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  • Writer's pictureHayden Purcell


Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Disclaimer - The Content Of This Post May Be Considered Triggering/Inappropriate/Offensive

(Views and opinions expressed are solely those of my own, as an individual entity, and nobody else.)

Let's be frank. The past couple of years haven't been the best, for ANYBODY.

Humans are social creatures, despite what some of us may feel in terms of the value we put on our alone time, we still need the contact and connection of others for a sense of mental stability. Those with inherent negative outlooks, or a propensity for proclaimed 'realistic' pessimism, can be a real danger to themselves when left alone for extended periods of time.

This covid pandemic forced a lot of people into uncomfortable situations.


Be that isolated with family, your lover, or alone. We all still ended up having to face things about ourselves that otherwise would have continued to be swept under the rug.

I went into January 2020 with a steady, realistic life plan, I had a girl with whom we were making plans to live together, and I was working on putting my traumatic past behind me, and looking forward into a new career.

I came into January 2022 completely, and utterly, destroyed, and alone.

A screen grab I did messing about with the photo mode in Cyberpunk 2077

It's not just because my girlfriend left. Somewhere near the mid point of 2018, something in me just up and left; my passion for music.

I was in a band that I truly loved to be part of, because it gave me a sense of belonging, but I never told them what I was struggling with, until it was too late. They could tell I wasn't into it anymore, and after months of them trying to bring the subject up, I finally opened up and expressed I was struggling massively with my musicality and that it was really bringing me down.

Music is a part of my identity. The emotional connection in melody, rhythm, and lyrics, in that of which I consume and that I have written and performed over the years. It's been a catharsis for the depression and mental disorders that I tried so, so hard, to hide and ignore.

I left the band in late 2019, in time for me to start a new job, well, career, for the sense of stability of life and earnings. I think somewhere in the beginning of 2020 I decided within myself, that I had given up on my dreams and my ambition. The fire for music isn't there anymore, and I am incapable of creating. I can't sell myself as a sound designer because I have no self belief, and I can't sell myself as a musician because I have no formal training or extensive musical theory knowledge...I can't even read music.

So yeah, plenty of avenues there where I could improve, but it all comes back down to the distinct lack of self esteem that I recognise now, has probably only gone in one direction since puberty. Downwards. With distraction induced plateaus along the way.

I have realised now, that after 10 years of quickly hopping between relationships, that I have in fact been grieving, quite possibly, for my entire adult life. Except, I never moved past denial. I ran in place, and tried to focus on other things, and whenever self doubt crept in to tell me I was shit in the cover video I was making for youtube, I'd distract myself with a video game, watch a movie, go to work, and try again later when I'm no longer thinking about it.

I have never sat with my grief, and I have never allowed myself to "live with the shit" in order to properly process things. I've buried them, deep down, and then attributed and externalised those issues onto third party factors. Like a job turning bad, or a person treating me poorly, or a relationship turning sour. When actually, the only real problem was me, and my lack of self awareness.

This is about to become the most uncomfortable thing I have ever written. But, I have been encouraged in fits and starts over the past 10 years to write about my experiences. Even recently one of my best friends one evening, when consoling me over the breakup when it was fresh, suggested I write about my feelings, to hopefully not feel so alone.

I vetted one of my earlier blog posts "The Illusion of Connection" with an extremely valued friend (that I don't spend nearly enough time with), as I was hesitant that the content and the honesty may come across poorly, or potentially misguided, or that I might not be accurately getting my point across.

He was incredibly encouraging, and I posted it, but I never shared it. This website is like an 'internet safe space'. I have a diary full of insane incoherent scribblings, and then I have this, my logical, rational exploration of self, in an effort to survive. I haven't decided whether I will share this post or not, or if I'll even finish it.

Over the past 6 months, I have started to write, and then rewrite, and redraft this, so much, and kept putting it off and forgetting about it. Partly, because of my awareness that nobody will read it in its entirety, and if they do, won't know what to do with the information, or won't care, or all of the above. But I'm also worried I won't have enough detail...Or too much? Maybe that's just my pessimism speaking, and my negative spiral of self that sees no worth in sharing my story.

I am also, extremely concerned about how some of my thoughts and feelings will be perceived, in some elements, on an ethical and moral viewpoint, and also concerned that I will be misconstrued, and misunderstood, as I always feel I have been. Some people know more about this than others, a lot of people know some of the basics, but the small few I have shared with the reality of it all, I don't really feel like I've been heard. Possibly because they just don't know what to say.

