I have had a rough two years, I won’t lie to you. If it wasn’t for a select few friends, I probably wouldn’t be here today. You guys know who you are. ~Thank you~
Can you imagine waking up every day and the only thought that goes through your mind is: “Fuck. Another goddamn day! Why couldn’t I just wake up dead?” You are not actually suicidal, because you don’t want to DIE, you just can’t see any point in living either.
I have been struggling with this, what has now become a full-blown midlife crisis, for a few years now. It started when my horse died in 2014. I cannot picture myself without a horse. I don’t know who I am if I’m not a horse-owner or rider. Since I can remember, all I have ever wanted to do, was ride horses, be around horses and talk about horses. I don’t think that there is anyone on the planet who has met me and does not know this. Yet, when it comes to horses, as in many other things in life, I seem to have an inordinate amount of shitty luck. Every time I think, I am where I need to be to start moving forward, to go where I want to be, something happens; my horse dies, (that happened twice) or I get divorced and can no longer afford to keep the one horse I thought was going to be the horse. The biggest slap int he face was probably the fact that the man who had promised to love me until one of us died, after ten years and two children, told me that if I didn’t sell the horse, we had nothing to talk about. It wasn’t like he didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t as if this was a new whim or hobby I had recently picked up. This is who I AM!
So it brings me to the next point. I have given up a lot to own a horse over the past few decades. I have asked others to give up quite a bit, but I managed to make time to raise my babies because I thought that would make the man happy. Clearly it wasn’t enough. But why am I not where I thought I would be? Why do I keep getting “stuck”? Why can other people give up careers and start riding full-time and make it work and I can’t? Why didn’t I study Equine Science? Why didn’t I want to be a stable manager, a jockey (I am small enough) a riding instructor? Why could I not even make the whole Equine Assisted Psychotherapy-thing work for me? Did I not try hard enough? Did I not give up enough? Did I just have rotten luck? I don’t know…I don’t usually like to dwell in the past and ponder about decisions I made because it doesn’t really help matters. We normally make the best decision we can with what we have at that time.
But this time, things are a little different. I am in a bit of a panic. I am getting desperate and I don’t like making decisions from a point of desperation. They are not clear and there are just no good outcomes.
Last week, for instance, I brought a dog home. I have been feeling lonely and miserable and have been saying for a long time that the right dog will still find me. Then one of our cart horse drivers showed up with a little bedraggled, flea-ridden, tick-eaten mangy little dog. I took it to our neighbouring NGO who works with cats and dogs seeing as we really only deal with horses, but when they asked me to sign over the pup, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I told myself, maybe this was the dog that had found me? It seemed like a good idea for all of twenty minutes and by the end of the day I was already feeling the twinges of “buyers remorse”. The problem was, I had the kids that weekend. They were so excited about the prospect of a puppy and even slept with it on the floor. Saturday a dear friend came to visit and in her honest straight-forward way, told me that this was not a good plan. She was right, of course. But the kids were hysterical. I was still dithering…we had already bought it a tag, given it a name, “Buddy” and even though it was still very sickly, the kids had just started coaxing the little guy to play a little bit.
The next day, we had to go to the shops and leave the pup home alone. It just did not work, and right at that point I realised that I either needed to commit to two dogs, or try and find this one a home. I put it on social media and within a few hours found it a home. They came and took him away. The kids cried and cried and cried. I’m not entirely sure all their tears were about the dog, but either way, the guilt that I had done this to them was enough to push me into a deep dark hole. They cried for the whole week. It was excruciating! But that is my point about decisions made in desperation. I had to find the dog a home – quickly – before they got even more attached to him. I didn’t vet the new owners properly. I didn’t do a home check before I let him go. This could all have been negated if I never took the dog in the first place, but that just wasn’t the right thing either!
The point of that whole long diversion is just that I do not like making decisions out of desperation. And I am at that point again with regards to me horse, but it’s more than that. Where will I go when I need solace and sanity? How will I stop myself from self-destructing? Who will I be? But I am running out of options. Fast.
People ask me what I’m passionate about. Horses. What do I like to do? Ride. What makes me happy? Horses. It’s always been: Horses.
And now, we have reached a point where horses don’t even make me happy anymore. I have to force myself to even go and see my horse. I jst get sad when I spend time with her, because I wonder what the point is. I can’t remember the last time I actually sat on her back. And I know, that I should be spending as much time with her as I can, while I still have her, but I can’t bring myself to do that. There is just no more joy in my life, nothing to look forward to.
And I know how it sounds to other people. They see you as a bad mother, because “you have your kids to live for?”. You are ungrateful, because you have it so much better than so many other people out there. I know all this. Cognitively. I KNOW. Reminding me of it really only serves to make me feel even more guilty for not being happy with what I do have. It does nothing to actually make me feel better.
This is a long post. I have a lot to say here. I hope you haven’t stopped reading, because this is the important part. These days, with social media, people are very quick to judge. In fact, I have a massive gripe with things we read (mostly posted by women, but men are guilty too) about cutting people off and making diagnoses that really ought to be left to the professionals. How many women do you read about who are being “abused” and ill-treated and have their exes branded as narcissists and abusers when really, we are only hearing the one side of the story. In fact, I got unnecessarily upset with a friend when she wanted to get mad at someone I was talking about because she was trying to be an understanding friend when I wanted an objective opinion (but it was unfair to expect it because she was only hearing my side of the situation!)
These days, everyone is telling everyone else that you “don’t need that kind of negativity in your life”. You should cut off the toxic people and you will be happier. While this is true, and people who truly do get abused should be encouraged to speak out, I refuse to believe that because some guy didn’t agree with you he is now a narcissist. Perhaps you are the narcissist and he was just reacting to you? Anyway. I am off topic again. It just irks me that everyone is a psychologist these days!
The point is, if we were to look at me objectively at this time, I would be the toxic person. And I don’t want to be cut off. I want to be helped! I want to learn to find the joy again. If my friend didn’t take me out on Friday night and listen to me rant, if my other friend didn’t come and just be with me on Saturday when my car fucked out and I was absolutely shit company, if yet another friend didn’t talk to me for an hour listening to me whine about how shit my life was, and if my friends didn’t come to spend Sunday afternoon with me, and if my friend didn’t encourage me to go to the beach after work when all I wanted to do was crawl up into a little ball and feel sorry for myself, then I wouldn’t be here to write this post tonight.
There are people with real psychological issues who are truly dangerous to be around. If you think you are involved with such a person, find professional help.
But if your friend is having a shit year or two, don’t give up on him or her. Feed her wine and tell her to lie on the lawn. Make her come to the beach and drag her running into the icy sea. Listen to her for hours on end even if there is nothing you can do for her and it makes you feel utterly helpless. Let her break a whiskey bottle against a wall to help her get rid of some frustration.
Do not give up on your friends. These little glimpses of joy are all that keep them going…