I haven’t been able to feel any true emotions in months. As a side effect of PTSD and depression I have subconsciously erected a barrier against feelings, against potential pain and hurt. If you don’t love anything or want anything, you can never be disappointed. It’s something that’s being addressed with my medical team at the moment, more so since my lack of emotions has seen me slip into anxiety filled delusions of not ‘being real’. I worry that my friends are too incredible to actually be real and that I’ve created them in my mind as this imaginary, but much needed, support system. I question everything and consequently my whole life, on occasion, doesn’t seem real. During these brief psychotic breaks I panic that I am in fact rocking backwards and forwards in some mental institution, lost to the real world and trapped in my own delusion. My only saving grace is that I am still fully aware how utterly batshit crazy this all sounds. It’s this realisation that keeps me grounded, but it doesn’t stop the panic attacks.
After a mini meltdown in my doctor’s office, I spent Thursday afternoon resting on the sofa in a bubble of temazepam induced bliss. I felt calm and relaxed for the first time in weeks. I still didn’t feel any emotions. As much as I love my son and friends, I no longer feel that gentle thump in my chest when they say or do something adorable. I don’t feel guilt or remorse, even though I know I sometimes should. I feel rejection and anger, but it is shallow and fleeting compared to how I used to be. I feel no passion. I can cope with being an emotional cripple for now. It’s probably safer than allowing all the bad feelings to come flooding back and suffocate me.
Robyn had been having a rough week too, so by Thursday evening we decided a trip to our local pub may do us some good. As we stepped into the bar, there he was. The One That Got Away. For nearly a decade I haven’t been able to look at that man without getting butterflies in my stomach, sweaty palms and a pulsating vagina. This time, for the first time, I felt nothing.
Robyn and I grabbed a couple of drinks and headed outside for a cigarette. Mr. Fail was there, looking at me with a pitiful expression on his face. I could see he was apprehensive about approaching me. Under normal circumstances I’d have thoroughly enjoyed his uneasiness and would have revelled in making him squirm some more, but the temazepam was doing its job and quite frankly, I didn’t give a fuck how Mr.Fail felt. I was polite and friendly, I acted as if I’d completely forgotten his lies and betrayl. This only served to make him more nervous and he soon scurried out of the pub and sought safety elsewhere.
The One That Got Away was playing pool with his friends. I could feel him looking at me, his eyes boring into my back as I tried to casually ignore all the little games he was playing to try and get my attention. Eventually I allowed him to catch my eye and he used this as his cue to approach the table where Robyn and I were sat. There was only one thing I wanted to talk to him about,
‘Why are you getting people to spit in my face?!’ I explained what Teeth had told me, how TOTGA was meant to have been bad mouthing me and was making vicious remarks, ‘that broke me,’ I said.
TOTGA protested his innocence and it wasn’t difficult to believe him. Part of me always knew he wouldn’t say such harsh things about me, but I guess I needed to hear it from him. He proceeded to question me about my involvement with his Uncle Teddy. I was hurt and disgusted that TOTGA would ever think anything could have happened between my grotesque stalker, Uncle Teddy, and I. It didn’t take me long to realise Teeth and his lies were responsible for this little drama too,
‘Look me in the eye and tell me something didn’t happen,’ TOTGA said.
I did as he asked and stared into the dark brown windows of his soul.
‘Now say it without smiling,’
‘I’m looking at you,’ I reassured him, ‘I can’t help but smile’.
I was offended that he doubted me, even for a second, but I know him. I know he gets jealous even when he knows he has no right to. I know he needs to feel wanted by me, that my affections for him somehow keep him going.
‘He could look like Ryan Gosling and I still wouldn’t go near him,’ I replied, my face bearing a dead pan expression, ‘he is your uncle and a heroin addict. He creeps me out. It’d never happen’.
TOTGA leant forward and, with his hand placed on top of mine, kissed me. The stubble on his lightly bearded face pricked at my skin, a stark contrast to the warm softness of his lips on mine. That brief kiss woke me. I felt the butterflies in my stomach, my palms getting sweaty and my vagina beginning to pulsate. More astonishingly, I felt my heart swell as if it was about to burst out of my chest. I love this man. Despite the hurdles that prevent us being together, despite the villians who try to keep us apart, despite our own insecurities fighting fate at every turn, I love him.
My barriers of self defence may be firmly in place, but The One That Got Away can always get through. Always. I am not emotionally dead. I can feel, sometimes, and therefore I can be better, one day.