I have found myself lately, surrounded by a lot of support. I've been quite brutally honest with people about some of my self destructive behaviours as of late, and my coping mechanism of humour kicks in to put a jovial spin on it all, but that's my cry for help, and testament to the people around me, they do respond to it, in a way that they know I'll receive it...In my own time. Thing is, and they all know this too, nobody can help me except myself. I think right now, I just feel like I've given up trying to help myself, and don't see the point anymore. I don't feel like I have any personal incentive for carrying on, other than an obligation.

Well, here goes...

When I was 18, on Wednesday 17th June 2009, I tried to commit suicide with a combination of pill overdose and alcohol. 9 months later, on Sunday 7th March 2010, I had an orthotopic heart transplant at a point where I was quite possibly, weeks away from death.

The more I look back on my life, the more I wonder if there is just a genuine chemical imbalance in my brain that fires off all the shit that makes me feel bad about myself. I don't remember too many things from early childhood, but I distinctly remember having temper tantrums about going into school that pissed my mum off to no end, and then periods of quiet reservation where all I did was watch cartoons in silence cuddling my favourite teddies. I have this very vivid memory one day, maybe around 6 or 7, laying on a sofa watching some kids show, and cuddling some teddies, and my dad comes in and asks "Are you ok?", I responded "Yeah.". But when I think about that memory, I can't help but speculate...Was something brewing?

By the time I was 15, I had suffered a lot of bullying at school. Inevitably, I found people to be a nasty shit to as well, because that's the natural order of the playground, until I grew up and realised that doesn't resolve anything. I was an ethnic minority kid, much smaller than average, with a darker skin tone, joining a secondary school right on the cusp of 9/11 and the subsequent "war on terror". Everything about my genetic makeup made me an easy target of circumstance for the alphas, and I steadily became helpless. 9 times out of 10, I wouldn't react. They would say their shit, they'd tease me, try and steal my shit, shout racial slurs as I walked through the corridors to my lessons, or across the playground at break times, and I tried my best to remain quiet.

There were times I would lash out, tried to punch people, tried to get my own back. Never did I succeed. But the biggest thing I never did...Was communicate.

I kept it all in. On the extremely rare occasions that I would report someone to a teacher, I never felt like anything was really done about it. Or that it wasn't treated with the right level of gravitas that it should have been, and truthfully, that's on me, maybe? is it? I didn't communicate just how bad it was. But the reaction to what I did talk about, only served to encourage the repression of the actions and words I fell victim to.

One of the worst things that happened, I never spoke up about, and I'm not even sure was witnessed by anyone; I was being consistently picked on by this one kid in particular in my Year 10 and 11 DT classes. I had double periods for 2 school years...I was begging the cosmos to be put into a different class or to have the double lesson split for year 11, but it ended up being the same class, with the same people.

So one time, when I'm using a shaper saw to cut a block of wood...This kid grabs my arm and tries to stick it into the blade. On the same day, after I somehow successfully cut the block, I put it on the belt sander, and he tried to shove my head into it. I turned around and pushed him back "What the fuck are you doing?" I said, to which he squares up to me as if I'M picking a fight?!

Now, I did have my friends, I found like minded people, almost all of whom I've grown apart from over the years (almost all, there are some gems that are still my go to in adulthood, even if I don't see them as often).

But there's this quote from an episode of 'Scrubs', that's stuck with me "Nothing sucks more than feeling all alone, no matter how many people are around." And that's just it. But it's on me. Because I never learned how to effectively communicate, or reach out...And I still don't reach out...Not really...I tend to hit a breaking point and blurt shit out erratically and then mask it with humour, because that's my coping mechanism of a safety net that checks in when I say something I think maybe I shouldn't have said. It's like "help me" immediately followed by "I'm only joking". But again...I am aware...Nobody can help me, other than myself. A commandment I live by that potentially prevents me from having real open and honest communication in a productive and conducive way.

