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  • #370045
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I can’t believe how quickly time has passed since I last posted here. I have come back to this thread a couple of times to reread what we’ve discussed, and to try to reply, but for whatever reason, I felt I didn’t have the energy to reply, even though I wanted to. After my last post, I stayed in the other city for a little while but had to come back home as it was clear my dog wasn’t doing well. Sadly, he passed away last month. I miss him so, so much. Looking back on this thread, I deeply regret the obsessive thoughts I had about this man. And, that despite the futility of it at the time, decided to go back to his city to try to “fix” things with him when it was clear for weeks before that, that as you say, the ship had sailed. However, I went anyway and wasted precious time I could have been spending with my dog. I’ve talked to a few friends about this, and they have all assured me that there is no point for me to feel guilty about this, but I still do. I’m angry at myself, at this man, at the situation. But maybe most of all, I’m just hurt and sad. I knew it would be a horrible experience for me to lose my lovely dog, but it has been magnified by the loneliness and isolation I have felt with the pandemic. I have been trying to focus on the positive aspects of my life, but I have been so depressed. To make matters more complicated, I have had my own health issues in the last few weeks that put me in the hospital. I’m currently on the mend with more tests being done, but it’s clear I am far from my best right now, emotionally or physically.

    I feel in the past weeks since I updated you, I have fleeting moments of clarity regarding my situation, but then obsessive thoughts take over and I become exhausted and drained and depressive periods follow. I’ve given a lot of thought over what you have written last to me, about how I seemed to be hooked on rejection. It seems to be true. To me, this is so sad. I so desperately want to be “normal”, healthy, or integrate the child and woman aspects of me as you say. I find it rather pathetic that I have been suffering like this for years. On the outside, it must look to others that I am not trying, just making the same errors over and over. And yet, for me, it feels like a constant battle that I have tried not to give up on. Since we last spoke, I have transitioned to a new therapist. She seems to be helfpul, but I have only had a handful of sessions so far. I’m also meeting with my family doctor next week to go over the possibility of me meeting the diagnostic criteria for Bipolar II disorder. I have always known this was a possibility for me, yet I had hoped my mental issues were not so severe to meet the criteria for a full diagnosis. However, over the last year, it became very clear to me that I had several periods that would meet the criteria of hypomania. I have also had enough feedback from romantic partners in the the last few years to recognize that I go through periods of time that indicate hypomania. I guess I just didn’t want to accept this diagnosis. That being said, we will see what my doctor says and I will keep you updated.

    For whatever reason, this past week has been one of the worst I have experienced in terms of mood in a long, long time. It hit me especially hard, as the week prior, I was feeling relatively good. I had thought I was on the mend, but now I wonder if it was possibly a hypomanic period for me and maybe that’s why this week has been so unbearable, the dreaded depression that follows mania. Either way, I have found myself once again obsessing over thoughts about what happened with S. I don’t even know why compeltely. I can’t say that it’s that I want him back in my life, I don’t even think from the progression of what happened, that he’s a very good person. He knew the situation with my family and dog’s health, and yet it feels to me that he strung me along for weeks after seemingly ending things with me when he had no intention of reconciling, He would message me regularly, suggest to meet, and then go silent. I find this particularly cruel behaviour, as he knew how much I was hurting over the health of my family and dog. However, after I told him I was back in his city and to let me know when he would like to get together again, he never did. After weeks of asking to meet again. What worse, is I did nothing about it. I acted like it was completely fine, and continued to communicate with him warmly when looking back, I should not have. I should have just stopped all communication, or at the very least told him I was displeased with his behaviour. I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter anymore, but for some reason, it really does to me, and it bothers me deeply that he has no idea what he has cost me. Perhaps I am just looking for someone to blame for the loss of my dog, I don’t know. I catch myself fantasizing about when things were good between S and I, and how maybe that could have continued. And I wouldn’t have wasted the last months of my dog’s life feeling so upset over him and the situation. I feel embarrassed about all of it, and I am so afraid that S will become the new J, and I will be stuck with these thoughts and feelings for years. And that itself deeply upsets me, because how can I on one hand rationally not think very highly of S, and then on the other pine for things to have been different. It’s so confusing.

    I want to move forward Anita, I really do. I am so tired of feeling stuck, of ruminating over events that really in the grand scheme of things don’t matter. But I have felt so stuck, so down, so hopeless. I am afraid I won’t be able to move past these issues I have. I’m afraid I will never have my person, never have a family of my own. I am afraid of feeling stuck while everyone around me moves forward with their lives while I stand still. I’m afraid of not understanding myself. I don’t feel sure about moving to the new city anymore, I feel my life has dulled again. And this time maybe the worst of all, as I don’t have my lovely dog anymore as my companion. I have watched all of my friends and family move forward with partners and families of their own during this pandemic, and yet I am so stuck. I feel like I have so much work still to do on myself, yet so little energy to do it. I’m so sorry I don’t have a better update for you, I was hoping if I gave myself more time, I would. But after so many weeks, it’s clear that wasn’t going to be the case.

