Disclaimer: The following post isn’t about blame or excuses. My actions, merits and flaws are my own and I’ve owned up to them whatever they may be.
In March 2015 The Mental Attic came back stronger than ever, with a five-article-a-week schedule, one I’m keeping up even today. It’s not been easy sometimes but I’m doing it because it’s worth it, because it’s part of my dreams and I decided I would pursue them, all of them.
But to get there, to find that resolve, I had to go through one of the worst periods of my life. Not many people know this, not even some of my closest friends. I don’t talk much about what happened to me last year, the bad days. But I’ve come through it and I feel it’s time to tell the tale. There are three main reasons for this. The first is catharsis. I find peace in talking about my issues and writing about them. Writing for me isn’t just something I love and enjoy, but also a way to express myself when I can’t talk about things or more recently, when I don’t have many people to talk to. The second is hope, as in I hope knowing what happened to me and the mistakes I made will help you not make them if you ever find yourself in my situation. The third is about the site. I created The Mental Attic with the hope that people would use it to express themselves, to help each other grow and learn. It would be hypocritical of me to ask this of others without me doing the same.
Last year I moved to Canada from Venezuela and on the day I landed, I started a relationship with someone I had met online. I was perhaps happier than I had ever been before, never having known what it was like to be loved by someone, my relationship history being tumultuous, heartbreaking and more complicated than a JRPG plot. This was new and different.
Things were good and perhaps moved along faster than either of us expected and we made plans, long lasting ones. Before, my dreams of the future never included someone else, because I didn’t have the self-esteem or the self-respect to believe I’d ever find anyone. But that changed and I found my dreams and hopes changing as well. I saw my goals as our goals, saw my ambitions turned towards the purpose of our lives being as good as I wanted them to be. Over the following months we helped each other conquer our demons and become stronger, for ourselves and each other.
Then it all came crashing down…perhaps we rushed too much or wanted too much. We found ourselves with the unavoidable realisation that we weren’t ready for the relationship. I’ve spoken in the past how I’ve only now found independence and the confidence that I can survive on my own, that I’m capable of doing everything I want to do. At the time I didn’t and that was something I needed to find. As for the other party, they were going through their own rough period and it just wouldn’t work. It was amicable enough that we parted on good terms. I can’t say more about their side. At the time it was a delicate subject and I promised not to tell and I keep my promises.
I thought I was good with it, but I couldn’t readjust. My dreams were no longer just mine and they felt alien to me now. And I had changed so many plans that I was lost, aimless and alone. Things spiralled for me and every day I felt worse than the one before, desperate to recover what I had lost, desperate for a connection…and so I started acting like an idiot. I pushed and pushed and kept pushing, desperate to reconnect, not realising how annoying I was, how many problems I was causing my now ex, and so the more I pushed, the more they pushed back until it came to a definite point where I was told it was enough…and while before I had lost a beautiful relationship now I had also lost one of the best friends I ever had. But I didn’t stop there, while acting like a complete buffoon with the ex I was doing the same with other friends. The fact that I’m not friendless today is a miracle.
Then after month of suffering I saw a light, a hand offered to let me get to where my dreams waited for me…and what did I do in my depressed mind? I acted like an ass even more, asking those same friends I had bothered if I could stay with them, almost indefinitely while I settled. They were my friends, yes, but we didn’t know each other well enough for me to even ask such a thing, and so I lost many of them. I had gone too far, expected too much and I didn’t even see it. Hell, even if we had been closer, asking that of them would still have been wrong, and yet I did it.
Thankfully, one of the friends whom I had caused problems for, decided to stick by me despite how difficult I was making it, and they made me realise so much of my own bullshit, I sincerely believe they are part of the reason I managed to pull through, though that didn’t happen for at least another few weeks.
Before I got better I had to get worse and one week I touched bottom: I woke up thinking and feeling and being certain that everything bad that had happened, everything I’d lost and everything bad that would happen in the future was because it was my role in life to be miserable. Some people get the happy ending while others just don’t and I felt I was in the second camp, this was my new reality, one of complete and utter worthlessness. Today I shudder at how empty and dead inside I felt at the time.
Then came the dream. It was literally a dream…and it was completely insane. It involved my ex, their new partner, board games, a gang of bikers, stereotypical American university frat-boys and isometric 16-bit RPGs. It was ludicrous and I’m not making this shit up, but I woke up happy. For the first time in months, I saw the world without any gloom. In my ex I didn’t see the pain anymore but remembered what was truly important, what I held as truth for that person I loved: I wanted them to be happy, even if I wasn’t in the picture. They had moved on, and I was happy to see them happy.
I went through that difficult time, more than six months of complete hopelessness, and came out stronger than before, and motivated to achieve my dreams. Some are impossible, some will be hard, but you know what? I’ll still achieve them. The Mental Attic is one of them, and it’s why I keep pushing hard. I’ve also tried my best to make amends, but some wounds run deeper than others and once broken, trust is hard to recover. Still, I hope the future has good things in store for us.
For the friends who stood by me during this time, even when I made it hard as hell for them, thank you, you’re family to me. As another would say, you’re clan.
For the friends whom I pushed away with my stupid behaviour, I’m sorry…I’m truly sorry.
For the rest of you…don’t make my mistakes. Don’t let your misery dominate you, don’t let it turn you into someone you don’t recognise, and don’t let it make you feel like you don’t deserve happiness.
To end this I’ll quote my sister when I told her I was depressed. She of course has suffered from clinical depression before: “No, you’re not depressed…you’re just having a hell of a rough time.”
She was right of course. It was a hell of a rough time.
(Featured Image Credit: Christopher Martin Photography)