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Stop the world - I want to get off(20 Posts)
I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice (though I hope someone can give me some), but I just really want to get some things off my chest, because I feel crushed and exhausted.
I'm 29. I came out of an 11 year long emotionally and sexually abusive relationship just over 3 years ago. I feel like I gave myself no time to heal and jumped straight into a new relationship. Which was going very well.
I've spent the last 3 years just living, making up for lost time. I have new hobbies, great friends, my DP is lovely and supportive, I do community stuff, my career has taken off whilst I am also studying to change career and get my dream job (although the one I have isn't bad).
However, I feel sort of hollow inside, and very sad. This has probably been going on for about 6 months. I don't seem to be able to give myself any me time. I can't bear being in the house I share with DP (more on that later).
I'm pretty sure my self esteem is still shot to pieces from my old relationship. All I've done is look forward and try to pack in as much as possible. I can't look after myself emotionally - I spend a lot of time looking after and helping others. I find it impossible to do anything approaching self care or self love.
I met and moved in with DP within about 8 months of leaving my abusive ex. I said at the time this was too soon, but I did it anyway (he didn't pressure me - I was living back with my parents and desperate to move out).
Until about 6 months ago I was happy there. However, the house is chaotic, it's not how I would have it, or where I want to live. We can't move at the moment. I immediately moved in and helped DP do it up......and we have made a lot of progress. However, it's not my space, I can't clear out his stuff for him. I don't have the energy to do anything at home and basically spend as much time out as possible. I used to love to cook (and we spent ages doing up the kitchen), but I haven't so much as made a ready meal for about 2 months. We used to entertain a lot too....and I just can't be arsed anymore.
I've never had my own space - the flat I owned with my ex was bare and soulless and very much how he wanted it.
Until recently I was happily imagining mine and DP's wedding. Now I feel so desperate for some of my own time and space that the concept of marriage, house, kids terrifies me. Nothing has changed in the way he behaves - whilst he is not perfect he is kind, loving, supportive, generous, funny, interesting and we have a lot of fun (and good sex). But I am struggling to find the same feelings I used to have. This makes me feel like an awful person.
My focus needs to be on me for a while. And, because of my habit of focusing on whoever I am with at the time, and meeting their needs, it just doesn't feel like I can do that and be in a relationship at the same time. But I love DP. And he would be shattered if I left.
I have started seeing a counsellor. I have also agreed to move in with a friend for a little while, just to try and get some head space. I am worried that my relationship will end if I move out, but I see no other option. I don't feel as if I have a home. I have been open and honest with DP and I think he understands how I feel.
I'm completely exhausted. And despite having lots of friends, I don't want to talk to anyone as I don't want to burden them - I really need to learn to accept help. Even from DP - it suddenly feels wrong to allow myself to be even slightly dependent on him. Since the age of 15 I have spent only 3 months alone (and that was with my parents). I just want to be me for a bit....but I have no idea who "me" is.
Has anyone some wise words?
You are going through a major change. Be kind to yourself- what about getting away for a bit on your own? A yoga- ish retreat or somewhere you can just be? Walking? Anything just to be with yourself for a bit? And write- you write well. Explore the darkness. It will make you stronger
Thanks twentyten. I am going to try to do that - have a few days off in a couple of weeks. Going away this weekend but it's with all my friends and DP.
I feel horrible just blandly telling my boy that I "need space"....but I really do! I just don't want him to have to support me through this, if ultimately I end up breaking his heart.
Would probably help if I stopped crying at my desk. Grrrr
Also, is it wrong to be considering the fact that I have only had sex with two men? Does this mean my relationship is wrong?
You sound quite depressed, which is pretty normal considering what you've been through and the busyness of life. I don't think it's a good place to make major decisions. Personally, I would take some anti depressants, have the counselling and try and sort your head out a bit. Hopefully DP will get that. Sounds like you're having a million thoughts an hour, I think things like wondering about 2 guys being ' enough ' is beyond you at the moment. Plenty of time to consider that when you feel more sorted about the past. In terms of feelings changing, yes they do, they will with whoever you end up with.
I agree with Merry that you sound quite depressed and probably shouldn't make major life decisions while you feel this way.
Also, due to some personal life experiences, I grabbed onto the "house is chaotic" and "however, it's not my space, I can't clear out his stuff for him." I wonder if there are space and ownership issues at play here, which can have a devastating effect on a relationship. Of course --could be interpreting that wrong and simply be imagining a non-issue.
Anyway, as twenty said, you are going through a major change. Give yourself some time to discover what's driving your new feelings.
DP is being great. And I hadn't considered that I might be depressed....but it's a distinct possibility. I am surrounded by people who are telling me how well I am doing, how different I am now, how great my relationship is. I feel a bit like I am just a mirror for what others expect. And they see me as this changed, settled, happy recovered women....which I am very much not!
The house thing is an issue. It's his, the mortgage is covered by lodgers so I contribute in terms of paying for work on the house (he doesn't ask me to) and other things. Having always lived how someone else wants me to, I am not sure how or where I want to live.... I've just sort of slotted in here....
OP, you sound like a very intelligent and self-aware person who's had many life changes occur within a short period of time. I remember seeing a list years ago of life events (both negative AND, surprisingly, positive) that can cumulatively cause an episode of fairly major depression and anxiety.