    I hope you’re doing well Anita and staying safe. Thank you again for your continued support.

    – L

     

     

     

    #370054
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    My condolences for the passing of your dog. I am sorry to read that you are feeling angry at yourself, guilty and depressed, and that you suffer from health issues that put you in the hospital: what kind of health issues, if you are okay sharing, generally, if not specifically?

    I read your whole post but will need to re-read it tomorrow morning, in about 14 hours from now, and reply to you further then. Please try to have a relaxing evening, give yourself the permission to relax and feel okay this evening and night.

    anita

    #370058
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your kind words. Inexplicably a couple of weeks ago I was admitted into the hospital in the middle of the night with excruciating abdominal pains. Originally it was thought it was my appendix, then gallbladder, and now it seems it is my liver. I’ve done more tests, but it seems like the one incident is isolated, I haven’t had that severe pain since but my doctor is concerned with some of the liver enzyme levels. Thankfully she is a very competent and caring doctor, so I’m sure it will be sorted out. I’m not as concerned with my physical health as I am with my mental health.

    To add to my last post, I have noticed that with both J and now S, I experience an overall feeling of shame. Shame over my behaviour, shame over how I must be perceived, and shame in the rejection, and the pitiful attempts on my part to win them back. Once again I think about what would be my ideal scenario, and similarly the only answer that comes to mind is to go back in time, not have these events unfold the way they did, and not feel the way I am feeling now. The more I think about it, the more I feel like neither would have been a good long term partner for me, yet these turn of events seem to matter so much to me. Yet when rationally I look at it, the fact that they weren’t great long term partners should be enough to just simply let it go.

    I’m really upset with myself (nothing new, I know…) that because of my choices in the last few months, my grief about my dog is completely intertwined with S. I just wish I could forget about him, recognize that it was simply a Fantasy I was in and not reality, rather than what intrudes my thoughts, that somehow all of this is my fault and undoing. Not only that, but I have felt so much responsibility regarding the last year of my dog’s life being less than ideal. I simply could have done better. To put a long story short, it was my fault he was attacked by another dog and was bit and required surgery. Had I not have gotten involved with a completely unsuitable man, who’s dog did the attacking, it never would have happened. I know I should not dwell on the past, but it is so hard not to when I feel I make so many mistakes.

    I will try my best to try to relax this evening nonetheless. I hope you do as well Anita!

    -L

    #370059
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    This is a partial reply, a few comments about a few things you wrote today:

    * I hope your liver/ physical health is fine, and that your doctor’s concern is resolved.

    You wrote about your dog, “I simply could have done better.. it was my fault..”- I read this sentiment from each and every member who posted here about losing a pet, in the last five and a half years. It seems to be very common for a person losing a pet to be disturbed by guilt.

    “I have noticed that with both J and now S, I experienced an overall feeling of shame. Shame over my behaviour, shame over.. shame”- I wish you felt no shame in regard to J and S. It just occurred to me that maybe it will help you if every time you find yourself thinking about J and S, feeling ashamed- replace those thoughts (using the letters J and S): Just say no to Shame. It may be silly, but being obsessive, it may help you to do a thought-replacement of this kind.

    Regarding a possible bipolar diagnosis- this diagnosis may be useful for planning a treatment for you, including perhaps mood stabilizers prescribed for the disorder.

    Back to you in the morning.

    anita

    #370076
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    You shared yesterday: “I’m also meeting with my family doctor next week to go over the possibility of me meeting the diagnostic criteria for Bipolar 2 disorder.. over the last year, it became clear to me that I had several periods that would meet the criteria of hypomania.. I go through periods of time that indicate hypomania”.

    Medicinenet defines Hypomania this way: “A condition similar to mania but less severe. The symptoms are similar with elevated mood, increased activity, decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts, and the like”.

    Wikipedia: “a mood state characterized by persistent disinhibition and mood elevation, with behavior that is noticeably different from the person’s typical behavior when in non-depressed state. It may involve irritability, not necessarily less severe than full mania; in fact, the presence of marked irritability is a documented feature of hypomania and mixed episodes in Bipolar type 2. According to DSM-5 criteria, hypomania is distinct from mania in that there is no significant functional impairment; mania, by DSM-5 definition, does include significant functional impairment and may have psychotic features”.

