Letter number 45: Dreams

Dear Alexandra,

Another reasonable sized gap in letters. In truth, I wouldn’t have had much compulsion to write but for waking myself up at 4:30am this morning having had a vivid dream involving you. Before that I had what did indeed prove to be my final 1:1 therapy call — it was clearly a really positive call. We reflected on the journey, which has only been five weeks and the progress.

The last thing we discussed was potential triggers for a relapse into depression and/or anxiety. I reflected with H. that the most probably one would be when (or if) we were in the same place together again — there are two potential scenarios for that to happen in coming months, M.’s birthday gathering in August, and T. and T.’s wedding in September. In both cases it will be tricky for you to get to them without your Dad driving.

That said, you are (or were) supposed to be doing the photography for the wedding. I saw T. and T. at the weekend, and whilst you came up in conversation I decided not to ask whether that was still the case — I didn’t want to put them in an awkward position, it’s really not fair. H. posited the question of strategies to deal with that being in the same place — as I said, and believe, that I really don’t know how I’ll react to you in person.

I think that I will be civilised, and I think that I’ll be okay with it — but who knows? By then you should have your new hormone injection, you might be emotionally and mentally more stable if that indeed does have the kind of seismic impact you claim on your behaviour. I’m not sure. For M.’s party I’m planning on not drinking, which means if I can’t deal with it I can make a subtle exit. For the wedding, it’s close to home, I could escape if needed.

It’s of course more than possible that you may choose to avoid both scenarios — I’ve got no reason to feel bad aside from the emotional trauma you wrought on me, without sounding callous, you ought to be feeling guilty. As I said before, not for the fact that things didn’t work out for us — but the way you went about it, the depths you were prepared to see me sink to, to facilitate me sinking to. I still can’t get my head around that, but have come to accept that perhaps I never will.

But yeah, dreams. When I woke up in the early hours I popped Black Books on the telly and made some quick notes on my phone — if I hadn’t it would probably have faded and I found it interesting. Last time you invaded my dreams it really affected me emotionally into the waking realm, this time not so much — I awoke intrigued by whatever strange things my subconscious was trying to work through. I did get to sleep again soon after so didn’t feel to bad when the alarms went off and it was time to head to work.

The dream started in an office building, reminiscent but not exactly the one I was based in before lockdown started. My colleague Chris was there, although I don’t recall any interaction, maybe he was a context marker. I went to the ‘end’ of the office that was less familiar to me, it felt like a tower block and was build right against a cliff-face which towered above it. At this end the space was set up like a hospital ward.

I was in the room/space that was on the top floor and closest to the ‘end’ of the building nearest the cliff, it looked like it had been cleaned down ready for new occupants, although on the hospital style bed there were blood spots on the sheets. I left the room via some stairs, they were outside like a fire escape closest to the cliff face, which was casting a shadow over the staircase making it quite dark.

After this in that dream like way I was in an apartment of some kind. You were there, I don’t think in dream world it was where either of us lived — but I’ve no idea what we were doing there or how we got there, or whether it was in the same building as before. B. was there, he had bought you a bag. An Adidas holdall type bag that reminds me of secondary school rather than a typical gifty handbag (not that you’re a handbag kind of girl). He said something like it was to make up for ‘not dealing well with you being a bitch”.

I think I queried this, or possibly looked confused — you explained that you had ‘put one to ones in with B.” acting as some kind of therapist for you — you definitely used the work-style term one to ones which is very not you. B. is a musician friend of ours — I remember once him suggesting to you that you should meet up for a drink one time, rather than suggesting it to us both. I wasn’t jealous but did point out that it was a bit odd, you dismissed it at the time and I must admit I didn’t give it much further thought.

We talked, and were civil with each other — I’m sketchy on details, I think I was trying to get reasons from you, I don’t think you offered anything meaningful. I still think that you probably can’t offer them to yourself, everything about what happened between us doesn’t make any sense at all. As I awoke I reminded myself that the compulsion to want to get an explanation is perfectly understandable, but also futile to ruminate about.

As we talked we did have physical contact, we held hands, touched one another affectionately. There was sexual tension, although nothing physical like that happened, it was just some kind of unspoken urge. The vibe reminded me of the last time we had fallen out and not spoken for a few weeks — we saw each other at a festival, we were civil but largely kept our distance at first, eventually we walked and talked, we reconnected emotionally, and then sneaking back to the van physically too. It did feel right then.

I don’t think that that’s on the cards again — but of course if my brain is processing the possibility of us coexisting in the same space it is probably understandable it would revisit the nearest comparable event we’ve had like the situation we now find ourselves in. Outside of what dream Bert was feeling I don’t think I’d want it to in truth, even if the opportunity presented itself, but in dream world it certainly felt like a possibility even if it didn’t transpire.

