that was thrown and all the ripples that came from it.

Then someone threw a f*cking great boulder in and washed it all away, and left many of us drowning in the waves and clinging on to the wreckage, quite literally for dear life. Is it any wonder that sometimes I just want to let go? I’m struggling at the moment. I’m doing a little better than I was a few days ago; I’ve been kept busy, with work, and my folks, and various. But I’m under no illusions; that could change in the blink of an eye. It frequently does. Last night I dreamt of him. And this morning he was gone again. And however many times that happens, it doesn’t hurt any less.

I miss you so much. I miss the person you made me, that your faith and support brought out in me. I miss so much about us; the team we were together, all the things we did and shared, and the places we went. I may not miss the arguments we sometimes had, but we were working on them and getting stronger all the time. I miss your hugs, your laugh, your sense of humour, cwtching up with you on a beach…I miss everything about you, even how epic your sneezes were, and how loudly you snored. I miss the life we had, and the life we were going to have and now never will. Four years, and now you’ve been gone nearly 7 months. It wasn’t enough. Nowhere near enough. I still love you to the beach, and beyond. I just wish we could have had more time…

Uncomfortably numb

I feel a bit…odd. Numb.

I should be feeling post-tattoo perky, and excited and proud of my two new inkings from the fabulous Jon at Pierced Up. But I’m kinda not. Don’t get me wrong, they do look really good, and they’re going to be awesome when they’re finished. I’ve also got both lobes up to 6mm, and I put tunnels in them yesterday morning and could see through my ears! In fact yesterday evening I also got the left one up to 8mm. I was really chuffed about both of those things, but the novelty of that wore off quite quickly, especially since no-one else gives a monkeys. Not that it’s going to stop me getting them both up to 10mm of course…

Maybe it’s because my tattoos still need a couple of hours more work on them because they’re not finished yet. It was a bit disappointing not to to get them finished today, but we decided they needed to be bigger than originally planned, and after 5.5 hours I’m not sure I could have taken much more anyway; I’d run out of capacity to cope with the pain, and they were fairly ouchy as tattoos go. So, in a couple of weeks, when they’ve settled, I’ll go back and get them finished – fill in the black work bit and finish the dotwork shading. Probably another 3 hours, maybe less.

Maybe it’s because they hurt a lot and it’s all just taken lot out of me. I am tired, that’s for sure. And my endo ouchy is off on one too.

But I think it’s more likely that I feel flat because Matt wasn’t there to share either experience with – stretching or ink. Which he should have been, and always would have been, and he wasn’t and he isn’t, which sucks just as much as it ever does. Body mods was something we shared. It was one of our things. And it just doesn’t feel quite the same it being just my thing now, even though it was my thing before he came along. It was a thing better shared, and is now one more thing I have to do on my own. Although Austin did get bored of waiting around for me in his capacity as chauffeur and got his eyebrow pierced while he was there, so I wasn’t entirely alone in my insanity.

As tradition dictates, once photographed and wrapped up and let out onto the city streets again, Austin and I went to Zero Degrees for celebratory beer and food. Except I just found myself uncontrollably and unexpectedly crying into my beer. Luckily it was, for some unknown reason, bizarrely busy and loud, so I could cry in our dark corner without anyone noticing. Apart from Austin of course, who did his best to console me as ever. He’s had a lot of practice by now.

Then I went to a bereavement support group in Bristol. Having found it, and it turning out to be meeting the same evening as I was already due to be in Bristol, it seemed worth going to. So I went, and met a range of people in the same type of situation as me, variations on the same theme, who were welcoming and friendly. It’s only once a month, and it’s always good to meet people who get it – it cuts out all the small talk and removes the need for explanatory bullish*t, and just kinda cuts to the chase. I may even go back.

I’ve not been coping very well since New Year. Although Christmas and New Year’s Eve were tough and emotional and horrible, I was at least surrounded by family, and sometimes friends. Then the New Year started; grey and miserable, bleakly stretching ahead of me. A year with no Matt in it, with no plans, an empty diary, and nothing to look forward to, except more of the same, with lots of work to do, and a fair few extra stresses thrown in for good measure. I think I’d been crying for nigh on five days straight by the time I got to talk to my Doctor.