    What stands out to me in these definitions is the “racing thoughts” “disinhibition” and “marked irritability” features, fitting with what I remember you sharing over the years.

    Let’s look at your first post, May 9, 2017, at 28, quotes and my comments (three periods “…” follow my comments, indicating that I am bringing up possibilities as opposed to facts, since I am not a professional and this is not a professional context):

    “I met a man online.. Eventually we did meet, and it was wonderful. I have never felt so strongly for someone so quickly in my whole life.. We spent the weekend together.. he came back to see me and we spent another few days together. This time I was really devastated when he had to leave”-

    – hypomania when you met him, lasting through a weekend together, and through a few more days, then mood changing into depression when he had to leave..

    On the same thread, in June 2017, you wrote about that very brief relationship: “My heart longs for that ‘love’ again, to feel so special, to have so much hope for the future.. In my dreams, I fantasize about a reality where we continued being infatuated/ in love (whatever it was)”-

    – what if what it was, was hypomania, a mood state that is not a side effect, so to speak, of a quality- relationship, but a mood state (hypomania) that happens to you independently from the objective quality, or lack of quality, of the relationship.

    Continued quote: “It’s the dream I miss.. I miss the excitement, the thrill of wondering when I see my ‘dream guy’ again”-

    – the dream is really hypomania, strictly a biochemical issue.

    The month after, July 2017, same thread, you wrote: “I feel so stuck, so damaged, and hopeless about my future romantic prospects. Anyone I meet, I cannot imagine them being as wonderful as he was at the beginning”-

    – the wonderful was the mood state, the hypomania.. not the man, not the relationship. The stuck, damaged, hopeless- is the depression following the hypomania. When depressed, you terribly miss the hypomania, the gap between hypomania and depression, and the fall into depression is devastating.

    Continued quote: “any time I have alone, I am reminded of the emptiness I have always felt, only now it is even larger without his affection”- the depression was even larger when compared to the hypomania, the gap is too big.

    Fast forward, August 3, 2020, on this thread, you shared: “I met someone.. I felt somewhat alive again!“- hypomania…

    “I unfortunately, uninvited him from meeting my brother and became short and cold to him”- this is the  marked irritability feature of hypomania/ bipolar 2..

    Continued quote: “As if that wasn’t bad enough, I proceeded to have too much to drink that night and ended up sending some really odd texts that I now regret”- the marked irritability and disinhibition features of hypomania were exacerbated by the disinhibition feature of drinking alcohol…

    I wrote to you back on August 6: “the pattern has been, you meet a man you like and.. you lose your senses, you lose your mind, basically. You place the man on a pedestal, you fast forward the relationship in your mind, running fast without looking, imagining he is running with you, but you are running alone, and, not seeing what’s in front of you, you crash into a wall and bruise your head, once again”-

    – fits with hypomania: losing your mind, so to speak.. running fast (racing thoughts), crashing into.. depression.

    I continued: “This is a form of insanity”- specifically then, bipolar 2…

    You replied to my input at the time, the above quotes (not including my comments regarding hypomania) on August 11: “I’ve read your last reply over and over, and I am truly in awe of your gift of observation and insight… I believe everything you have written here is spot on… I do completely lose my senses”.

    My input today, Nov 28, 2020: I think that the reason you were not able to act reasonably so far in the context of relationships with men (at least ever since that long-term relationship you had with a man, now a woman), is that you have been suffering all these years from a mood disorder, and the hypomania was too intense to allow you reasonable thinking. I am very encouraged by you mentioning this diagnosis possibility for the first time in your threads, and having a visit made with your family doctor so to check your fit with this diagnosis. I am encouraged  because a diagnosis will allow the planning of a treatment plan for you that will include the necessity of quieting down the hypomania so that you can think and choose reasonable in the future, in the context of relationships with men.

    anita

    #370097
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’m so touched (as always) by the time you take to formulate your replies to me, and all the members here. It must take a long time and a lot of energy to do this, and I know I’ve said it before, but I am so grateful to you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    I read your reply this morning, and I have been thinking about it and processing it all day I believe. I feel so many things are clicking for me, and the more research I do on Bipolar II, the more I feel it is likely the right diagnosis for me. I am somewhat shocked I didn’t realize it sooner, but most of my experience with clients and research in the past was on Bipolar I, which I didn’t feel I ever met the diagnostic criteria for, and so I left it at that. Maybe part of me also didn’t want to have a formal diagnosis of any kind related to mental health either, despite being in this field myself. Maybe especially for that reason. Either way, I am trying my best to face this head-on, so I can really move forward with my life.

