This too shall pass…………..but the wait feels unbearable.

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I feel like I’ve been living under a dark cloud for months, every time there seems to be a glimmer of light something happens to make it cloud over again.  I am trying to stay strong, do all the things that are meant to help – eat healthily, exercise, talk to friends, engage in activities and remember that this too will pass.  These are all tried and tested techniques for reducing the effects of depression, and yet my head tells me to withdraw from the world and eat food that is unhealthy, so everyday is a challenge as I fight against my instinct. 

Usually knowing that eventually the feeling will pass is helpful. My head tells me that it’s not true and things will always be this way, but experience tells me this is not the case and there have been better times! The problem at the moment is that the feelings are linked to work and the intolerable situation I am experiencing.  I have endeavoured to do everything I can to resolve the issues but with little success.  I need my boss to take control and sort out the problems but this just isn’t happening and so it continues. An issue that should have been nipped in the bud in November still goes on today and I’m finding it unbearable.  My job has always been something in my life that has kept me functional, something that harnesses my self-esteem, but as I experience work place bullying this is no longer the case.  Although I have been a victim of bullying as a child, I never thought it would happen again, people see me as a strong leader at work so it’s been a shock to find myself back in that crushed state.  I am seeking support and I known that this too will pass; I just hope it doesn’t destroy me or my career first.image

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Do animals have ‘feelings’?

A colleague rang in to say her dog had died and she was feeling overwhelmed with grief. On top of that she was worrying about her other dog who appeared to also be mourning the loss of ‘her friend’. Another colleague mocked the first when she heard about this, stating that the first colleague was applying human emotions to animals and she should gain some perspective.

This got me thinking about animals I’ve known and whilst I recognise it’s important not to get too caught up in applying human emotion to them, I’m convinced they do go through a range of emotions and therefore do have ‘feelings’.

My childhood dog would know 10 minutes before one of us got home that we were on our way and start getting excited and pining. Then when we came through the door she would greet us with what can only be described as a grin, her mouth quite literally changed from any other time, curling up at the sides as she expressed her excitement.

I recognise different moods in my cats. They sulk when I go away, get annoyed if I move them from their preferred sleeping space and demand attention when they are in need of some loving! I nearly always know what they want from me by the way they behave or how they meow; this is their way of showing their feelings as well as their needs. One of my cats gets very jealous if I’m giving attention to the other and even if he is fast asleep he will come over and butt in, trying to get the attention onto himself. I’ve heard about animals who have stopped eating or shown rage after they experience bereavement, which surely indicates an emotional response to loss.

I believe animals are sentient beings, they share the same underlying circuitry as ourselves, so whilst they may not have the complexity of emotions we have they most certainly have some. I imagine that animals experience anger, fear, jealously, rage, sadness, surprise and devotion; otherwise they would struggle to make the right choices to survive in the world and ensure the survival of their offspring. I suspect, however, that animals may be far more emotionally complex than we give them credit for and think anyone who has ever developed a relationship with an animal might agree with this.

In addition, animals become an important part of our households and we certainly develop strong emotional bonds to them, so experiencing their loss is absolutely a bereavement and we have to go through the whole range of emotions associated with this before we are able to move on.

Is Something better than Nothing?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself over the last couple of weeks as my relationship with ‘scrabble friend’ has ended. We got to that same place we’d been in before where we realised that the whole time we were together neither of us was likely to meet someone else as we either didn’t look, or we compared everyone else to each other and they didn’t match up.

We talked about making a real effort to look for other people but I just couldn’t manage that. The thought of him telling me he’d found someone he wanted to pursue things with, and so our relationship would have to end, broke my heart; if the relationship had to end better to be now when we both cared for each other deeply than when I felt angry and bitter towards him. I think part of me wanted him to say we should give it a go and be more than friends with benefits, but I also knew that would never happen. I’m not sure if he knows it, but he has some ‘finding’ of himself to do before he gets to a place where he could make that commitment. He is still searching for someone he can settle down with and have children, I can’t offer him this, so unless he had a radical rethink it was obvious to me our relationship would never move beyond what it was. I loved what we had but wanted more. I want someone to share my life with, to come with me to see friends and family, someone who feels like my partner.

We discussed the situation, went round in circles and then realised that the most sensible thing to do was to say goodbye and cease all contact – because without that we would likely slip back to where we were. That was a couple of weeks ago and now I’m trying hard to cope with the aftermath of saying goodbye to someone who has been my best friend for a year, who I love very much and who I don’t regret one minute of the time I spent with him. He gave me a confidence I was lacking and I will always be grateful to him for that. We had a lot of fun together!

I’m in that place now where I feel like I have nothing and I wonder why I gave up what we did have. Should I have just let it continue and see what happened, isn’t something better than nothing? Maybe neither of us would meet someone else and we could have continued enjoying each others love and friendship. I know it’s unlikely and that we did what we did because it was the sensible thing to do, but sometimes being sensible sucks. I miss him loads and he was such a formidable scrabble opponent!

I’m alone again, questioning what my life is all about, whether I will ever get to a place where I feel content. I know being in a relationship isn’t the answer to all that. I see many people in relationships that don’t make them happy but they fear being on their own; I see how insecure those relationships make them and realise the longer they stay the harder it will be for them to leave. My friends tell me I’m strong for having the courage to end something that wasn’t right; I hope that’s true.

I would really like to find someone to share my life with, who is that ‘special person’ to me. I fear this won’t happen, that I’m destined to be on my own forever. I know it’s common to feel like that at the end of a relationship, the challenge is not to let myself sink so low that I go to that dark place of depression where it feels impossible to get out. I must think positively but it is hard as internet dating doesn’t seem to work for me and I don’t really meet anyone any other way. I’m trying to engage myself in activities to meet others but more importantly just to enjoy myself, but I’ve never really found that hobby that gets me excited. The more I question whether I will find anyone the more I wonder if something is better than nothing and if I shouldn’t have left things as they were because I miss my scrabble friend so much.