So he upped my meds, and has now referred me to the Mental Health Services Team, with a note that I’m a possible suicide risk. I’ve been feeling marginally better yesterday and today, but it still feels like I’m on a knife edge. And it’ll take weeks before I hear from them anyway. So, one day at a time. Or one hour at a time if that’s what it takes, and it often is.

Right now, like I said, I just feel numb.

Bad day at the office

There are better days.
And there are worse days.
Today was a bad day.

I woke up emotional and stayed that way pretty much all day, on and off, more or less visibly. You try spending hours surrounded by Christmas gifts, and Christmas music, and I cry at brass bands at Christmas as it is – so arriving at work to the Salvation Army Band doing their thing…? Not a great start to my working day.

And coming home wasn’t coming home.
It was just coming back to an empty house. Again.

So I came back to the house and cried properly, and cried, and cried, and let out all the noise and tears that I’ve not been able to let out over the past few days away.

Then I ended up in the pub, reading, while Austin worked, because I just couldn’t face being at home on my own. I couldn’t think of one place I wanted to be, one thing I wanted to do. I could have called people, but all I really wanted to do was to call Matt, and I didn’t want to just cry down the phone all over anyone else. So I stayed for a couple of hours and then came back and did the same thing all over again. (Max is not at all sure what to do with a wailing owner!)

Now all I need is for eldest to come up and put a new patch on for me, then to take my meds, and then to go to sleep and just dream it all away for a while. I’m tired, I’m sad, and it’s been a long, long day.

I just miss him SO much and without him, I’m massively lonely, horribly sad, and just a bit of a wreck all ’round really. I’m sure I sound like a pretty pathetic case. A grown woman, suddenly incapable of standing on my own two feet. But that’s just the way it is today. I love him, and I miss him, and if that means I need to cry, then I’m crying. That’s how grief is today.

Hard habit to break

I’m working away from home, at The Christmas Shopping Fayre in Exeter. And staying in Topsham. Last year Matt was with me. And we’ve stayed in Topsham together lots of times for various trade shows etc. It feels weird and wrong being here without him.

Clearly he’s not here. But my brain clearly rationalises this in the background by thinking he must just not have been able to get the time off work. So I keep getting the urge to ring him or message him, to let him know how I’m getting on, just as I once would have done. It’s odd and not that pleasant, because it means I keep having to remember I can’t do that, and every time it’s like a little stab to the heart.

I’ve been mostly holding it together though. As long as no one is too nice to me or asks me how I’m really doing. And walking around both the show and Topsham and bumping into so many memories has led, unsurprisingly, to some emotional weepy moments. There’s the stall he got my Christmas present at last year, there are the Airbnb places we’ve stayed at, there’s the pub we drank in. Etc, etc, etc.

But for the last few days my meds seem to have been doing their job; just taking me a mental step back from it all. The grief and the pain is all still there, but it’s just a little further below the surface. Which I guess is good. And now I’m trying to get used to being on my own and having to do everything by myself. That’s what single is. Even though I don’t feel single. Not at all. I’m not ready to be single, even though that’s technically what I am.

In my heart I’m still with Matt. I still miss him, and I still love him. I brought his fleece with me, and went to sleep hugging it last night, like a child with a comforter. It helped. It felt like part of him was with me. Whatever gets you through, right?

Love you. SO wish you were here with me. Nothing is the same without you. 😢💔

All cried out?

Today is the longest I’ve gone without crying since Matt died. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’ve managed to take my meds consistently for a few days without forgetting a dose. Maybe it’s because I got the faulty ring packed up and sent back first thing to be sorted out, and am hoping to get it back pretty soon, as it should be, as it was meant to be, as they’ve promised. Maybe it’s because Cribbs Causeway have had Matt’s keys handed in and I can pick them up tomorrow. Maybe it’s because of all the support my friends have been giving me over the last week or so, which has been a pretty bad one. Maybe it’s because I had a night of very weird dreams that included Matt, and they tried to tell me he was still alive but my subconscious wouldn’t let it do that, like lucid dreaming, it knew what the truth was.

I don’t know why it is. I can feel the tears there, lurking underneath. I could call them forth if I wanted to. I’m almost scared to cry now in case I won’t be able to stop once I’ve started again. It’s a bit like I’m crying on the inside not the outside though. It’s not like I’m suddenly better and over him and all is well with the world again. I’m not and and it most certainly isn’t.