    Now to reply specifically to your posts. You’re right, I have heard the sentiment of guilt often from others when losing a pet. I know this is normal, yet I am still disappointed in myself. I don’t remember if I posted about this or not, but around the beginning of the pandemic, I met an individual that was clearly not suitable for me to date, for many reasons. I continued to see him, and later his “friend”, simply because I was lonely and I rationalized it by telling myself that it was just during the pandemic and I would end it once it was over. However, that individual (the friend of the original unsuitable man) became a horrible disruptive force in my life. He stole money from me, used my vehicle without my permission on several occasions and racked up several expensive speeding tickets I now have to pay, and worst of all, involvement with him led to my dog being attacked. Looking back, I imagine I was experiencing hypomania at the time, and simply was not thinking or behaving rationally. I have made peace with my consequences from this horrible involvement, such as the lost money, but I am not able to make peace with how it affected my poor sweet dog. I knew that man’s dog was not well trained and might be aggressive, but for some ridiculous reason, I thought my dog would be alright and that if they got along, I could bring him more around when I was with this worthless man. Thinking back on this now, I am appalled at myself. I wish I could go back in time so desperately to ensure this never happened, and to spend more time with my sweet boy. He deserved much better from me. His whole life I was there for him and cared for him, it hurts deeply that in the end is when I failed to do so. Do you recommend any strategies to deal with this form of guilt?

    Thank you for your strategy with J and S. Miraculously J does not come to mind as much anymore, but S still does. I will do my best to replace the thoughts with Just Say No to Shame if either does. I think it did help today. When you wrote about “the wonderful was the mood state, the hypomania.. not the man, not the relationship. The stuck, damaged, hopeless- is the depression following the hypomania. When depressed, you terribly miss the hypomania, the gap between hypomania and depression, and the fall into depression is devastating.”, it really, really made sense to me. Just like that, the glimmer and appeal of S started to fade away, and what I was left with was a clear picture of a man that I barely knew, who, in the end, was not anything like the image I projected onto him. It also made sense why in the past so many of my friends and family could not understand why I was so enamoured with certain individuals who seemed at best nothing special to them, and at worst, very low-caliber individuals.

    Thank you for your support in this Anita, and your confirmation that it is likely the right diagnosis for me. I should mention that it is somewhat ironic that it was my mother of all people that suggested the diagnosis. She suggested it as her mother was diagnosed Bipolar many years ago, I’m not sure which type, and she believes her inability to find the right treatment damaged their relationship beyond repair and caused my mother a great deal of pain. I realized that even if there was only a small possibility of me meeting this criteria, I must seek it out. I do not want to do harm to those I care about, especially if I ever were to have children one day. I briefly spoke with my family doctor prior to our appointment on Monday, and she mentioned she usually treats Bipolar with a combination of mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I thought about it, and with my experience of taking antidepressants and it not being helpful to me, I believe the mood stabilizer might have better effectiveness. I see now that most of my depressive periods follow a seemingly hypomanic period, so I believe if the hypomania is in check, then it is less likely that I will fall into depressive periods. I hope, anyway.

    Once again, thank you so much for your continued support Anita. In my darkest moments, when I post here and read your replies, I always feel a little better and more hopfefull. I think this is a gift you have, and we are all very lucky to have you on this forum and part of this community. I hope you have a great evening!

    L

    #370102
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    I will read and reply to you in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #370104
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you, I hope you have a good rest tonight. Oddly enough, out of the blue an ex-partner of mine reached out to see how I’m doing. He’s now in a long term relationship (which started right after he and I ended) and has an adorable baby. We always had a great rapport, but maybe we have always been better as friends rather than lovers. The chemistry didn’t seem to be there in the past, but now I wonder how much of that was due to me pushing it at lightning speed, as I always did. We could talk for hours and both genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. There seemed to be passion in the beginning, but as I always did in the past, I got obsessed and irrational about the prospect of a relationship and I think I snuffed it out. I wish I could have seen it clearly back then, but all I remember at the time was trying to grasp so tightly to something that was seeping out of my fingertips. It makes me wonder what would have been if I had been more stable and let things develop or unfold organically.

    It made me think about it, and as far as I can remember (as you have pointed out in the past), all of my romantic breakups in the past 6-7 years since my long term relationship have stemmed from periods of hypomania. You wrote once that my “blunders are significant, so they are in the way of you forming a healthy relationship with a suitable man.” and you were right. I know it’s unhelpful, but I can’t help thinking about what could have been had I realized all of this sooner, if I had gotten help from the right therapist and likely the right medication years ago. I don’t know if I would still have been with this man I’ve mentioned or any of the others in my past, but I think for sure the last few years would have been far less tumultuous and painful.