I think that despite having a perceptively large friendship group, and getting to a point of socialising a lot (much to the inconvenience of my dad having to drive me to towns at least 20 minutes away from home), I just, didn't know how to communicate what I was thinking or feeling. I didn't understand it myself, and I didn't want to sound crazy, or pathetic, and I also just genuinely believed that nobody cared. Everybody around me had things that they were so invested in, and it's not through lack of opportunity, because my parents were incredibly supportive of anything and everything I wanted to try. I said I wanted to be an actor as a kid, so my dad got me headshots and acting classes, and then I changed my mind...I wanted to learn to play the piano, so he got me a music teacher, who I think I fobbed off in spite of enjoyment because the lesson times clashed with when Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Simpsons aired on BBC2. ...Helping myself from Day 1 team 👍

I have not had a lack of opportunity in youth to pursue my interests, I have had supportive parents, and I had a large friendship group and a good social environment growing up. But I still came out of it depressed.

I was always one to focus on what I didn't have, rather than what I did have. I never respected, or appreciated, that there were people around me that wanted to hang around with me, and invite me to stuff, instead, I would always hone in on the stuff that made me feel shit. Being single.

A lot of friends were experiencing the beginnings of their romantic endeavours. A girl I was ridiculously infatuated with in primary school found the person she is still with today at about 14 or so. Others were in and out, and others had the textbook school romance, that lasted until it was time to venture into adulthood. As for me, my first kiss was when I was 15 at a "piss up" that I'm not even sure I was really wanted at. I played spin the bottle...For one reason only; The girl I fancied at the time was in the circle. Fate decreed my spin land on her, and she shoved her tongue down my throat. I was almost in shock! My crushes chopped and changed a lot over the next few years in school. I'd pick someone, get infatuated, sometimes get creepy, sometimes get a communication going, mostly I'd get frustrated things weren't going my way and confess my feelings, to then get rejected immediately.

So I took to the internet, I spent a lot of time on MSN talking to my school friends, and wayyyyyyyyyy too much time on MySpace looking for new friends. There's a couple people from the MySpace days I'm still connected with on social media and talk to every now and then (you know who you are, you beautiful people). I did find a couple potential romantic endeavours on there too...One of whom I went on a "date" with (I was only 15)...To discover absolutely NO chemistry in person. But I still pursued it, because I'm pathetic, but she ghosted me immediately 😂

Now, through therapy, I recognise that I have a lot of autistic traits...One of which, is emotional overwhelming. As much as I really do not want to, and try not to, I give too much, and I fall too hard, too quick.

Having been rejected so quickly without barely a glance by so many at school, I gravitated to any girl who showed me attention, and confused attention for lust, and subsequently lust for love, and because I felt like I was seeing so many people have positive experiences, I quickly latched on, expecting the same outcome, completely neglecting and misreading the notion of platonic friendships.

So when they came crashing down, it hit me like a concrete skyscraper. World ending. That's just how my emotions work. At the time they felt so intense, and so brutal, and in adulthood and through therapy, I've realised that it is a reaction that is likely unstoppable due to my genetic make up, and just how my brain chemistry works. Overdrive, or not at all. Then through all the good and bad comes what seems like a light. We'll call her K. She added me on Facebook, and she started speaking to me. I was suspicious, I didn't know who she was, if she was real, she was a total randomer, and unlike any of the girls I normally went for. But we started speaking, and we seemed to get on, and the pattern kind of followed. I fell in love with her. But I didn't tell her. I was enjoying her company so much, even though I'd not met her at this point, that I didn't want to jeopardise it like all the others by confessing my affection too soon. So I kept it going...To my own detriment...Only to delay the inevitable... "You're like a brother to me"

I began to develop this intense self loathing for myself, I started to hate myself. I didn't understand anything about what I was thinking or feeling. I didn't understand why I was being bullied so much for looking the way I do. I connected the two together, and assumed myself to just be totally worthless. A seed that I planted within myself, that still exists today, but which instead has evolved into some form of nihilism.

Not only was it the cliché "why me?", but also, "what's wrong with me?", "why don't people like me?". People are happy to talk to me, and take my advice, and open up to me, but nobody is listening to me, nobody is allowing me to express how I'm feeling, and I genuinely feel like when I began to open up, people would back off. In hindsight, I realise I was likely just too intense, because I kept things inside for far too long and had no healthy way of communicating anything. To be honest, a lot of my truest feelings today still come out as manic outbursts, yet another reason as to the skepticism behind this post...Will it come across as rational, or just delving into the mind of a madman who may very well alienate his entire social circle, just like every romantic endeavour in my life. After my confession, K and I were very on and off in communication. It transpired that she was actually infatuated with one of my best friends, and our friendship between the 3 of us, actually caused a rift between he and I. One night, for his own reasons, my friend attempted suicide. This beautiful man called me after he'd tried to do it. I called an ambulance for him immediately, and my parents drove me to him really late one evening, and I stayed with him in A&E until he was cleared to go. That singular moment solidified our friendship forever, I'm sure he would agree. we don't hear from each other for months on end, but when we finally reconvene, it's just like it always was. He has his own darkness, like I have mine. He's married now, with 2 kids, and I am so proud of him.