At some point I woke up — properly woke up — it was around 4:30 in the morning and I made notes so I wouldn’t forget the gist of the dream. I popped the TV on as I did feel very awake, but did drift off to sleep again. The fact I awoke clearly meant that the dream impacted me, but it didn’t infiltrate my waking mind like the last time I dreamt of you — rather than sad, devastated and disappointed in myself I felt curious, interested in what it might mmean.

I’m sure the ‘relapse trigger’ conversation with H. prompted it. Perhaps B. being there was a reminder of a time when I’d let something pass too readily much like I did as you descended into virtual worlds, not that that one throwaway comment (which was made to you, not me, he could’ve actually said both of us and you chose to mislead me for whatever reason). Maybe it’s just me subconsciously raking over things and finding reasons to be suspicious or mistrustful. I’m not ruminating on it now in wakefulness. B. is a nice guy.

The role of him acting as some kind of therapist is interesting — probably rooted in the worry that I do still have for you, and whether you’re getting appropriate help from the right quarter — and doubting you will. The key to any kind of therapy is accepting that ultimately the change you need to make comes from within, and you struggle with that, preferring to be a victim of circumstance, hormones, whatever.

I do worry that your existing therapist (if she exists — there’s that trust erosion at play again) is very effective, or if you’re very honest with her, and because I know from those conversations with your Mum that you’re being deceitful with your family you don’t have many avenues open to you to process things honestly. If you construct enough fairytales you’ll come to believe them, which of course leaves your ultimate fantasy world of your online persona and ‘community’.

So using B. as a therapist my subconscious might be constructing an example of you finding inappropriate means of dealing with your own mental health issues. B.’s behaviour of buying you some kind of gift (I’ve not worked out the significance of an Adidas holdall, though!) due to you behaving unreasonably is a strong echo of my past behaviours — you’d be neglectful, unreasonable, horrible to me and I’d try to find ways of re-engaging you, often that did manifest in me buying things for you.

Weird or what? What I’m taking real heart from though is that I’m able to more coldly dissect what my subconscious might be up to rather than getting lost in reliving the hurt and confusion. Don’t get me wrong, that hurt and confusion is still there — but it’s more boxed off in a section of my brain that’s labelled ‘things I might not get the answers to’. Sometimes bad things happen to people that don’t deserve it, and of course as I’ve laboured over in previous letters, just because the way it happened was awful, it doesn’t mean that the ultimate outcome was necessarily the wrong one.

Back in real life, we’ve not had any contact for 11 days or so, since the ‘did you log into my Netflix’ texts. I did indirectly interact with a mutual friend by replying to her comment on one of your Facebook posts about an anniversary of you first seeing her band. You didn’t respond or react to it, which is okay.

Part of me does really want to understand how you’re getting on, but I know it’s not the right thing for me to probe or ask, and it probably isn’t helpful to you either. Whilst your Mum did react to the post I mentioned before we’ve not had any other contact, and that’s probably a good thing too. Maybe the tentatively improving weather has helped with my mood — my last few football games I’ve dispensed with my base layers!

As planned my therapy call with H. did see me discharged — so I’m now officially self-managing my depression and anxiety. The scores on the questionnaires she does before each session had dramatically dropped from ‘we should worry about him doing something stupid’ to well within the realms of normal — and that corresponds with how I feel about life. I’m still not right, but who is? I know how to manage those negative thoughts, and not to get too down if I do have a low moment or day.

In terms of future planning I came so close to finding the perfect camper style vehicle to replace my car. I emailed the seller to arrange a viewing / test-drive at the weekend and it had already sold. Gutted! But they are in the process of building another like it, it was something I’d not seen done before and ticked a lot of my boxes, and would’ve worked as a daily vehicle as well so I could get rid of the car and just use that. It would be good to be able to rock up to events and have somewhere to sleep without resorting to tents!

I’m also trying to get myself back immersed into work, I don’t really have much choice — I’ve been covering for my boss who’s on leave this week, and am in the process of my role being tweaked and am in the process of having stuff handed over to me from someone who’s leaving in a few weeks. I think it will do me good to focus more on that now I feel more mentally robust. I also need to come up with some weekend plans, it’s a bank holiday and I’ve got nothing in the diary — although if the weather’s nice I think it’d be nice to get out for some long walks!

Sherlock Bert has kept quiet after his brief emergence a few days ago — of course I do on some level idly wonder if you’re still immersed in virtual world, but I’ve felt no urge to check up on it. I’m glad of that. I hope you’ve been able to find some balance, but only you can do that. If I lost control of my senses and tried to suggest such a thing it would only drive you further into that abyss anyway — and fortunately for us both I seem to have control!

I wonder if you dream of me? You always got very affected by your dreams — and you did tell me you’d dreamt of me some time ago and it upset you. I hope you’re not, I truly hope you’re on the road to recovery too.

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!