    On a positive note, since discussing this new revelation with you, I have felt somewhat sad thinking about my past and what could have been, but I don’t feel completely obsessed, distraught and hopeless like I often used to when thinking about my past. I think this clarity is helping me process everything more rationally, and I feel a little bit of hope. I’ve had some awful experiences in the last few years and dated some less than great men, but I’ve also had positive experiences and dated some very kind men. I wish I would have been able to tell the difference back then as I seem to be able to know, but I guess life doesn’t always go as we would have wanted it to. I really hope that it’s not too late for me, but even my therapist admits that at my age, it is less likely to find kind, stable, suitable men to date as those with such qualities are likely already taken. But I suppose I just need one. That being said, I have resigned myself that no matter how badly I wanted to rush this, it simply can’t be, and I probably need quite some time on my own to properly heal before I venture out again into the world of dating.

    L

    #370149
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    You are most welcome. “Maybe part of me also didn’t want to have a formal diagnosis of any kind related to mental health, despite being in this field myself. Maybe especially for that reason”- what better psychotherapist to treat people who suffer from a certain disorder (and similar disorders) than a therapist who suffers from the same disorder, having the thorough understanding and experience of it?

    “You’re right, I have heard the sentiment of guilt often from others when losing a pet.. yet I am still disappointed in myself”- you can apply empathy for yourself, knowing that you’ve suffered for so long from a mood disorder, forgiving yourself for the effects of a disorder that you fell a victim to, one that made your life so much more difficult and challenging than others’.

    About the unsuitable man you met around the beginning of the pandemic and that man’s friend, and all that resulted from your involvement with the latter, I agree that it was very likely a result of you “experiencing hypomania at the time, and simply was not thinking or behaving rationally”.

    Regarding the unfortunate incident of your dog being attacked, I hope you find a way to forgive yourself. You did right by him for so long (“His whole life I was there for him and cared for him”)- you messed up that one time, didn’t practice good judgment. You asked me if I recommend any strategies to deal with this form of guilt- I suggest that every time you feel guilty about your dog suffering as a result of your lesser judgment/ hypomania-  remind yourself that you too have suffered as a result of the same,  many, many times, and massively. Feel empathy not only for your dog, but for yourself.

    You wrote that “mood stabilizers might have better effectiveness” for you than antidepressants- probably; it will take some time and experimentation, but mood stabilizers help millions of people, and I think that they will help you too.

    It makes sense to me, that “if the hypomania is in check, then it is less likely that (you) will fall into depressive periods”- fits with the what-goes-up-must-come-down principle.

    “On a positive note, since discussing this new revelation with you, I have felt somewhat sad thinking about my past and what could have been, but I don’t feel completely obsessed, distraught and hopeless like I often used to when thinking about my past. I think this clarity is helping me process everything more rationally, and I feel a little bit of hope”- I am so glad to read this that I had to retype it. Your life can and will be so much better as you experience more and more clarity and rational thinking, leading to sound judgement.

    “I really hope that it’s not too late for me”- it is not too late for you!

    “my therapist admits that at my age, it is less likely to find kind, stable, suitable men to date as those.. are likely already taken”- it is also less likely that you will find unkind, unstable, unsuitable men to date as those too… are already taken. And some of the kind, suitable ones who found themselves with unkind women as their wives- get divorced and are available for you. And like you wrote, you “just need one”.

    anita

     

     

    #370683
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your positive reframe about how my diagnosis could be a positive aspect in my work, rather than a negative one. I thought about that in a session I had with a client last week with a Bipolar I diagnosis. I did not disclose to him my diagnosis of Bipolar II, but at the end of the session he thanked me and said he felt so heard and understood during the session and was so grateful for my help. It helps me to know that perhaps my painful experiences can somehow inform my ability to help others today. I wonder if that’s how you feel too, with your past experiences and being able to help so many here on this forum.

    I did my best the last week or so to apply empathy for myself when grieving the loss of my dog, and my past mistakes in general. It is not easy, but I feel slowly it is healing. I’ve spent many years rehashing my past mistakes, judging myself, hating myself for them, but I have seen (with your help!) how unhelpful this has been for me moving forward. It has only worked to keep me rooted in the past, which I do not want anymore. I know I must be brave and face the present/future rather than living in the past, but it is not easy for me.

    I have been taking my newly prescribed medication nightly as instructed, and it has at the very minimum, helped me sleep much better. For the last few years I averaged around 4-5 hours of sleep, maximum, but now I have been sleeping a full 8 hours, sometimes a little more. I think in time this alone will really help with my healing, but for now, it’s not so noticeable. I see my doctor again tomorrow to follow up, she is very caring and competenant.

