Last year, I had no energy to send any proper presents to anyone. I was four months away from the break with reality that hospitalised me. I was exhausted and upset and scrambling over voices and hallucinations.
This year, I was heading into town to see my friend and I saw my ex.
There he was, standing under the notice boards. He wasn’t a hallucination. He was real.
I ran. I fled. My heart hammering, my eyes wide, head turning to check he hadn’t followed me. I just fled blindly and didn’t stop until I found a shop where we used to go, but I’d drag him in because he hated it. I knew he wouldn’t come there to try and track me.
Next, I phoned two friends. One picked up, R, and I knew I was safe the minute I heard her voice. I cried, she asked me if I was safe. I said I was. The next question was had he seen me? I didn’t think so, although I couldn’t be sure. R thought he hadn’t seen me as he hadn’t tried to talk to me or follow me. Next, she asked me had I told the friend I was meeting what had happened? I told her I hadn’t, so she told me to tell her, then ring back when I had done.
Luckily my friend was very understanding and said that I should wait where I was.
I rang R back and she talked calmingly to me until my friend arrived.
Now comes the part I’m most proud of.
I got on with my fucking day. I had a great time. I enjoyed it! I managed to laugh and joke and shake off the sheer terror that had been the start of my day. Admittedly my hypervigilance and terror resurfaced when I had to return to the station to buy a ticket, but I was managing it well by keeping my stone clutched in my hand, and by leaving it another half hour to return to catch my train.
The worst part by far of stumbling across my ex like that was the feeling that I had to go and beg for forgiveness, that I had to get down on my knees and plead for him back. I thought that part of me had died. I thought that I’d killed it long ago, with realisations of the horrors he’d put me through. Apparently, it’s much tougher to kill than I’d thought.
When I told R what I’d found the most horrible, she responded with the fact that it had taken my ex a long time to get me that way, so sadly it will take me a long time to get rid of that part. She’s right. I will get there, but it’s a scary process that involves thinking you are better than you are, learning you are better than you were last year, and understanding that therapy is working and I am getting better.
H said on the phone to me today (yes, she’s doing a bit better! <3) that I did the sensible thing by running away. I took myself out of a bad situation and focused on caring for myself and sorting out my emotional needs.
That is a fantastic start to the new year.