It just feels more like I’ve taken a step outside of it all, and disconnected for a little while. Disassociated. Maybe my body/brain realised I needed some rest, or a break, or something. I don’t know. Just like everything else, it is what it is. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I think I’ll worry about that tomorrow though. One day at a time, remember?

In the meantime one of the rings was great. And it fits and it works, and your crazy still matched my crazy. However I’m feeling now, one thing is not, and never will be, in doubt. I love you my beautiful boy ♥️⭐️

Still not here

We went to look at a male Ragdoll kitten today, as the counsellor thinks something to look after that needs me, that is affectionate, might help ground me, give me a reason to be at home, and give me something to focus on. Ragdolls fit that spec. Matt had always been pretty much against a third cat. Which didn’t stop me wanting to ring him and talk to him about it, and ask his advice. And his advice for now, not then, because I know back then he would have said no, but in this circumstance, maybe he would think a new kitten would be a good thing for me. But I couldn’t ask him. I can’t ask him. I’d like to think he’s up there looking out for me, or looking after me, but whether he is or isn’t I’ll never know.

So I asked the Twitterati. Who said buy kitten. Well, the internet is all about cats and kittens, right? 😉 Their decision wasn’t exactly a surprise. And I kinda knew where I was going with it but… So tomorrow I will be picking up a new distraction. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. I have no self confidence, and no confidence in my ability to make the correct decisions about things. But hopefully it will help. What do I have to lose? Ragdolls are supposed to be affectionate and clingy and need attention, and…maybe it will work. Maybe it will help. Maybe I will come home to hang out with the kitten instead of floating restlessly around from pub to pub. In which case it will have been worth the money.

Then I went to work. And then I went to the Doctor, who thinks, unexpectedly, that I should stay on the meds, at the current level. He’s worried that if we pull that rug out from under me, I’ll just feel worse. The anxiety is probably, arguably, just a product of what I’ve been through and the process of dealing with it. He made it very clear that what I have been through is a massive trauma, well above and beyond the normal for such things (like there’s a normal), which I should not underestimate. Some people wouldn’t even have made it out of bed at this point, (which sounds quite attractive tbh), and he wanted me to know that I’m actually doing pretty well all things considered. Better than ok. I do wish it felt like I was doing well though. But it doesn’t. I’m just trying to do life because I don’t have any choice. Still, at least he’s continuing to prescribe me the diazepam, which is my lifeline when I can’t get a grip, or the anxiety gets too much.

And then after that I went to the pub, and had an unplanned and unexpectedly nice evening at the Lamb, with an ever changing group of people and friends. And it was nice. And I played nice, and was sociable and everything. I even nipped out to the FOAC Christmas Fayre in the Town Hall and picked up a couple of bits, and pretended that Christmas isn’t something that I really wish wasn’t happening and would rather ignore. I put on the face that people needed to see, and yes, I actually enjoyed some of it. I’m led to believe that’s allowed, even if it feels weird to me. I still don’t feel engaged with any of it, but it’s a bit like knowing how to play the game. Even if you feel like you’re watching it all from the outside, if you’re convincing enough, you can almost convince yourself you’re normal too. I SO am not.

But eventually I had to come home. On my own. To an empty house (Austin is at his Dad’s). And it doesn’t matter how good or distracting the interludes are. The reality remains the same. I still came home to an empty house, where you are not. I can’t tell you all about my evening, talk and laugh about what people said and did, and then snuggle up with you, put the world outside away, and go back to just being us. I don’t like it. It still all feels horrible and wrong and actually it feels worse as you get further away from me. I feel like I’m leaving you behind and losing even more of you. I feel guilty for moving on, even just a tiny bit. I want to go back, and I can’t. I don’t love you any less though. And I miss you just as much. Your side of the bed feels particularly empty tonight. 😭 💔

Spinning around

Today Matt’s eldest daughter graduated with a 1st in Product Design Engineering from Sheffield. I really wanted to be there for Matt, but for various reasons I couldn’t be, which hurts, and I can’t help feeling like I let him down, however daft that might sound. He was SO proud of her; he told everyone he could how well she’d done, and I wish he could have been there to see her graduate. I know she does too. It’s so hard for everyone going through things where Matt should be, and isn’t. So many firsts…and they all hurt.