    I wanted to update you as well on something new. Recently, the man I wrote this post about (https://tinybuddha.com/topic/he-doesnt-feel-a-spark/) has reached out to me and we have been in regular contact. To give him credit, he followed up with me after I made the original post, but as he was resolved in his decision not to pursue a romantic relationship with me, I didn’t feel it necessary to continue to post about him. He did mention that he missed me a lot as a friend and someone to talk to, so I accepted his apology for how he handled the situation with me (telling me he’d like to take a month off our ‘relationship’ at the time to see how he felt, when really he was beginning a new relationship with someone else), and agreed to being friends. He has been with the partner he started to see after me, and he told me now has a 6-month old baby. I am happy for him, and have enjoyed talking with him as we have always had great conversations, but I wonder now if it is counterproductive/unhealthy for me.

    I had a vivid, very realistic dream with him in it, and in my dream his partner was not comfortable with us speaking and yet he continued to anyway and we even started to become more romantic in nature with one another. I don’t foresee this happening at all in real life (I get the impression he is very happy in his current relationship and is honest about only missing me as a friend/someone to talk to), yet it made me wonder if maybe it’s creating a longing for me that is not healthy. Last night and today I have found myself thinking back to the past (I can’t believe that it’s been 3 years ago), on how my current diagnosis of Bipolar II probably impacted this past ‘relationship’ too. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been had I gotten the help that I needed sooner, but I’m trying to practice what we spoke about and using compassion and empathy for myself rather than beating myself up over what happened 3 years ago. I’m also trying to tell myself that it’s possible that it wasn’t my issues that stamped out this relationship from blossoming into something real, and perhaps he simply wasn’t that in to me even if I had behaved better. I’ve thought about asking him about this now that he’s so open to talking, but I wonder if a) it doesn’t really matter, b) he might not even know, and c) it might open up a topic that might be inappropriate.

    Also, I feel like it’s hard not to feel envious of him and his partner. His baby is adorable, and he told me that his partner is truly his best friend. It makes me sad that I’ve wanted that for as long as I can remember, yet it still seems so out of reach for me while I have watched most of my past partners, friends, and family members find what has been so elusive to me. I worry that now that I finally seem aware and able to pursue romantic relationships in a more healthy manner, that it is too late, that most of the good men are taken. That even years ago when I was in my 20’s it was hard to find good, interesting and reliable men and that it will only be harder in my 30’s. I’m finding it hard not to revert to old patterns of blaming myself for what transpired. It seems sort of evidence to me that if this man still enjoys talking to me 3 years after dating one another, that he probably was interested in me and it was my behaviour that drove him away.

    Anyway, I thought I’d keep you updated on that and see what your thoughts are. I hope you’ve had a good week that I’ve been away from this thread!

    -L

    #370704
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    You are welcome and good to read from you. I appreciate your update (I thought about you the other day, wondering about the medical appointment you had scheduled). So, if I understand correctly, you officially received a Bipolar 2 diagnosis?

    Good to read that you’ve been sleeping better/ longer with the new medication.

    “I wonder if that’s how you feel too, with your past experiences and being able to help so many here on this forum”- I don’t know if I am helping many people, but thank you, and yes: my past and current personal life experience helps me understand other people. We people are so much alike- being the same species, we operate by the same principles.

    “I’m trying to practice what we spoke about and using compassion and empathy for myself rather than beating myself up over what happened 3 years ago”- that inclination to beat yourself up over what happened in the past-that’s a compulsion, a drive.

    To weaken this compulsion, it takes becoming more and more aware/ mindful of the moment you start to pick up that figurative whip, and no matter how strongly you feel that you must hit yourself with that whip- put that whip down instead. Do  it again and again, and over time this strong compulsion/ mental habit will weaken.

    Same thing with your compulsion to obsess about past relationships (an obsession aimed at figuring out what you did wrong and therefore,  if and how much mental whipping you deserve). Mindfully pay attention to when you start to obsess– and let the obsession go. It is difficult to do, it goes against the grain of habit, but I’ve done it and I know therefore, that it is possible (or will be possible) for you as well.

    “It seems sort of evidence to me that if this man still enjoys talking to me 3 years after dating one another, that he probably was interested in me and it was my behaviour that drove him away”- I personally don’t see the evidence, but regardless, this is your obsession:  that you drove him away, that you missed on something good by doing wrong. Coming to think about it, the very title of your thread depicts this obsession: “Let a good guy go”.

