Mental illness, even in a mild(er) form like self-esteem, is never fully beaten. I discovered that this week on the last day of my holiday with my girlfriend. We had a really good time, spent some much needed time together and hopefully paved the way for further development. Yet the final few days, I had a creeping feeling that all was not right – and I had no basis for believing it.
She became increasingly distant during the course of our last day and she had been a little irritable the day before that. She was distracted and less chirpy than she had been just a few days before. That morning when we woke up, lying in bed and just talking and getting ready to face the day I told her that she makes me very happy to which she replied “I’m happy too”. Not “You make me happy” but “I am happy”. She is not open with her feelings and her distanced approach on that final day made my paranoia chip go into overdrive.
- “When we get back, she’ll probably break it off.”
- “I don’t make her happy”
- “She thinks our sex life is a bit rubbish”
- “She hasn’t enjoyed herself this week”
- “Things I have said or done has irritated her.”
- “She wonders if I am worth the effort of 200 miles”
When we parted at the train station, she apologised for being distant and grumpy but did not offer an explanation. We speak every day on the phone, skype and by email. She has not said “we need to talk” or anything like that so I can only assume that her distance and grumpiness was for some other reason – perhaps it is simply getting harder to part. She did tell me that she’s going to miss me until we see each other again and this week she has been keen to schedule another meeting soon.
It has made me realise that no matter how good I might be feeling, how relaxed, happy and on top of the world I might be, even for months at a time, those dark thoughts are still lurking beneath the surface. When I got back home, I went through some of the old tests that I used to use from the self-help book. It put my mind at rest to once again rationalise it.
It’s also made me realise how important it is to do Mindfulness exercises. I recently finished my course and I’ll be summarising that very soon.