I think K may have been using me to try and get closer to him, perhaps, I'm not sure...But I do know that she genuinely felt bad for how she treated me once she had come to her senses. The issue was, every time we reconnected and started messaging again, my feelings would come back once they started to subside, and I couldn't deal with it.

This was very on and off for quite some time, and then, my grandmother on my mothers side got breast cancer. It wasn't looking too good. So my parents had to leave the country to be with her, understandably. I had to stay home and work, or maybe they didn't want me to see her that way. But she passed away in June 2009. I was never close with her. I hadn't seen that side of the family since 2002 when I was 12. But it was family, and I was totally disassociated from the whole thing. My mum was losing her mum, and I was here doing the daily grind, crying over a girl. Yet when I spoke to my parents on the phone about it as she was getting worse, I just didn't know what to say. I was at a point in my adolescence where I was the advice giver. People would tell me their problems, and I'd offer my perspective on it. I'd try to help my friends fix their relationships, confess to their crushes, talk to their parents about their issues. All whilst ignoring all of this advice, that I should have also been giving to myself. Yet to my own family, I could give nothing.

I felt so helpless. I felt unloved. I was in the house alone, working a job where at the time I didn't have any particularly meaningful connections with anyone. The girl I loved had completely severed ties with me, and I couldn't do anything to help my parents or my grandmother. My friends were beginning to feel a bit distanced, I had nobody I felt I could talk to, and when I started to, I felt fobbed off or misunderstood. But I can't expect licensed therapy from teenagers, especially when I'm as manically depressed as I was at that point. Loneliness, rejection, isolation, and low self esteem all caught up with me. Combined with a lack of self awareness that made my own emotions unbearable.

I had been intermittently self harming since 16. Slicing my arm with a knife underneath where my watch was, just to feel some sense of physicality to the pain I was feeling inside. The emotions were so overwhelming, but they didn't seem tangible, so I cut myself so I could feel like that's what was hurting, and it became an addiction. I would slice gently by my wrists sometimes as some form of practice to go deeper, on the expectation my pain tolerance would improve...Because I generally, am a little bitch when it comes to pain thresholds...I never cut that deep...Just enough to sting and bleed. So this Wednesday 17th June 2009, I decided, I had enough. I wrote my note, and I left the house. I went to 5 different shops, and bought 2 boxes of Paracetamol from each one. I went to Tescos, and bought a box of beer. I came home, and swallowed a box. My lack of intelligence didn't realise at the time, this is not an instant death. The fact I didn't feel anything immediately, made me feel like a failure already.

I had band practice scheduled, on which I would pick up our drummer from a nearby village. So I drove, picked him up, we played for a bit, and I began to feel sick and light headed. I left the room, sat on the floor for a bit crying and feeling weak, and decided I needed to finish what I started. I told my friends I wasn't feeling too good and if we could cut it short. So I drove my friend home, and don't remember if I spoke to him or not on the drive. I was either weirdly quiet, or I made simple conversation pertinent to the aspect of 'performance' I do on the day to day.

I came home. I put on the album 'Hot Fuss' by The Killers, and I drank and swallowed as many pills as I could, left my note next to me, then tried to sleep on account of the inevitable drowsiness.

I felt myself starting to fade, in floods of tears, as 'All These Things That I've Done' came on.

Then I fell asleep.

I opened my eyes sometime later and felt like shit. I started to panic, thinking maybe I hadn't taken enough. I did not spare a single thought for what my parents might come home to. I was spaced out, in silence and darkness, and started to feel nauseous. I ran to the toilet and threw up, and felt like I was throwing up for at least half an hour. Anything and everything came up. I was a mess. Crying, screaming, weak, angry.

I climbed back into bed, only to need to get back up again to vomit, except nothing came up.

Once the feeling began to subside, I grabbed a bottle of water. I took a big gulp, and it came back up violently, as pure water, immediately, as if my body was rejecting anything I put into it. My throat was sore, I was mildly catatonic, and I just wanted everything to end.

