Eternal Sunshine of the Irrational Mind

Its quite stressful living in my head, but it certainly isn’t boring.

*WARNING, THIS IS A LONG ONE. GRAB A DRINK, (Preferably Prosecco), AND JOIN THE CRAZY TRAIN*

I thought I was getting over the being paranoid stage of my life, truly, I really thought that not caring what insignificant people thought about me was a huge step towards freeing my mind of overpowering thoughts that everyone is out to get me. 

Turns out I was wrong. I’m still paranoid. However, I’ve now decided that being paranoid isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In a lot of ways, feeling paranoia shows you care. You worry if you’ve said the wrong thing because you don’t want to upset someone. You worry if you don’t hear from someone because you couldn’t stand for them to not be a part of your life. You automatically think a visit from the area manager will result in a telling off because you want to do a good job and show that you are capable. Us paranoid people, we care. A lot. Its funny, as over the last three years I’ve become the strongest possible version of myself, and for some reason I want people to see I’m OK. That doesn’t mean I don’t wobble. I’ve mentioned it in a previous blog, I have my moments. Usually behind closed doors, but more recently, I’ve decided to let those few people I trust into my head to talk sense into me. 

A little under two weeks ago, my other half went on a holiday with 21 members of his family and extended family. It had been arranged before we met, however I was invited. Due to it being so close to my sons 13th birthday, on top of having him with me all summer and having two dogs, I had to decline. I was gutted. A holiday was exactly what I needed. I saw my partner on the Tuesday before he went on the Friday. With a promise to keep in touch while away, I knew I’d miss him like crazy, but didn’t doubt for a second that our routine of daily texts and wishing each other morning and goodnight would not stop. I planned a little mini break with my son to coincide with him being away. We both needed a change of scenery and my son deserved not to have his mum moping around the house missing someone. 

I had texts when he stopped for a break on the journey down there, a goodnight that night. Even though we wouldn’t of seen each other at a weekend if we had both been at work, I missed him because I knew how long it would be till I next saw him. Contact continued throughout the weekend. Early Sunday evening, I heard from him and he ended the text “HK xx”. Hugs and Kisses. That night I wished him goodnight and took myself up to bed to read for a bit. When I was ready to sleep, I checked my phone. No reply. Knowing he’d had a busy couple of days and how his hypothyroidism effects him, I was certain my Darling had crashed out fast asleep. Not being at work myself meant I had a good lie in on the Monday morning, so when I checked my phone I expected a text telling me what I’d suspected and his plans for that day. Nothing. This is where my silly silly paranoia kicked in. It was irrational. The last text I’d got from him was nice, even a little soppy. You can’t even imagine where my mind took me. And that’s the thing, I know I’m stupid. I just can’t stop myself. I always think the worst. I sent him a morning text but by late afternoon it was clear I wasn’t gonna hear from him. Maybe he’d forgotten his charger?  Nope, that was the last thing I reminded him. Perhaps there was no signal? He’s been texting from the cottage since he arrived Friday so there’s at least signal there. He’s broken/lost his phone? He’s a man, he wouldn’t have my number written down anywhere, how’s he gonna contact me when he’s back? He’s met someone.. (Yes, my mind really went there) You stupid woman, he’s with family, including his mum who has met and likes you!! Its stupid. Its irrational. I know this! The guy means so much to me that the thought of him possibly not wanting to talk to me hurt, even though it realistically wasn’t the case. As Monday evening loomed, the more paranoid I got. As silly as it sounds, in a year of knowing each other we had NEVER gone over 24 hours without contact. My son and I were due to go away the next day and although for his sake I knew I should’ve been packing and encouraging him to do the same, acting excited, talking about our plans for the next two days , I just couldn’t summon up the required attitude. In my head, my other half was done with me. I phoned my mum who in no uncertain terms told me what I already knew, don’t be ridiculous. I messaged one of my best friends, she told me to enjoy my time away with my son and do silly things. I was being told very reasonable, likely explanations, yet still I was turning it back round and using “but if that was the case why hasn’t he…..” to disregard every one of them. I’ll say it again. I was irrational. Lying on my bed staring at my phone was the only option. 

As I lay there, the early evening sun fluttered through the blinds and I realised that I’d promised myself not to waste days like this. Picking myself up, putting my face on, my son and I took the dogs for a long walk to the park. We sat on the grass with two worn out dogs and I apologised to my recently new teenager for my grumpiness. I’m lucky. My son is my best friend too. I don’t need the mini violins out here but neither of us have had the best of times over the last few years. A holiday was out of the question for various reasons, but this mini break was exactly what we both needed. For him, I needed to put my reasonable head on. (For those of you as old as me, think Wurzel Gummage).

