Frustration

I broke up with the man I was dating last month, as regular readers know. I didn’t call him my boyfriend, because I hardly saw him. He had no time for me since he worked long hours every day of the week. It was an amicable break up.

There was another man that I met first who was very interesting. I wanted to date him when I met him, but he wasn’t interested in dating anyone, so we just became friends. Recently, he’s said he is thinking of starting to date. At the same time, he’s made it plain to me that he’s not interested in dating me. I’ve been friend-zoned.

All this hurts. Now I have to get back into the scene and start meeting men and experiencing all the rejection that goes with that experience. Sigh. There’s no other way around it, though. I dread it. I’ve been rejected for living with a mental illness in the past, and getting back into the scene means having to disclose that fact all over again to each man I meet. It sucks. There’s so much misinformation and stigma in the world. Bipolar disorder is so little understood by the average man.

All this has affected my mood. I’m sad. Really sad at times. This morning, I was despondent. Thankfully, I have a best friend who talked to me. My therapist was full, so no available time for a session, but he took time for a phone call, which I was very grateful for.

When I started this blog nine years ago, I was single and not really capable of having a relationship. Over the ensuing years, I’ve done tremendous work and got to a place in my recovery where I feel like I am worthy of a good relationship. Saying “I am worthy” and meaning it is light-years ahead of where I used to be. I don’t think it’s easy to say how important that realization is: I am worthy of a good relationship.

I’m also ready for one, so it’s back into the scene I go. Wish me luck.

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Healing

Healing takes time. Grief comes in waves. Work is not easy right now.

I’m sad about the break up, but I’m not in pain like I was the first time. This time was completely my decision, and it was amicable.

I went out with a man Friday night whom I’m interested in. I hesitate to call it a date, but we had a good time. And we’ve made plans to see each other again.

Yesterday, I was sad. I ran an errand in the morning, and then I stayed home all day. I tried listening to classical music, but the day just called for sad music, so I put that on. I lay on my bed and chatted with my best friend by text. I dozed for a while.

Then my best friend suggested I switch the music to some easy guitar, which I did. It was a good suggestion. My mood lightened.

I opened Tinder, which I hadn’t opened in many long months. There was a profile still on some page there that had evidently met the requirements to be some kind of match. It had sat there for months. I messaged him recognizing his picture from some of the gay dating apps.

I don’t know how Tinder works really well, so I went to the dating app and messaged him there. Some hours later in the afternoon, he replied. We had a good chat, and I’m sure we’ll chat again. He’s also very interested in meditation, so that’s a strong connection.

The other thing I did all day was read a new book of poetry from Walt Whitman: Live Oak, With Moss. It had new illustrations and was really very lovely. The cluster of poems as Whitman called them was about sexual love between men. It was very moving. Whitman never published this cluster as a separate group. He rearranged them and used them as part of the Catullus poems in Leaves of Grass. The illustrations, the poetry, and the included essay all made me feel very good.

I’ve been to therapy a few times since the break up, and I’m going again today.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure how far away the light is, but it’s there.

The Day After

Yesterday, I was feeling very low because I broke up with the man I was dating. Last night, I went out to eat with two very close friends. They allowed me to dominate the conversation. I was able to say everything I wanted to say and process the whole experience. The result is that today I feel refreshed.

I love the way the process works. For this low spot, I used meditation, medication, and conversation.

In meditation before the break up when I was feeling particularly bad, I used visualization. I imagined myself actually vomiting up all the anxiety I was feeling. It was remarkably helpful, and I felt better. While I was feeling so low after the break up, I was able to imagine myself receiving light and positive energy. It helped.

I have an anti-anxiety medicine that I use as needed. With all the chaos at work the past month and with my doctor’s approval, I’ve been using it daily. It really helped during the break up, too.

I used conversation in therapy to help me know how best to manage the actual conversation of the break up, and last night, the conversation with two close friends really helped me get all the crap out. I’m so grateful to them.

All of this reinforces what I already knew. Get it out. Whatever is troubling me loses its power when I speak it. It really works. Speak it to a trusted person. That’s key.

Breaking up again

I haven’t written about my relationship in a long time, because there was nothing happening. I wasn’t seeing the man I was dating hardly at all, and he wasn’t making efforts to see me.

I’m hurting. This isn’t as bad as the last time we broke up, but I’m still hurting. Someone said that perhaps this is his lesson. That hurts. I don’t want to be someone’s lesson. I want love. I deserve another man’s time being put in to explore a relationship. I wasn’t getting that.

I broke up with him last night, and in the few minutes we were together, he showed more tenderness than he has the past five and a half months.

He was working monstrously long hours: ten to twelve hours a day. Every single day. Seven days a week. There was no time for me.

There were two times in the past few months I expressed mild dissatisfaction with things, and his response was that perhaps I should date other men. That was unhelpful to say the least.

In the past month, I had an opportunity to tell him I was hurting, and he mocked me. He actually ridiculed me.

I’m hurting, but I can tell I will heal.

Right now, there are all sorts of things rolling around in my head that I want to say to him, but it’s over. I won’t say them. I won’t reach out.