    I wish I had a magic wand and was able to remove this obsession from your brain, and I wish there was a medication that will remove it smoothly and completely. From my experience, it takes the practice I mentioned: to notice the beginning of your obsession (I “Let a good guy go”) and/ or the compulsion (I must beat myself up) and resisting the strong urge to proceed with more obsessing and/ or whipping yourself.

    anita

    #371660
    anita
    Participant

    Merry Christmas, Laelithia!

    anita

    #372615
    laelithia
    Participant

    Hi Anita!

    Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful time with your partner. Although I didn’t get a chance to log on here, I thought of you. It was a very busy time with work (many clients seem to be struggling during the holidays, especially with the pandemic this last year) but I tried my best to stay positive and focus on the good advice you have given me over the years and I believe that helped me keep going. Once again, I’m so grateful for you!

    I’ll start by acknowledging your last post a month ago! I am always shocked by how much time goes by when I take some time away from this thread. I hope you don’t take that personally Anita, I think sometimes I just get overwhelmed and find basic functioning (work, family responsibilities, etc.) difficult, let alone coming on here. I do apologize though, I know you take a lot of time to reply to posts here, and I don’t want to come across as unappreciative at all, because I do appreciate you very much.

    To answer your question, my doctor did not formally diagnose me with BP2, although she agreed my symptoms seemed to align with the diagnosis. She was hesitant to provide a formal diagnosis as she believed it may hinder me in the future (i.e., life insurance premiums, treatment by medical professionals, etc.) so she said it would be best if we treat the symptomology without the diagnosis. She did not want to prescribe me with the typical antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, as she believed my symptoms could be managed by continuing to see her on a regular basis, as well as continuing with my current psychologist. I took this advice, and have been doing so since.

    I have been thinking a lot of what you said about the figurative whip and putting it down no matter what. It has been difficult, but I have been trying. Sometimes I am able to, and sometimes I am not. The last month or so I had a particularly difficult time not picking up that whip, but I was able to at least distract myself with work and other responsibilities. However, as I mentioned earlier, it was not always for the best as so many of my clients have been struggling and it has taken a lot for me to be grounded for them. We recently had to put my sister’s dog to sleep also, which was very difficult for me and I am trying my best to be kind to myself as similar feelings of blame regarding my dog’s last year resurfaced. That being said, I have a new development/update for you. Right before Christmas, I went on 3 socially distanced dates. This is rather surprising as I have been trying not to date in my current hometown as I aspired to move to the other city, as well as for deciding a couple of weeks prior that perhaps it was best to stop dating altogether. I was actually reopening the app to delete it, but when I saw the messages from the 3 men offering to go on a socially distanced date, I thought why not. The first one was fine, the gentleman seemed kind, but it didn’t seem to evolve into anything else. The second was a doctor, a respirologist actually (also very busy during the pandemic for obvious reasons!) was also quite nice, but I wonder if I had made myself too nervous before the date and he did not end up contacting me again afterwards. I suppose I didn’t feel much chemistry/attraction myself so maybe it was just that and not my nerves/being a little late for the date, but who knows. The third ended up developing into a relationship that I’d like to discuss with you.

    I’ll refer to him as B. He is kind, sweet, caring, and probably everything I could ask for in terms of a relationship partner. He is very affectionate, reassuring, thoughtful and wants to help me any way he can. Although I only met him on the 20th, he has fully committed to me and deleted all his dating apps and is not seeing anyone else. He decided this very early on, perhaps only after our second or third date. At the time, I was elated. In fact, I called my friend after our third or fourth date (they were close together so I can’t remember the exact number of dates!) and told her I may have met my future husband. I’m not even too sure why I said that then, but I did have a special feeling about him. I know my M.O. is to rush into dating someone very soon, but something about him felt different, right. Also, it was unique that for once the man was reciprocating my excitement/eagerness.

    Anyway, as you may have suspected, it might have moved too soon. We deleted my dating apps together, but I noticed afterwards that I felt odd about it. On one hand, I felt very relieved to be off these dating apps, on the other, I felt that it maybe was too soon and perhaps I might regret it. I also started taking the birth control pill around this time, so I wonder if my shift in mood/excitement with the new relationship was impacted by that also. Either way, I have recently found myself somewhat panicking about the prospect of this relationship. I waver from feeling very secure/happy/grateful for having this man in my life, to terrified/worried/scared that I jumped in too soon, and that I either a) may hurt this man deeply which would horrify me, and b) may have hurt myself by not giving myself enough time to stabilize moodwise before jumping into a relationship and may have not made the best choice of mate.

