Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Bad Mantra. Suicide, revenge, closure and so on.

The Bad Mantra is how I start too many days. If there were one thing I could change now, it would be to ditch it. 

I'd better explain what it is then. It's a long, familiar thought pattern that I go through until its unhappy conclusion on more days than I don't. 

This one is all to do with my ex, Loop. I won't go on and on about this, I want to start looking forward, but I hope that examining it in some way will help me bring this to closure. Or rather, will allow me to not think about it every day. 

She was my first love and we had a very intense relationship. When she dumped me, for which no-one would blame her, I was drinking like a loon, I was very sad indeed. When she came round one day to tell me she was now going out with my flatmate, I was devastated. 

So devastated that a week later I made my only serious suicide attempt. I'd taken small "overdoses" of pills when in despair before, but never enough to even have to tell anyone when I inevitably did wake up the next day. This time I took the whole medicine cabinet (my parents', who have left it almost bare ever since as a result). 

I spent a week or so in hospital but came out unscathed. I never heard a word from her.

I moved on. I found Mag and a wonderful job - a career, in fact. When alcohol started to interfere with and threaten my career, I did something about it. I got sober for six months. It wasn't ideal, though, I was over-working, didn't have enough recovery time from my detox, and was still smoking industrial amounts of very strong cannabis. 

Mag and I - who were living in different, very distant places - split up. I got in touch with Loop again. To cut a long story short, the following experience triggered a break-down of a sort, the loss of my career, and a descent into the miserable state from which I've been trying to emerge now. 

I never heard another word from her. One drunken night I contacted her brother threatening to send an unpleasant message to her partner. I got in touch and immediately withdrew that threat, apologising profusely as soon as I woke up.

Until, unwisely looking at her profile on Facebook I found out she'd had a child with the flatmate, although the Bad Mantra predates this knowledge by some time. It made me feel unbearably sad and upset. I went to enormous lengths to get in touch with her. Basically, I had to beg. 

We were able to sort a few things out between us in our email exchanges, though the impression I have is I've made her feel better by telling her things aren't her fault.  We exchange messages occasionally and without much feeling - she says if we're to talk properly we need to do so face-to-face and doesn't seem encouraging about the prospect of that.

The Bad Mantra started some time ago. It's three repeated strings of thought in the shape of letters or messages, two to Loop, one to her partner. 

One of Loop's messages starts, "You fucking lying bitch". The second starts, "You ruined my life". These aren't light, fun messages. The message to her partner - for whom I don't even wish to make up a name - is similarly unpleasant, a collection of unpleasant things Loop told me about him when we got back in touch with each other. 

These thoughts go on and on until they eventually reach a dénouement with me reasoning that the messages are unreasonable and unfair. There's a fantasy of sending them, of course, but in the real world absolutely zero chance of that.

I want this to stop. 

In counselling, which I finished just over a year ago now and don't, for the moment, envisage starting back at it, I discussed this quite a lot. In the end I wrote out my fantasy message, which my counsellor read and I then took home and burned. It was extremely long and extremely unpleasant - fair and balanced it was not.

I had hoped that might work. But it hasn't. 

I'm still stuck with the feeling that I'm stuck with these thoughts. I word it in that way because I do accept that I'm not. That I have a choice, perhaps not a choice over every thought that enters my mind, but a choice of what I pursue. 

So why am I still going through (or putting myself through) this crap? It involves starting every day by confronting the single most upsetting, traumatic and even life-threatening events of my life. It is not a good way to start the day.

I don't mind remembering from time to time, I accept that. I'll feel sad about what happened too, no doubt. But this is obsessive. 

I suppose there is a part of me that really does want to send those messages. That thinks all that anger and hatred is justified. It's almost certainly not. Yes, Loop did some bad things, but certainly not intentionally, she's not a bad person. 

I think there may an extent to which I enjoy it too. That's not quite right. Perhaps I mean that it still gives some connection to her, even when it's in such a painful way. I'm a sucker for my routines too, and as it’s become a routine it's become comforting to me in some way. Perhaps I think - on some level - that I'm punishing myself and I deserve that punishment? Mad, huh.

I say I accept that I have a choice in this, but that's just something that I accept intellectually at the moment. That's not how it feels when it's happening. That's something I'm going to have to work at.  

So, I'm going to make a real conscious effort to kill the bad mantra. Answering "I forgive you" to these thoughts seems an attractive idea to me. I'm going to try it.

Hopefully this post will have helped a little. It's very long, isn't it? This whole thing has been an obsession for so long. You have no idea how much I want it to end.