If he reaches out to me, I’m open, but I would be totally shocked if that happened.

Doing all this with a mental illness makes me feel like I’m broken and damaged.

This post is completely disjointed, and I can’t write anymore.

Beauty in the Ugly

Life is messy. Specifically, my life is messy.

I have a good job, but I haven’t managed my finances well. For years, I had nothing to manage, so I went a little crazy when I got this job. But I can get by, and there is an end to paying for that mistake.

There is stress in my job. All jobs have it. Mine is no exception. Since I live with bipolar disorder, I am highly sensitive to stress. I think I’m allergic to it.

Psychologically, I’m a wreck. My mind races. It invents lots of catastrophes that won’t happen, but my gut reacts to the imagined disasters like they’re happening now creating a lot of anxiety.

Romantically, this year has been tumultuous. I dated a man and fell in love and then broke up and went through heartache and now we’re dating again. It feels good right now, but there’s been a lot of upheaval.

Despite all this, I wake every morning and get up out of bed. I have a morning routine that I really like. I drink a cup of tea and briefly scroll through Facebook, and then I meditate. This morning’s meditation was a good example of the beauty in the midst of the turmoil. My mind was racing, so I started counting my breaths on my fingers. The counting aided my concentration, and I was soon simply breathing.

Of course, my mind still wandered, but it wasn’t racing. I was able to bring it back to the breath easily. Then it would wander again, and I’d bring it back to my breath. It’s a very beautiful process. Wandering. Breathing. Wandering. Breathing. Over and over.

Despite the fear I have of rejection, I’m still pursuing a romantic partnership. I put effort into cultivating a good relationship. Last Friday, I was honestly terrified waiting for him to come to dinner, but I didn’t cancel it. I walked through the fear. I was rewarded with a delightful evening, and last night, I was rewarded again with an easy chat by text. It feels good knowing I’m walking through my fear.

I am an imperfect man. I have emotions that get out of control. I’m not always able to react with equanimity to life events. I have a lot of fear and anxiety that almost – almost – debilitates me.

The way I walk through my imperfections is very beautiful. In my head, I’m leaping over them, but in reality, I’m taking just one step at a time. There is real beauty in a single step. Sometimes there is enormous courage in a single step, and courage is beautiful. One single courageous step is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Dating Again

Last night, the man I call my ex came to dinner. I invited him earlier in the week, and he agreed.

I didn’t cook anything elaborate: pasta with pesto, garlic toast, and salad.

I began to get nervous in the morning yesterday, and by the afternoon, I was scared. The fear was coming out in lots of very odd ways. It was focused on all different kinds of objects. I was afraid of stuff at work. I got worried about retirement, which is a long way off.

I was able to chat with my best friend, and just being heard helped me calm down for a while. Then, I got home, and I was honestly panicking. I was certain I was going to lose my job and live on the streets. I was positive that all the changes I’ve made in my life in the past 3 or 4 years were disasters. I told myself I should have never taken my present job and should have stayed on disability.

All of this was redirected anxiety about the date. The truth was I was scared of seeing him again. I was scared of rejection.

My best friend helped me remember to concentrate on one thing at a time. All I had to do was prepare the garlic toast and salad and cook the pasta. That’s all I had to do. So I concentrated on preparing dinner. It was very simple to cook the pasta. The whole thing was easy, but it felt good to get into the actions in the kitchen.

And it paid off nicely. We had a good evening. I kept the conversation light. We had some laughs. The whole evening was good.

The result is he’s no longer my ex. We’re dating. Now comes the hard part for me. I have to allow this relationship to develop slowly and at its own pace. I can’t rush.

I’m going to have to allow. Allow. That word is foreign to me.

Allow.

I’m going to have to use meditation techniques to the fullest.

I’m going to have to breathe through this.

Feeling It

I had dinner last night with my ex. We talked for an hour and a half about all sorts of things. The topic of my childhood trauma came up. It felt very tender for me, but I talked. We discussed a lot of pleasant things, too. There was talk of current affairs and the tragic fires in California.

It’s too early to say we’re dating again. We both enjoyed last night a lot. We both said so, and he said he wants to do it again.

Now comes the tricky part for me. My nature is to rush in and flood him with love. I want to wash over him with goodness – with what I perceive as goodness. That’s my attachment style. I’m like a wave from the book I read recently – Wired for Dating by Stan Tatkin.

Now is when I get to practice a bit more patience. I get to breathe and pace myself. What does going slow look like? I think I’m going to be answering that question over the next weeks and months. I’m going to be breathing and walking through the feelings.

Breathing.

My meditation has changed this week. I’m doing less and breathing more. The words still pass through. They’re always there. My goal each time is to get just three good breaths, but while I’m concentrating on the rise and fall of my diaphragm, the words are still there. It’s quite humorous. They’re mostly words about whether or not this one is a good breath, or I’m counting this breath. They’re very quiet words, but they are there nonetheless.

I wonder what it’s like to breathe with a still mind. To be fully present in the breath. Even one would be a great accomplishment for me.

My mind is definitely quieter than years ago, but it still chases thoughts. It’s fine. It’s not a worry. It’s doing its job. I just want it to be a little quieter.