    To help you conceptualize B, I’ll tell you a little about him. He is 39 years old, I am 31 for reference. He is the new CEO of a renewable energy company, but it is a newer company run by 2 founders close to age with me. This is of note, as just the other day one of the owners lost his temper at B for being late on a deadline and even threatened his job. It made me realize that perhaps it is not the best working environment for him, and also that his priorities might not be focused enough on work but on me as the reason for his tardiness on the deadline was that he was talking with me that evening about my reservations on our current status (a couple already). He had mentioned to me that day he had some work to finish in the evening, but I totally forgot as we started discussing our relationship. It is also of note that B was brought up quite religiously and was married for 16 years. He has been divorced for about a year and is on very good terms with his ex-wife, but it something to think about. He told me that he rarely had his physical needs (including affection) met in the relationship and that they differed in their approach with finances. In fact, he personally guaranteed a business venture that did not go well and had to file a consumer proposal to reduce the debt. He is now debt-free, but his credit has taken a hit because of this. I believe that he is an industrious person and is gainfully employed now, so I’m sure it won’t hinder us as a couple too much down the road, but I suppose it is not the best situation either. My last concern I’m rather embarrassed to even admit, is I’m not sure we are extremely compatible sexually. That being said, he had minor hernia surgery right before Christmas so I’m sure that will get better as he is healing.

    I suppose what I’m concerned about now is if I can trust my judgement on if someone is a good potential mate for me or not. I’m also nervous that my past history of rushing into things and then losing interest is happening here now, or if my shift in feelings (I still like his company very much, but I find myself slamming on the breaks rather than pushing the gas like I usually do) has to do with momentarily taking hormonal birth control, or lastly because my logic really is telling me he may not be the best match. To make matters worse, I recently contacted the man I was seeing in the other city to let him know of this development, he wrote that he was heartbroken and gave me some very sweet compliments and lamented the difficulties of long-distance relationships. I was surprised by this, as I didn’t realize we were in an actual relationship, as he and I only texted here and there since I was back in my hometown for the last 2 months. I feel particularly guilty about this, and wonder if I made the right choice by ending that off, especially that way.

    Anyway, I’m writing to you now as I feel a bit stuck. I’m not sure what I should do moving forward, and I’m worried that if I continue to see B any longer and I decide not to be with him long term, I will completely crush him and he is such a sweet man. We have a lot of fun together, have many interests in common, but I find myself terrified at the prospect of settling down long term. I just don’t know if that is because he isn’t “the one” for me, or of my own commitment phobia rearing its ugly head. B is so kind and sweet, and it’s so rare to find someone serious about commitment (I suppose this is what I asked for, as on the dating app I wrote that I was looking for someone to have fun with and build a life with) I feel like I should think twice before parting with him. I just wish I knew if my feelings of uncertainty with him are grounded in reality, or just another way for me to self-sabotage.

    Any insight on your part will be very helpful. I hope you’re doing well!

     

    L

    #372638
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    Good to read back from you, and thank you for your good wishes for me! I will be able to read your whole post and reply further tomorrow, in about 20 hours from now.

    anita

    #372701
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laelithia:

    No reason to apologize for not posting here regularly, it is okay with me, really!

    You shared in your recent post, among other things, that your doctor agreed that your symptoms seem to be aligned with the diagnosis of Bipolar 2, and that right before Christmas, you went on three socially distanced dates with three different men. The date with the third man took place on Dec 20, 2020. By the second or third date, “he has fully committed to” you, and you were elated, having “a special feeling about him.. something about him felt different, right”, you called a friend saying that you may have met your “future husband”!

    Soon after that elation, you “felt odd about it.. that it maybe was too soon and perhaps I might regret it”. Next, you found yourself “somewhat panicking about the prospect of this relationship”, shifting from feeling happy for having this  “kind, sweet, caring.. very affectionate, reassuring, thoughtful” man in your life (a 39 year old, previously married for 16 years, one year divorced, a new CEO of a renewable energy company, debt free but with a credit that took a hit to feeling, sexual compatibility questionable), to feeling “terrified/ worried/ scared… terrified at the prospect of settling down long term”, scared that you “may hurt this man deeply”, and that you may hurt yourself by not making the best choice for a mate. You don’t know if the issue is that “he isn’t ‘the one'”, or that it is your “commitment phobia rearing its ugly head”.

    “Any insight on your part will be very helpful”- well, no doubt in my mind that your commitment phobia, as you called it, reared its head, as well as other anxieties not related to who this man is, such as your anxiety regarding making the wrong choices and regretting wrong choices.

    I suggest that you share with him (if you haven’t already) what I quoted here, you being terrified at times at the prospect of settling down, etc., and let him know that you need more time, and most importantly, more calm time, to to get to know each other better, perhaps as friends for a while (putting on hold the sexual part of the relationship, if that helps with lessening your anxiety).

    anita

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