On Tuesday morning, we packed for our couple of nights change of scenery, and I choked back my unreasonable thoughts and put on my brave, sunny face. A stress free train journey, and a short walk to a perfectly centrally located hotel the other end, made it easier to clear my mind and start to enjoy my break. Still no word from the other half, but the worry about that was brushed aside like a mildly annoying buzzing fly, always there but easy to ignore with enough distraction. Resonating in my mind were the words of the good friend of mine that I had told about my concerns. “Enjoy the time with your son and do silly things”. It’s safe to say, we did have an awesome time. Turns out Bristol is a prime Pokemon Go hunting spot, and my son was able to get a Pikachu and a Mr Mime on the same day. Tuesday evening and Wednesday flew by. Trip to the zoo, harbour side walks, searching for Banksy paintings in obscure back streets, eating at the best pizza restaurant ever. Perfection, and a much needed break from my home town, the same four walls and home life. Only at night , when I settled down to sleep, did my mind wander back to thinking ” what if?”.

Thursday morning was our last there, and we decided to go all out and have the full on all you can eat buffet breakfast offered at the hotel.As we didn’t have to check out of our room until midday, we ate early and headed back up to the town to do some more shopping without our heavy bags. By now I had resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t do anything about my relationship situation until at least Friday when he was due back, so for the first time ever, my paranoid little brain gave up the worrying and just got on with having a great time. Now, have you ever heard the saying “the moment you stop looking for something, that’s when you’ll find it”? Or, when you’re trying to remember a name, or a song, or a film but give up and then randomly remember it long after the conversation about it took place? Well, I’ve decided that’s how my brain and fate work together. When I finally stopped consciously worrying, my phone started to glow alerting me to a text. Didn’t recognise number. What followed was a garbled text apologising for lack of signal and gratefully being able to borrow someone’s phone to text me and affirmation that he was looking forward to seeing me. If I hadn’t felt so stupid, I would’ve laughed! Reasonable explanation, like deep down I knew there would be! 

The next day, Friday, led straight into another of my paranoid situations. Quite a few months ago, I set about starting to organise a school reunion for my school year. It had been talked about a few times but not really going anywhere, and following the success of one that had been held for my sisters year, I was spurred on to do it. Creating a Facebook group was the easiest way to get hold of everyone, and after throwing a few dates around, this one had been the one the majority could make it too,especially with the advanced notice. I didn’t have the time or resources to make it as big an event as the one my sisters year did, so I found a venue with a free function room and looked into live music for the night, toyed with the idea of getting a photographer friend along to capture the evening and , although at little cost, I put a lot of time and effort into it. As we got nearer the date, it seemed we’d have around 30 people turn up. Out of a year group of over 100, this wasn’t brilliant but I was happy enough. In the week leading up to it, people started dropping out. What had I done wrong? Did people hate me? I started posting on the group page, encouraging people to come, the numbers went up and down like a yoyo. Was I more unliked at school than I thought? I was never Miss Popular, admittedly, but did people hate me now? I was neither the bully, nor bullied. I got paranoid about how these old school friends perceived me from my online presence only! Was I the kind of person people roll their eyes at when reading one of my status updates? I’m no better or worse than anyone I went to school with, and my reason behind organising this was to reconnect with people and see where life had taken them. A celebration that we’re still here. The live music act I had lined up contacted me saying she’d been offered a slot at another gig that night, and I had to let her take it. She is way better than a crowd of 22.

On the day, the numbers went down from 22 to 19. Embarrassingly, I had to email the bar owner with final numbers. I imagined him having a chuckle. I very, very nearly cancelled. I felt like I’d set myself up for the biggest fall ever. With a few encouraging messages on the group page, I went ahead with it. Including myself, 10 people came. Each of the other 9 were lovely and it was awesome to hear all their news, aside from the fleeting glances that Facebook gives us. Its fair to say that those that came had a thoroughly enjoyable time, but there’s no escaping the fact that a lot of the conversations revolved around who hadn’t come that said they would. Now, a handful of people gave us very acceptable reasons for not coming. The rest? Well, we didn’t even get a made up excuse from them.From the few people that came, I was reassured that they were grateful and they thanked me for arranging. Until now, I didn’t reveal how paranoid I felt. Queen of the brave face, me. There was talk about doing a bigger and better one for “25” years since we left school. I’ve politely pulled myself out of organising another one. I don’t think my irrational, paranoid brain could take it again. The night ended with those few of us left standing at pub kick out time dancing the night away at a local late bar with live music. 

Live music doesn’t judge. 

Live music doesn’t think I’m a failure. 

Live music doesn’t make me feel paranoid.

I don’t know what triggered this in me, I wasn’t always like this. I do know that I am now, and I probably always will be. On the outside, you wouldn’t know unless you’re one of the few people I let in. If you’re reading this, now you know. And yes, I know its irrational. But hey, at least it shows I care.

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