I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting off writing this post.
When I first mentioned the possibility of writing it, I kind of thought that I’d be doing it for myself. I didn’t even really know whether I’d publish it, I just knew that I wanted to write it for my own peace of mind. But, then I mentioned writing it on twitter and a few people seemed interested in actually reading it, so then I got scared because I realised that I’d be sharing a very vulnerable part of myself.
Now, I do that a lot on this blog. However, my relationship is something that I don’t always be completely honest and open about because it affects two parties, and so I feel like it’s not fair to dish the dirt. Whilst this post is going to focus mostly on what has been going on with me and my mental health and everything else, I have asked Zack to have a read and approve it before because I am very conscious that I want to keep our relationship between us, but I couldn’t write this post without mentioning it.
So, if you’re reading this, then Zack has approved.
I’ll actually get on to the post now.
So, in July 2018, Zack went away. I knew for about 10 months beforehand that he was going to be going away, and he knew for about 3 months before that but kept it from me until it was certain.
With Zack’s job, I knew that, realistically, there was always a big big chance of him being sent away. However, in the almost 5 years that Zack has been in his job, I have just tried to ignore the possibility and get on with my and our life. And, when he finally told me that he would be going away, I cried a lot.
I basically felt heartbroken. And, i don’t know why.
Me being heartbroken for like the first couple of months after finding out did not help things at all. It added a lot of strain to our relationship, and it felt like we were literally just waiting around for D-Day when he would leave.
And then, for a couple of months after that, I was in denial. It was months and months away that he would actually leave, so why worry about it now?
And then came June.
June 2018 was one of the best months of my entire life.
I was done with uni, Zack had some time off of work, and we just spent time together. We did things that we have been wanting to do for years like going for a sunset picnic in the Peak District, and we really just enjoyed the time that we had together.
And then July came and I was too busy having fun to recognise what was actually coming.
And, really, all of this denial only helped me deal with it temporarily.
And, when Zack left, I broke.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t become a LDR zombie. I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend 6 months waiting for him. But, in reality, things are a lot more complicated than that.
Although, of course, I missed the relationship side of things with Zack, I don’t think I truly realised how much I still need to work through within myself until he went away. I try not to rely on him to fix me, but just being able to talk things through helps me much more than I’d ever even considered. And, when we were thousands and thousands of miles apart, it’s that trust and friendship that I missed the most.
Undoubtedly, Zack knows more about me than any other single person on earth. We’ve been together for 7 years now, it would be strange if he didn’t. But Zack being away showed me all of the things that I am lacking within my life.
I am lacking friendships where I feel fully able to confide in my friends for help and support with anything. I am lacking the psychological help that deep deep deep down I really know that I need. I am lacking anyone else who I trust, and it sucks.
I promised myself that my life wouldn’t stop when Zack went away, and it didn’t. I got on with it, spent a lot of time with my family, did a lot of work for my degree, and am typing this retrospectively on the other side of this experience.
However, the sudden removal of that support system that I have relied so heavily on for the last 7 years really really hurt, and it made me confront things within myself that I have been repressing.
With every day, I felt more drained. Every battle against my own mind was harder. And I was back in that very dark place that I had clawed myself out of years ago.
And I’m not writing this to moan and groan, I’m writing it from my true experience because recovery truly isn’t linear.
I blamed myself. The one thing that I had promised Zack is that I’d look after myself and I was even failing at that. I caused arguments on purpose because all I believed is that he deserved better than me.
It was exhausting.
I struggled with my blog, social media, writing- everything creative that usually heals me hurt even more because it meant that I was forced to confront my mind.
And, truly, I just wasn’t ready to suddenly go back there and work through those issues that I’d repressed for so long.
I spent the last 6 months a very confused, muddled mess.
Zack was an angel, as always, and helped me through every single episode that I had. But, they were coming daily, thicker and faster than ever before, and every time I had one, it felt like I’d failed again.
On the other side, now, I recognise that I am nowhere near where I thought I was in terms of recovery. I’m very psychologically scarred and certain things trigger me more than I ever recognised. However, these last 6 months have taught me that these are my issues to work through. And, although Zack wants to help and support me and I want him to too, I’ve been using him as an escape for much too long.
I can’t live my life just for the peace that I feel with Zack any more. Obviously I will still feel that peace when I’m with him, but I also need to confront the things that I’ve hidden within myself and find my own peace. And, now that he’s home, I have no doubt that Zack will still support me, but I’ve realised that I need to do this for myself.
So, here’s to the long road of recovery part 2, I hope you stick around for the ride.