To this day; I wish I had succeeded.

I woke up the next day feeling like I had the hangover of the millenium. I called in sick to work, and saw some of my friends had messaged that they were going to the cinema. I said I wasn't feeling great and had called in sick, but would like to go. I met up with my friends and watched the Nic Cage movie 'Knowing' at the cinema with them, as if nothing had happened. I failed. I made myself sick, and I failed.

So I carried on as normal. I went to work. I socialised. I did band practice. I picked my parents up from the airport after they'd sorted the family affairs and had my grandmothers funeral. I never spoke of this to anyone until November 2009, when a girl I thought I had a chance with, broke it off with me and told me I needed to talk to my parents about my depression. That I needed help, and that I had things to work through, because she'd been through shit herself. She never spoke to me again. Well, she checked up on me when I was later in hospital but that was that, and my parents blamed her for the aggressive tendencies that came out of me from the first round of anti-depressants I had. But I guess I never realised until now, she was the gateway to recognising the value of speaking out.

Then, in December 2009, at 19, I began to get sick. I wasn't feeling quite 100% myself. One day at work, all of a sudden I got very lightheaded, out of breath, and nauseous. I sat down for a few minutes to catch my breath, and then carried on with the work day. Over the next few days, I began to have what I thought was a chest infection. I had one the year before when I had just turned 18...Which was the first time I'd been to the doctor roughly since I was 8, when they thought I had asthma, but may have also been a chest infection. I said to my doctor the symptoms felt the same when I saw him...He did a couple tests, and then said he wanted to send me for an X-Ray the same day, just to check everything's ok. This doctor came to our house, I detailed part of this story in my post about expectations which covers the admission experience. But he said there was fluid retention on the heart, and possibly the lungs, and that I need to go to the nearest specialist cardiology department. They poked, prodded, and drugged, to try and get my body to filter out the excess fluid that was swelling on my heart. After one night in an open ward, a paramedic had clearly drawn the short straw, and came to my bed as a stranger. Introduced himself, knelt down by my bed, and said... "So, as you know, you had some tests yesterday and basically they've found some fluid retention on your heart and lungs which is causing your heart to swell which is why you're feeling bad. Myself and my colleague are going to take you now to Harefield Hospital which is the number one in the country for specialist heart problems, where you're going to be assessed for a potential transplant". To be honest. I didn't know what to say. I just nodded, and said "OK".

I remember being pretty calm, right up until I got to Harefield, but remember not speaking much. Until one of the nurses came in to start admission papers, where I burst out crying uncontrollably.

To cut an even longer story within a long story short, I became a national priority for a transplant. Most transplants are lists within hospitals. Organs get offered when they become available based on matching and location. A priority list is national, meaning any heart that becomes available within the country, is offered at the first point of call to me, whether it's appropriate or not, and then the doctors assess it to see if it fits. My entire time in hospital I was so conflicted. I was open, honest, and upfront about my attempted suicide earlier in the year, and about how depressed I was feeling. They sent me a psychiatrist to talk to, with whom when I spoke said that I seemed very insightful about a lot of my issues. But I did not feel comfortable talking to them, because it felt mandated. I'd never really communicated my issues before, and I didn't want someone to tell me I was crazy and maybe lock me up in an asylum for my thoughts. I just didn't know how to talk about things, and I remember getting really frustrated when I had to recount my suicide attempt 6 times to 6 different people, and the poor 6th person got the brunt of my lash out saying "isn't this on my file, I've already said this so many times!" They had said that depression and suicidal tendencies can put you lower on the list, to which my response was "ok". As if saying that is going to make me go 'Oh ok, I want to live, hallelujah, I'm cured!'. I can't help but speculate they put me on a list in spite of all I'd said, because I was young, preservation of life and hippocratic oath. Friends came to visit me in hospital, people were messaging me asking how I was doing. My parents had brought my laptop in and helped me pay for internet access so I wasn't trapped in the hospital room the entire time, as they recognised I spent a lot of time online talking to friends. I still wasn't very open though...I didn't really understand what I was thinking myself, and couldn't communicate before, let alone now.

K came back into my life, having seen on facebook what I was going through, and we started speaking a little again. I confided in her a little, and I remember it just made me feel sad.

