Depression and February

Dar Williams channels Joan Baez so beautifully. If you are unfamiliar with the “Many Great Companions” album, I highly recommend giving it a listen.

February is and always has been my worst month. February with my Narcissist was particularly horrible since it was his birthday month.

Every year I tried to just get through it without any major incidents. The fact that my needs really meant nothing to him didn’t even surprise me. As usual, I understood. I empathized. I excused my needs being unworthy of attention. It was his birthday, so of course, the whole month should revolve around him. Of course, Valentine’s Day wasn’t very important. Of course any desire I might have to just lie down, be quiet, hibernate, should be put on hold.

I see how I am now, this year, and I wonder how I survived. I’m a mess right now. All I want is to sleep, watch Downton Abbey, read books, cuddle with my cats, stay in my cozy pajamas until they need to be washed and then put on a different pair of cozy pajamas.

I am filled with gratitude that my time is my own again and I can do as much of this as I please. Going to work is a little hard, I admit, and part of my current bout of depression has to do with some things going on there, but for the most part I’m ridiculously appreciative that I’m allowed to take care of myself this February.

I can wallow and listen to Dar Williams and eat shitty for me food because I just don’t have the energy to prepare anything for myself.

This really was his favorite time of year. He wanted to go out and do things constantly. He didn’t understand the natural rhythms of the seasons, or if he did, he rebelled against them.

To him, February and March weren’t meant for hygge. This time of year was for going out and exploring. Checking out happy hours and enjoying weekend getaways. Being bright and lively and… all the things that winter doesn’t represent at all for me.

To me, those are the things that summer and early fall represent. Being out in the sunshine. Enjoying the nice weather and long days of fun. Exploring new places for outdoor happy hours. Weekend getaways to the coast or the mountains. All the things that he never wanted to do in the summer.

To him, summer was for sitting in the basement playing video games, hiding from the sunlight and the heat.

These alone are personality differences, not examples of Narcissism. These things alone would have made us incompatible, but would not identify our relationship as an abusive one.

What made our relationship an abusive one is the fact that I didn’t matter.

Thus, every winter, I was made to go out and do the things he wanted to do. And every summer, I was stuck at home because he didn’t want to do anything. Plus, there were rules around how much money I was allowed to spend, how many times a week I saw friends, how late I stayed out, and so on and so forth. Those are the things that made our relationship abusive. Not that we were different; that he was controlling, manipulative, and unfeeling.

But now, I’m not with him. I keep doing this thing, at every season and at every big event, where my emotions stay in past situations and I struggle to enjoy where I am right now. I’m trying to break free of it. I am not here and now, though. I am stuck with his voice in my head and his face close to mine, as he tells me how disgusted with me he is.

It happens constantly. Today I noticed it when I got off the elevator in my office building lobby after work. A woman walking on my left wanted to go straight and I wanted to turn to the left. I hadn’t seen her there until I turned my body. We both stopped, and we both chuckled, and she kept moving. It wasn’t something I would have given a second thought to before my relationship, but after years of him reprimanding me for being ‘unaware’ and scoffing at me whenever anything like that happened, saying things like, “I can’t take you anywhere,” and looking at me with disdain, I choked up. I had a split second when I chuckled and kept walking, and then I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t breathe because I remembered how pathetic I am. How disgusting and awkward and stupid I am. Because he’s still in my head, telling me so, and I can’t get him out, which means I’m weak and dumb and not in control of myself.

BUT HE’S NOT HERE, I tell myself. Repeatedly. I am at home now. At my home. He has never been in this physical space and he never will be. I probably will never see him again. And yet I still live with him. He’s always here. I can’t get rid of him.

And now it’s February. February sucks anyway, but I’m not only living this February, I’m living each February of the past few years all over again. I’m not appreciating where I am here and now because even though we broke up a year and a half ago and it’s been almost a year since I got him out of my life for good, I’m still in a relationship with him.

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