It sounds as though there's every chance for you (and your DP, if you wish) to have a happy future. Hoping you are able to discover the solution. (I also agree with other poster that finding the proper anti-depressant may be the key to help lift the confusion and desire to escape.)
You do sound like things are getting on top of you. I had a slightly similar experience. I ended up staying with a friend after a live in relationship had gone wrong. I had done the whole "frantic treadmill" thing you describe and had been living with my ex in the same house for a long time after the relationship ended. It was so destructive.
After a few weeks at my friends she had a bit of a talk with me. She notice this pattern I was in. She was so wise and told me I had to spend time doing what I enjoyed and doing things for myself.
I was scared. I had no idea what this meant or how to do it. She basically had to guide me through it and suggest things.
I discovered I liked going to nice coffee shops and reading the paper/ magazines. I also liked reading books in the bath. I also found a soap opera ( eastenders) I liked to watch regularly.
At the age of 28, I had no idea how to spend time myself, doing nice things for myself. It was really hard at first. It felt uncomfortable and "wrong" some how. But she helped me persist. I did other things as well, because living with her sort of showed me how to do this.
Maybe you could try some of these things, or watch what your friend does. I thing moving in with a (good) friend can be such a positive thing.
My main bit of advice would be try to find something small yiu might enjoy and stick with it. It will feel strange at first, but persist. It really feels good once you "get it".
Deborah, if you're reading this, ill always remember how much you helped. You put me back together. Thank you.
Laladeepsouth - thank you, so do I. I am not keen on any medications, but I think it might be wise to try antidepressents.
mermaid101. It is hard. I don't KNOW what I enjoy. Although, I have just sat down to watch rubbish on TV for the first time in over a year, and that does feel nice. I am also, with DP's help, trying to give up some of the commitments I have taken on, because I'm not getting anything positive out of them. I feel relied on, and I know they do good for other people....but not for me...
I know I should be focusing on me, and I am trying, but I am terrified of hurting DP if it ends up that ending the relationship is the best thing for me. I just don't know what is going to happen. I know I probably need time in order to get my head straight, but what if I make him waste his time by waiting around? I can't bear hurting people.
I don't think it needs to take more than 6 months to a year. You're not asking him to wait for the rest of his life. Do some of those things people are suggesting (counselling, meds, taking a step back from commitments) and then evaluate in 6 months and again perhaps 9 months if you don't feel clear after 6 months. But I think you will...
Life is a journey and I don't think you necessarily discover who you are al of a sudden. However, it sounds like you need to rebuild self esteem and some identity before going forward with any relationship.
It is often easy to hide depression (not deliberately), but what made me recognise it was the description of the hollow feeling, the crying at desk, the million and one thoughts, the difficulty coping with 'chaos', feeling easily overwhelmed. You do sound burnt out.
One of the most interesting ways to get an inkling of what you might like is to collect a lot of glossy magazines and cut out pics that appeal to you. Don't overanalyse- just cut and then collect and arrange on an a3 sheet. What does that tell you? Common images? Food/ countryside/ sea/ parties/ gardens/ - what? Start from there.
The saying that time heals isn't necessarily true. It's really the processes that we go through over time that lead to the healing - anger, grief, sadness etc. It sounds like going straight into another, albeit happy, relationship after your first one has prevented you from doing this. Don't be hard on yourself. If you don't sort yourself out there's little hope of being a successful couple. It sounds like your dp is very understanding. Just keep communicating and letting him know how you feel and what you need.
Thanks all for the messages. Been busy here. But I have counselling tonight, which is something to look forward to. I think I have accepted that some medication will be a good idea, so will go and see my doctor soon.
Merry - I hope I feel clear. And stronger. I really hadn't considered depression (I had a reactive depression before and this feels quite different). I've been going 100 miles an hour, so I guess I have been distracted. It's clearly not sustainable so I am trying to slow down.
twentyten - that is a brilliant idea! I am a researcher and we often ask people to do that for some of the research we do
dusters - yes, you are so right. I was saying to DP the other day that I haven't even got angry at my ex yet. It's like I have put a tonne of stuff on hold.
I am desperate to get my own space and feel established. I feel almost territorial. I am temporarily moving in with a friend and will see how that goes. I'll still see DP, but will just have to see how it goes.
Look after yourself physically, as that will affect you mentally too. So, slowing down, but also eating well/ sleeping well, taking basic multi vits/ iron etc. I really neglected that at one point in my life when I was living too fast and got quite ill.
Maybe you could ask the counsellor's opinion on the antidepressants. It may be better to go through the pain if it is not affecting too much in your life, I don't know. If it starts impacting work or friendships that's when you need to do something.
Thanks Merry. I am trying.
I think work is fine - it's a distraction. Friends - up and down. Some of them are quite needy and I have run out of energy. Others I am being honest with and they are being fantastic.
Just the crying at desk comment send like it may start affecting what you can produce and how you're viewed (if its v regular). Did you see counsellor and what did they say?
I work in a very small and intimate office. Which could be good or bad at the moment! It was a one off thing I hope.
The counsellor was good. She didn't say much, as I was doing lots of talking. It highlighted my need to learn to put myself first, however much I can't bear the thought of hurting people. However, recognising the need is one thing....actually doing something about it is much harder...
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