Eventually, because of the way the surgery works, once they get wind of a potential organ match, they start prepping you for surgery. You could be all the way in theater and anaesthetised before they discover the organ isn't a match. I had 3 false alarms. Thankfully, I was told it wasn't going ahead whilst still in my room. But still, 3 times in the middle of the night, someone would come into my room, wake me up, and say "We need to get you ready, we have a potential organ". It's a very stressful experience. Trying to mentally prepare yourself for the notion that a piece of your body is going to be ripped out of you and replaced, when maybe, you don't even want it. I remember speaking to my brother one evening, after the 3rd false alarm. I had expressed to him that I felt like maybe it wasn't happening because I needed to decide if I wanted to live or die first. He said "it's obvious, you want to live, otherwise you wouldn't be asking". I appreciate the logic, but I'm not so sure. For me, personally, at no point, did I ever feel like I had a choice in this. The cause was never discovered, but I have long speculated that my suicide attempt may have had a hand in the heart failure. It's also possible that I had an underlying birth defect that was never discovered. Apparently I was born barely breathing. Potential asthma at 8 years old, and chest infection at 18...Then drug overdose and alcohol abuse to follow. I think, if someone had actually sat down and asked me "Do you want a transplant, do you want your life to be saved, do you want to continue?" Genuinely. I would have declined. Give it to someone who deserves it. And this is the survivors guilt I have lived with ever since. Having it, in spite of not being given the choice, after wanting so badly for my life to end. To be saved against my will, and therefore be forced to find purpose in the purposelessness. An obligation, to stay alive, for the moral and emotional benefit of everyone but myself.

I have discovered in therapy recently, that in using distraction as a default coping mechanism, I have never dealt with any of my grief. 12 years on, and I recognise now, I am stuck in the denial phase of grief, flitting between anger and back. Once I got my first girlfriend at 20, I hopped very quickly between relationships, because I had a taste of what I had always wanted throughout my adolescence. I was mortified when she dumped me, but I recognised in time, we actually didn't really have that much in common at all, and I just got lucky.

I've detailed a couple other relationship breakdowns in other posts, but generally, I've come to learn that I never dealt with the emotional gravity that came with my survivors guilt, and the realisation that I never wanted my life to be saved. That I should have, and wanted to, die at 19. Now I'm 31, and feel trapped in my existence. Desperately clinging on day to day. And I don't think anybody understands how exhausting it is physically and mentally, to utilise logic and rationale to enjoy experiences, rather than just, you know, enjoy them.

I used to think in my youth that love was the answer to my problems. I thought if I had someone to love, who loved me, that would fix everything. But I had that, and it didn't, and in spite of what anyone and everyone says (including my therapist), I do feel like I came genuinely close to what I wanted, only for it to crash and burn.

I feel like I am pretending a lot of the time. Putting on an act, I think in autistic terms, it's referred to as 'masking'. Hiding how you really feel, and putting on a pretense of wellness, for the sense of being socially functionable. I am present in my social interactions, I will admit, that I have fun with my friends, and have good times with them. But I have had to learn how to do that. It takes for me, a conscious effort, to be present in a social atmosphere, and set my personal issues aside, and it makes me feel like I am putting on a performance. That I am always pretending to be fun and jovial, when deep down, I'm not.

It's really nice when my regular customers hug me, buy me christmas gifts, tell me I'm the reason my shop is getting busier, and to be told by one lovely man "You've got the perfect personality for this place". But they'll never understand, and they'll never know, that I feel like I'm acting.

I used to blame a lot of my trauma on my exes, because with the exception of my first and most recent girlfriends, I've always sunk down to treating them like the villain, and blaming them for the relationships end. Coming away from the breakup feeling on top and that I can do better. My last relationship felt healthy. It wasn't perfect, no relationship is, and if she reads this, which she probably won't, it's going to hurt her when I say that I've come to the realisation that I did love her, but I don't think I was in love with her. She gave me what I wanted when I was a kid, she gave me the attention, she gave me the affection, and the compassion, and I think, I took it for granted. She knew that, and I denied it. Again to go back to quoting JD in 'Scrubs'; "I think that the problem with most people who want what they can't have is that, when they actually get the thing they covet, they don't want it anymore." There was a girl before my ex, who we'll refer to as A, she overlapped with my ex, but when we started my ex and I agreed we were essentially each others rebound. But it grew into a relationship that lasted nearly 4 years. I think it worked because I wasn't head over heels. I was able to appreciate her and love her company without being fucking insane about it like everybody else I'd had over the years. It was a relationship I was calm in. But with that calm came complacency, and that's where she started to see issue. I felt comfortable in what we were, but because she was quite a bit younger than me, she still had a lot of self discovery to go through, which I was inadvertently hampering, by being a grumpy old man, happy to work and exist, because that's all I see life as being. Existing.

