I got home to London, got some laundry done, and then got broken up with. Yep. My boyfriend came on over and announced upon his arrival, “I have decided we shouldn’t be together anymore.” No small talk, he had his own agenda.
I was going to tell him about my epiphany, I was going to share with him how I was going to change my entire life. I was going to tell him that I understood if he wanted space or to break up, as he had not decided to date me knowing that I was most likely going to move away. But instead, he dumped me and I shattered.
I told him that I’d been having a difficult time, I told him that I had been unhappy for a while, and that I was trying to figure it out, I told him I loved him. He told me, “I love you, but I’ve never been in love with you.” Whatever the fuck that means. And then he walked out of my life.
That was the first day of my “real depression.” I had been in a mild depression since September 2017 when the traumatic event occured, but now it was overwhelming. Now I could not be distracted, even though I tried. I went swing dancing, parties, work. But I always felt the sadness, and would run to the bathroom to cry. I had repressed this feeling for so long it hijacked my body. My body forced me to listen to myself.
I was so bored at work, but I couldn’t quit because I didn’t have another job lined up. To stimulate my brain, I took to listening to self development podcasts. Then one day, I I came across Dear Sugar – The Power of No. This podcast changed everything; I’m not being overly dramatic. In the episode, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond interview Oprah Winfrey about the importance of setting boundaries in order to feel full and happy. They shared how they learned to say no, and how it should feel to say yes, and that saying yes when you want to say no is just as bad as saying no. As a people pleaser, I find it very hard to say no to people and put my happiness first. My typical Friday night would be spent attending three parties for an hour each, tubing all over London, and then going to bed feeling exhausted and like I didn’t have one meaningful conversation. I felt so grateful to be invited, and was afraid that if I said no, I would never be invited again. But it didn’t feel the way a yes should feel. It didn’t make me happy. This podcast gave me the permission to prioritise my feelings and say no. They then mentioned the book The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav, and how it had changed the way they look at the world. I immediately went and bought it.
After listening to the podcast, I started to say no. I started waking up at 7am to go sit at a coffee shop for two hours alone to write in my journal and have silence. All I knew was that I was miserable, and I needed to do something. But what? And why that over something else? Where did this choice come from? Who gave me permission to act in this way even if it might upset others? Where did they get their permission from? Why did I respond to things the way I did? Why did I always say, “Just kidding” when I meant “no”? Why did I love poetry and literature so much? Why did I find gastroenterology boring? Why did I choose to move to London? Why did I choose to get into a relationship with my boyfriend? Why couldn’t I stop crying? I went round in circles until I no longer trusted myself. I was stupefied by indecision.
Read the next post in the series “Imbalance”
Read the first post in the series “Hi Again”.
Check out the full list of blog posts “How to Value Your Own Thoughts”