After a small hiatus, Sobering Thoughts is back. Apologies to my fans for not posting last week… but I have had a tricky couple of weeks and did not feel up to writing.
But fear not, I am back now and ready to write something for you and I to read. I know so many will be eagerly anticipating this return. Its probably almost as big as the time that lad from Bethlehem came back after having a few days off.
Thank you to everyone who sent such positive and supportive messages regarding the interview on BBC Newcastle. It was really good fun and I enjoyed doing it. Gilly was kind and incredibly well prepared for our chat and I was impressed with her knowledge on not only the blog but also mental health in the broader subject.
Last time out I had written about how positive things were and how better I was feeling. Unfortunately, when poorer mental health strikes it doesn’t care too much for that. I wrote a couple of social media posts about not feeling too great within myself and I want to thank the people that replied and sent me messages of support. Thankfully, I feel a lot better now and begin a fresh week with a lot more positivity. Chloe and I booked a holiday to Marrakech yesterday and we are both really looking forward to this having not been away together since before COVID over two years ago. Having something positive like that to focus on is great and I am really excited for us spending some quality time together away from work and other distractions.
This week I want to go back to a story from my younger days and analyse a key point in my mental health history, unbeknown to me at the time. Looking back at it now, I can see this was a major moment from my past. A moment that up until now I had not scrutinised properly. I had come back home following my first year at university. Being away from home had been tough at first and I had struggled to adapt from being separated from family and friends for the first time. After the first semester things settled down and I made some good friends, people that I am still in contact with today. I would not have stayed in Leeds for the three years had I not met these people, so Danny, Dan and Will thank you very much. I mean they tortured (not literally) me from day one but also were great people and good fun to be around and live with. I came back home to Alnwick for the summer with no real plans other than to work in the pub I had done previously and to play cricket for my team. The pub was such a crazy place to work but so much fun, and I worked with some amazing people who all became good friends. My bosses, Sue and John were amazing characters and if you ever visited the Coach Inn at Lesbury in those years, it was certainly never dull. I have some superb and cherished memories from that place.
It was good to come home and spend time with my mates from Alnwick. On one particular night out after a cricket match, I bumped into someone that I knew, and we got chatting. I can’t say that I have ever been particularly good at speaking to members of the opposite sex on nights out, but something seemed to go right that night. What can I say? The Denton charm has untapped limits… What followed over the next few weeks and months was great and I felt like we really got close. She was the first person that I can honestly say that I ‘fell in love with’ and I believed at the time the feeling was mutual. We would spend a lot of time together. A connection was formed, going a lot deeper than either of us were expecting. Despite the positivity and good times we were having I always felt that I was not good enough and that before long she would realise this and that would be that as they say. Those feelings of insecurity and unworthiness I would imagine manifested themselves into unattractive qualities. As the summer was drawing to a close the realisation that we would no longer be spending time together dawned upon us, well it certainly did for me. I went back to Leeds, she started at Uni in Newcastle. Then it all went south.
I wanted this whole thing to work, why couldn’t it? The answer was simple. One half of us did not. What happened over the next three to four months wasn’t good. I would be coming back at weekends on the promise of time being spent together, it never happened. This went on and on and on. I would be told one thing then actions would follow that would not back this up. Now, you may be reading this and thinking, mate this sounds like so many break ups. Truth is you can’t break something up that never officially started however, when you are consumed in that moment you are helpless to the feelings you have. Its only now that time has elapsed that I can analyse what happened and see how poorly I was treated. I don’t for one second think this is unique to me, and people are not heart broken every single day, they are. But this is my take on it and this my blog, my bat and ball so read on. There were months of messaging, phone calls endless promises of meet ups but every time I would be let down. I still to this day don’t know why, it has never been explained so in a way I never got that closure that I needed. If at any point, I had been categorically told that this was never going to happen then I would have left it, it just never was. I was strung along for months, kept there just in case she ever really wanted to commit. But it never happened.
We finally did see one another at Christmas, but it didn’t end well. For me anyway. The frustration and build up of negative thoughts from the previous months had been a lot to handle. I will explain how I felt shortly which is the important message in this story. It was hard seeing her again. It had been a long time. I felt anxiety that I had never experienced before. At Christmas emotions run high and 2010 was no different. The town was busy, we spoke briefly. All my feelings came rushing back and as I tried to articulate how I felt I could see that the game was up. Finally, after all the months of being told how important I was and how that a commitment would come in time I just had to wait that bit longer, I could see that I had been played like a plonker and “I’m not a plonker”
I raced out of the pub I had been in, Oscars. What a place. A wave of anger and a sense of despair gripped me. In what can only be described as an idiotic action I punched the closest thing to me which happened to be a window. As you can imagine, I came off second best. Blood pouring from a wound on the back of my hand, I managed to get home but had to be taken to hospital. Later I was required to undergo an operation and physio to recover my hand and wrist. I had to wear a cast on my wrist for a decent amount of time. I felt a lot of embarrassment and shame for doing what I did. I had a visit from the police a few days later questioning why I had done it, and I had to write a letter of apology to the pub owners. Another crazy drunken episode and over something that I now look back at and question why did I bother?
In the weeks that followed, things became very strained between me and the person in question. I found this very hard to take. Contact was severed, and I was made out to be some crazy (jury is still out on that one to be fair) person who had been living in a fantasy world for the last few months. I felt rejected, abandoned, not good enough, not worthy. I had built this person up so much that I had conditioned myself to think I was not good enough when actually looking back, it was the other way around. Maybe, possibly. Who knows? Making someone feel so worthless is not my idea of a good time and although I don’t think she got any enjoyment from that, the effort that I had put in and way in which I had treated her was certainly not bad. The following months were hard, and I struggled in my second and third years at uni. This definitely had an adverse effect on my life for the next two to three years and I don’t think I got over the euphoric and desperate feelings this person was capable of making me feel for some time.
During that period, I do not recall feelings of wanting to commit suicide but I was definitely very low and self-medicated heavily with alcohol. At the time I probably thought I was drowning my sorrows when in fact I was just, drowning. I have only in more recent years come to terms with how poorly this person actually made me feel. She had a partial grip on my mental state for years, what a waste. Every so often, she would drop back in. Remind me of what I was missing, flirt with my mind that I had a chance again when in reality I didn’t. I would be buoyant if I had seen she had messaged me or got in touch in some way when in reality it was probably because she was lonely or bored. Having that hold over someone for so much time reminds me of a song befitting her completely by Mcfly – Party Girl, “This place is prison, I’m chained up, I give up. And I’m at her mercy. She wouldn’t let me go” and she didn’t.
This has been an important blog for me, I have needed to write this down. I have never spoken about this fully to anyone until today writing this piece and also to my therapist. People have always known half-truths and misconstrued stories, so I needed to write my account, get it out and close it off completely. I believe a lot of what happened then shaped me into the person I became after it all went down. I have moved on and had better relationships with better people. I am in a relationship now that is one hundred times more than what ever this was. Chloe gives me so much more than this person ever would have and I am very lucky to have that. More on her soon!
Thanks for reading, I am sure this story will resonate with a lot of people. As I mentioned earlier, we have all been through break ups, but people are able to deal with issues better than others. All break ups are unique to the couple in question. That is why they are usually so hard.
Thank you, goodnight much love.