Letter number 28: It’s Friday I’m in love..

Dear Alexandra,

I thought I’d be spared the Friday lull this week — as I’ve been off work since Tuesday following my episode, I was hoping that disruption to a ‘normal’ week might spare me the Friday factor. Friday was the day I’d make excuses to not make our last thing work catch-up call and hot-foot it down to you as fast as I could to bring you up here for a weekend. Well, ideally it was — of course latterly you made endless excuses not to.

But it’s been a bit of a struggle today. After our last message exchanges I was watching with some kind of satisfaction that your name was dropping down the list in my Messages app — that last long message I sent sitting there since Tuesday. In the meantime I’d sent a few messages to other folk, got notifications I’d not deleted, but it still played on my mind. Eventually I cracked.

Sherlock Bert hasn’t been quelled, whilst you’ve been eerily quiet on Facebook you did Tweet that you’ve learned who your real friends are. Whilst obviously not intended for me as an audience in Blocksville, I took it as a cue regardless — I’d seen a post of alpacas with funny haircuts that made me think of you. You’d be drawn to the inevitable cuteness of the alpacas but the ridiculousness of the haircuts, I sent it to you, saying ‘Here’s something on a lighter note, I hope you’re okay.’

And I do. You only responded with incredulity at the ridiculous haircuts, you didn’t take the opportunity to say if you were okay or not. That’s okay, I just wanted you to know that I care. I’m not sure why. It’s really not in the spirit of me supposedly keeping my distance and putting my needs first, but then again, if worrying for you was foremost in my mind maybe I did need to do it. I don’t know.

I’ve got some plans tomorrow — luckily, I’m going to try to get up early again for a walk before heading to a pop-up restaurant Annie has set up. We had some lovely trips to her restaurants, but like with lots of things I’ve come to associate with us a lot of them existed for me before us, and I’m determined not to fall into the trap of making anything I enjoy be an automatic reminder of you. Of course, many will, but I don’t want to start restricting my life, where I go, what I watch, eat, listen to because of associations.

A lot of those associations are, luckily, happy ones. Funnily enough when I was in A&E I realised I was wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the logo of the band you formed with M., in fact, technically I think I’m a member of said band, haha! That could be awkward. We only played one gig with the ‘full line-up’. The two of you came up with some fantastic music — one of the songs you wrote about me, it was so touching and a little overwhelming.

Earlier in lockdown I learned the chords for it so that I could sing it back to you via Facebook videos because we weren’t allowed to see each other. You said it had made you cry. I know my singing is bad, but come on! Haha, I’m joking, it makes me realise how quickly seemed to go so dreadfully wrong. That was less than a year ago. That’s the thing Negative Bert keeps on circling back to.

Logical Bert tells him it doesn’t really matter whether things went wrong over years, months, weeks or days — they went wrong. We need to collectively accept the new reality. It’s easy for Logical Bert. The more emotional Berts are still struggling with it. Even my rational parts, the ones who were planning for the future — keeping my finances in order, get the house paid off as quickly as possible, plan to get the things sorted that need sorting so we have a happy home. They’re reeling a bit, because you were a big part of that planning.

Luckily Sunday looks busy too — I’m going to play football in the morning, that will have been a week’s break from playing, 6 days since my funny turn. I’ve felt fine since it happened aside from the residual fear and vulnerability. I really don’t want to lose my physical fitness, I’ve worked hard to get in good shape and I know how quickly it fades. Of course I’ve still been active, but in a more sedate way. I hope that it goes okay.

Later on Sunday I’m meeting up with some old school friends, you’ve met them all except one actually. We went to the Alpaca farm a couple of years ago with them. I’ve been really bad at spending time with them (and vice versa to be fair) over the last few years, they’re all familied up and well, I’ve spent the last five years+ building my weekends around spending time with you (I don’t mean that to sound accusatory — that was absolutely my choice!).

This enforced rest time has given me more time to give my mind the opportunity to wander, which is probably why I feel like I’m relapsing somewhat. Less human contact as no office time, no football, means I’ve had fewer natural distractions of just everyday conversation. Of course, people send me messages to check in, which is hugely appreciated, but it’s not the same as the simple pleasure of chatting shit with people who you happen to be in the same space as.

I’ve had the details through for my first ‘low mood webinar’ via the NHS — it’s basically a self-help course. One-way, you don’t get to talk about anything to anyone, you just get fed a syllabus to work through and ask questions via a chat window. The work-based one sounds quite similar, although at least is one-to-one. They’re both build around CBT, designed to essentially make you your own therapist, giving you a toolkit for tackling unhelpful thoughts, setting achievable goals etc.

I’ll go into it with an open mind and work at it, I don’t think it’s going to prove much different to the things I’ve already been trying to do. And really, much like a friend or family member can’t just wave a magic wand and make everything better — neither can a therapist. Whatever route I take, much as I was saying to you in my last letter, it’s me who needs to put the work in to get better. So I’ll give it a good go and see what happens. It can’t hurt!

One thing I’ve not done is message your Mum. There’s nothing really new to justify it, of course Sherlock Bert reckons he’s found circumstantial evidence to suggest that you’ve ended things with him, but to be honest, sharing that with your Mum is nothing more than idle gossiping really, and I don’t want to descend to that. Our last conversation was centred on the fact I was worried for you (as ever!) and that it’s unlikely you’d seek or get much emotional support from your Dad.

Probably the best thing on that score is to resume a policy of not reaching out — I did the ‘random cute thing because it made me think of you’ message to you, which it did, but I also wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you and care. Similar with your Mum. If you guys reach out to me then I’ll respond, but otherwise I’ll give you some space. Earlier in the journey that was torturous because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to bring about a reconciliation for us, but I know that can’t happen now.

I really would like to be able to maintain some kind of friendship though, and of course if you are struggling and I can help in a way that’s not too taxing on my own emotions then I’d totally do that. Sherlock Bert noticed you’ve still not streamed since our more heartfelt message exchange, although you’ve been ‘hosting’ other streamers — I’ve no idea whether when you do that or not you are also watching or you just set it going as a show of support. It shouldn’t really matter — it triggers my negativity reflex though because this virtual environment is the one where you’ve lost yourself, at least from my perspective.

But I hope you’re doing okay. I keep hearing or reading things by chance that talk about forgiveness being the ultimate route to peace of mind. It’s probably right. And I don’t think it means forgiveness in the sense that I declare all is forgiven and please come back to me, it just means that probably at some point I need to get to a point where I can accept what happened, accept it hurt, accept the new future where we can hopefully find a way to co-exist in whatever way we deem appropriate in the future.

I’m sure we’ll get there somehow. Well, we’ll get somewhere.

I hope you’re doing okay, Bert

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Lost my Love Blog

Lost my Love Blog

An attempt to process a messy ending to a relationship against a backdrop of Covid-19, insidious online communities and the associated fall-out of all that!