Letter number 31: Unsubscribe

Dear Alexandra,

I’m in a much better place today, having had a stern word with myself about letting the negative thoughts take root over the last few days. This morning I woke up early, but decided to lounge about in bed for an hour or so rather than get up, I watched some Father Ted which always cheers me up. Once up and roused I popped down to pick up a hose pipe from Argos and get my hair cut in town.

It was nice to be out and — this sounds pathetic — have some actual physical human contact (albeit through rubber gloves, haha, that sounds dodgy!) at the barbers. They’re really nice guys and obviously the lockdown situation has been tough for them — he did a really good job. Mum did a good job on making my hair not look ridiculous, to be fair, but I do like the sharpness of a proper head strim by these artistes. It was good to see them!

The hose pipe is to connect up to Dad’s jet washer, I want to get all the bird cages cleaned up — and the ones I’m not using dismantled and packed away. They’re unhelpful reminders too, really — they might come in handy in the future, or I might donate them to a parrot rescue. Not sure yet, but getting them out of sight and not taking up so much room would be good! The weather looks to be taking a turn for the worse though so I might wait for some sunshine so they dry faster once clean.

But anyway, Unsubscribe. Like most people I think 90% of my emails are from mailing lists where I just delete them, I’ve started to notice lots are from sites I’ve bought things for you from — geeky things, clothes, jewellery etc. I’ve started to unsubscribe from them, they don’t bother me particularly, but I’m not likely to be buying anything from them any time soon. I often do a mass unsubscribe from mailing lists then feel terribly unpopular on the old ‘emails received’ front but well, that’s a sad indictment of me and wider people’s obsession with likes or notifications really if anything!

In the spirit of unsubscribing, I re-blocked yours and his Twitter accounts from all my available accounts again. Sherlock Bert of course has ways he could circumvent this, but I seem to have quietened him down for now. I’ve also blocked you on Instagram so that I don’t get notified of posts — Instagram of course is the Champions League level of pretentious social media, so obviously it’s an extension of your gaming world (although if memory serves I sneak onto one of your posts if you didn’t remove it).

These aren’t spiteful or childish acts — they’re for my benefit not to punish you. I deleted TikTok not long after we split up as it really is the world’s biggest waste of time anyway. Of course it can still be accessed via a web page or whatever else, but I’m serious about trying to stop those urges to look. These are all platforms where you fabricate your alternative Alexandra for your virtual audience. They’re not real. Even if they were, I don’t think it would be a good idea to look.

I’ve kept Facebook as is, that’s our more ‘real’ window on the world (he says, having used it to fabricate an amicable break-up in order to protect you, haha!) — and of course, if I were to remove or block you on there it would draw the attention of people we both know. I think I can deal with that, you don’t use it very much anyway, probably deep down because then you can feel resentful about people drifting away from you when it’s really of your own making.

So now Sherlock Bert has to make a bit of an effort to look anywhere other than Facebook. I’m setting myself a target of not looking for things — so not searching for your profile, not looking if you’ve been online on Messenger and of course not breaching the measures I’ve put in place to keep me from looking at your other social media. If I happen to see a Facebook post then that’s fine, I think.

I removed another reminder that occurred to me earlier too — my car had a set of dice like Han Solo has in the Millennium Falcon hanging from the rear view mirror that you bought for me. A really lovely gift — symbolising how eventually I was able to lure you into loving all things Star Wars. And whilst it wasn’t overtly hurting me to see them, they’re still subtle reminders — I popped into the car just before booting up the laptop to take it out and pop it in the box of reminders.

But yeah, I feel better today — maybe the low mood webinar helped refresh my memory of some of the practical steps I can take to manage my thinking, or maybe I just needed a few days of being down. I’ll take it either way! After I’d been shopping I spoke to my boss, I said I was planning on returning to work next week all being well, he was encouraging and reassuring. We talked high level about how things were going — and they were going well.

Ironically in being forced to handover things to other people it might accelerate something I’ve been struggling to do at work anyway, a definitely positive even if I’ve kind of thrown some people in the deep end! After that Aunty B. came over and it was lovely to see her and have a nice natter over coffee and cake. Sonic came out for a while and behaved himself too! She’s invited me to pop down to see her when she’s on holiday in the summer (and even bring Sonic if I get a travel cage!). I might well do that.

After that it was off for more football, another good game — I played well and felt good before, during and after. No health concerns or anything, which is a good thing since I’ve got games planned for the next three nights, haha! I have my one to one CBT session organised through work tomorrow too, I think it might be kind of repetition from the webinar, in truth, but I guess it will be a bit more flexible since I’ve been exploring some of these things anyway so I can expand on that with somebody qualified.

So by consciously trying to intercept those thoughts that lead me to either obsess over what happened or worry about you I think I’ve turned a bit of a corner. Coming home after being with people doesn’t seem to fill me with the same sense of dread as it did. It’s just a case of working on those strategies to build healthy mental habits in an enduring way, and being patient with myself if I do stumble. I think that’s been part of the problem, impatience.

But I would like to keep Sherlock Bert quiet, he can sneak in when I least expect it, but definitely trying to quash unhelpful thoughts before they foment and grow seems to help with that. Whilst I’m not working I’ve tried to find positive things to achieve — so today was things like hair cut, doing the laundry. Tomorrow HelloFresh should deliver a new box so I can do some proper cooking. Cleaning / putting away the bird cages are more things to do as well of course as playing football or going out for walks etc.

I’m getting there. Positive Bert is still amusedly experimenting with Facebook Dating, then getting disheartened at only getting likes from highly unsuitable potential partners. Logical Bert is well aware that jumping into something else, even if just speculative dating, would undoubtedly be a massive step too soon right now. There’s no harm in looking, though! Fortunately Logical Bert seems to be in the chair for these diversions, he doesn’t let Positive Bert click on the like button for anyone on there.

I am still wondering if, and hoping that, you are okay — but it’s a higher level wonder. It’s definitely time for me to stop looking for clues and evidence, it’s time for you to work through what you need to yourself and with whatever close support you have. And where you find that support is your choice, and none of my business. Obviously when things were more raw I have offered my opinions on this, but ultimately, it’s your choice to make.

You’ve dropped to 3rd from bottom on the visible message senders in my messages app. Admittedly there’s a bit of padding in there, a confirmation text from Argos, therapy appointment reminders, vaccine appointment notifications — but still. Your Mum’s name is already in a position I have to scroll to find. It’s only in writing the paragraph above this that made me look, which is progress. I’ve not felt tempted to reach out, not because I don’t care, but just because I don’t think it’s helpful. To either of us.

It’s only been a little over four weeks since everything blew up. That’s not long really to unpick a plan nearly six years in the making, I’m more mindful of that now. The same goes for you too. It takes 28 days to form good habits, by all accounts — and presumably that’s if you’re actually making progress over those days. So it’s perfectly reasonable to not be quite right yet, but if there’s notable progress in that timescale then that’s positive, isn’t it?

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!