And today I saw my counsellor for the second time. I’m still not sure how it will help, but I’ll keep going for the time being. It’s not something I have any experience of. Maybe just talking to someone who validates that how you feel is ok, who is objective and doesn’t have an agenda, who doesn’t judge you, and who lets you express yourself is enough. And she did have some suggestions and maybe some of them will help me cope a little better. Time will tell. I really need something to help, so I’ll try pretty much anything at this point. I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow, something I also discussed with her, and maybe between the two of them we can get me on some sort of an even keel. I know a lot of people are worried about me, and I’m worried about me too. I’m not in a good place on many levels.

I didn’t sleep well last night again. It was a night of vivid and surreal almost nightmares, and I woke up frequently. Matt was in there somewhere too, not in a good way, but I can’t remember the details, which is probably a good thing. My brain is clearly spending all day and night spinning around trying to make sense of something to which there is no sense. Still, I’d really like a more restful night tonight. The meds insure that I sleep, they just don’t guarantee the quality of that sleep…🙁💤

Tomorrow is Friday. Another weekend looms without you. And for some of it I’m going to be home alone, including an overnight. I know I have to learn how to do that again. But I don’t have to like it. How can I possibly like living here without you? There’s so much you here, and yet you’re not here at all. It’s no wonder my brain can’t cope, and it’s no wonder I feel so lonely. I was cleaning my teeth this morning, and my mind’s eye suddenly saw you standing there next to me, cleaning your teeth too, like you always did, and it was so vivid; like I could reach out and touch you. But I couldn’t. Crying and cleaning your teeth at the same time is not easy. Even in the mundane, I miss you. 😭💔

Another day

I thought I wanted to write more, And I probably do. But now that it comes to it, I don’t feel like putting a lot of those words on the page. It’s been another day. With ups and downs, friends and not so, work and stress, a panic attack, and predictable behaviour from the usual quarters, and it’s another day over. So this is it, for what it’s worth, today.

Simon, the current manager of the Oakhouse, was one of the few locals who were visibly emotional when I had to tell them about Matt. Ironic, since he’s not a local at all. However we spent a lot of time there, it was our chosen place. Where we felt at home. And we spent a lot of time with him, not just there, but also drinks elsewhere, and we both counted him as a friend. He’s been looking after me ever since, letting me keep wine in his fridge, stocking my favourite wine, etc.,……and he leaves tomorrow. I know the Oakhouse will remain, but I feel like I’ve lost my bolt hole, my out of home comfort zone. Austin will still be working there, so I’ll still spend time there, but it’s not going to be the same, which is sad, and depressing, and worrying.

I don’t cope well with change, or stress, or anything at the moment. And today has had everything. I’m glad it’s bedtime. It’s just a shame that tomorrow is unlikely to be any better, as ever.

Last night you were in my dreams and not in a good way. I am carrying a lot on my shoulders at the moment, and if you were here  you would totally understand and get it and just know… we always knew what each other was thinking. So if you feel like popping by again tonight, could you please just come and give me a hug? Because I need one of your hugs SO badly. I know it’ll be just a dream, but it would mean the world to me right now. Even if waking up again afterwards will make me feel bereft again, I feel like that all the time anyway, so it would be worth it.

I love you so much, and I’m trying really hard to keep going, and to do the best I can for you and for us. We knew what mattered.  Our truth. Anything and everything else is just gravy baby.

Little lost soul

So how do I tell whether this is just a really bad patch, or the antidepressants fully bedding in and making me feel worse like the last ones did?

I can’t stop thinking about him. Just like yesterday, I keep seeing him in my head, coming across photos or reminders of him, and the pictures in my mind’s eye are so clear and so vivid, I just can’t understand how he isn’t here in reality. My brain just spins itself round and round in circles, and I just miss him so bad that my stomach is tied in knots and I can’t speak without crying.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know where to be. I’m fed up of hanging out in all the local pubs but I hate being at the house for any length of time. The church is closed. It’s dark so going for a walk to the res or up the hill is out of the question. I am, as someone just called me, like a little lost soul, just floating around with no place to be. And I feel so, so lonely.

I have no purpose. There’s nothing I want to be doing, nowhere I want to be. All I seem to be able to do is cry nonstop. Ugly, from the bottom of my heart crying, And it hurts, and it hurts, and it hurts, and it doesn’t stop, and it doesn’t get better.

I don’t know what to do.