Lately, in my newly found self reflection of singlehood, where for the first time, I am blaming myself for the end of a relationship. I am realising some hard truths that I am very much struggling to overcome.

I never came to terms with the fact I tried to kill myself. I never came to terms with the fact I failed. I never came to terms with the fact I had a heart transplant.

I never came to terms with the fact I was never given a choice.

I never came to terms with the fact that I decided later, I didn't actually want it.

I never accepted that in spite of all of this...I am still here.

And I feel like a lot of my mentality has gone back to adolescence. My therapist thinks I missed out a chunk of growing up, both in being a late bloomer romantically and sexually, but also in that my friends were free and able to smoke weed, get pissed, and try new things, whilst I needed to take medication at regimented times so a piece of my body doesn't attack itself and kill me off...Even though...That's what I would have wanted? But I can't, because, it's there...So I have to look after it? I became very distanced from my social group after transplant. I felt very much so that I had to live a different way, and felt overly cautious of a lot of things, and I don't think anybody really respected that. I also don't remember anyone in that old social group ever actually asking me how I was after the operation and coming home. I'd spent so much of my youth playing agony aunt, and I go through this massive trauma, and nobody took a minute to ask if I was ok. While all of the above was going through my head, and maybe this is the crux of why I don't reach out. A deep rooted belief that people are inherently selfish, and nobody cares. So I've coasted along, day to day, year to year, distraction to distraction, just trying to survive and be "normal". I've thrown away my ambitions, and I have no dreams. I didn't capitalise on any of my opportunities to their fullest extent due to a lack of self belief, low self esteem, and a simple truth I hold...

I do not want to be alive. But I can't kill myself.

This, is the single thing, that drives everybody away. It's ultimately the core reason as to why my ex left me, and why all previous relationships before that failed.

I wanted to die in 2009, that's why I tried, but the NHS saved my life, because that's what they do. I will never, ever, discredit the NHS for that. They worked quickly with me, someone who was deteriorating quickly, they did everything they could to save a life, and they did it. Where I am now is on me, and me alone, and my thoughts, my behaviours, my actions, or lack thereof.

And so, I also realise, that I never got over A as well. She was the crux of my relationship with my ex for so long. Even coming up in conversation as recently as 2 months before our breakup. I truly did, grow to a point with my ex where I could see us going the distance, because of how healthy the relationship felt in function. But upon its demise, I realise that maybe, it was another distraction from another trauma that I refused to confront.

My therapist, and my friends who were there for me at the time think it's pure infatuation, but I truly believed I loved A. More so than K, in that there was a back and forth...There seemed to be this inexplicable synchronicity between us in thoughts and feelings, that I'd never experienced before, and have never experienced since. When I started dating my ex, I just pushed it to the back of my mind. Unfortunately, that's where it stayed, and now, everything I haven't dealt with in over 10 years is all boiling to the surface and it is becoming unbearable.

I feel incapable of having a healthy, loving relationship. I feel like my emotions inside are far too intense for anyone to deal with, and I feel like nobody is ever going to understand that as much as I want to kill myself, I'm not going to do it, even if that makes me miserable, I carry on, because of survivors guilt and obligation. Also because I think I'll probably just fail again, and knowing my luck I'll just disable myself and make my life even harder or even worse if I try it again. As I'm being honest, I did make a plan mid 2021 which I intended to execute. Wrote a note and everything. But I couldn't do it. Also got so angry, frustrated and drunk on several evenings at home, that I held a knife to my neck and wanted so badly to just push it in and slice. But I couldn't do it.

Something is keeping me here. Whether that is the obligation, or the survivors guilt, or the fear of failure, or all of it. One thing I know, is none of those are really reasons to live, and I just want one, and since I was a teenager, I've long thought that reason was love, but I can't really love anyone if I don't love myself, and that's never going to happen. And I can't expect anybody to ever take on or comprehend this level of intensity that's going on in my head. After all this, massive long fucking essay, it's still just an honesty dump, and I still feel like I'm only touching the surface.

I hate that I do this.

I hate how I am the way that I am.

I try so hard not to, but I can't fight my nature.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, only it's not mine anymore.

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