This post is part two of what grieving relationships look like. According to Robert Kavanaugh, the next grieving stage is Disorganization.
Summary from Part 1: I talked about anger and denial, particularly for putting myself in a position to be domestically abused or rather experience the beginnings of it. I gave my all to be a man that turned against me, with the mother in tow. I left when the arguments became daily, even over the smallest of things and when he put his hands on me. You can read more on that for this next part to make more sense.
Stage 2: Disorganization
I was a hot mess in 2021. LIKE A HOT GA DAMN MESS. I was that female, by herself, in a bar, at 3am, drinking quietly in a corner. Let’s get into it.
Before we proceed, I have very little recolletion of 2021, the year after the breakup. I was on autopilot doing a lot cringe things. Therefore, a lot of what I share was 2021. I’ll get to how my 2022 has been on a later post.
Barely holding it together.
I remember going home from a local at 9pm and falling apart in the middle of the road. I was lucky enough to be near my go-to liquor store and ducked under the counter to the other side. There I sat on crates and wept. I was in so much pain that my grief could not wait for the privacy of my room. I calmed down enough to call my bike guy to take me home. The guy behind the counter, we call him Maasai, was kind enough to let me finish crying and didn’t kick me out. We have a long relationship, and he understood I wouldn’t duck behind the counter if I weren’t in crisis.
The worse part about emotional pain is it turns into physical pain. Your chest hurts so bad, as though someone stabbed right through it and left the knife there. I drank a lot during that time and even sometimes this year. Konyagi was my drink of choice because I didn’t have a steady job then. And then I had alcohol poisoning. We are back to whiskey, ha!
There were days when I would walk to the main road at 3 am and hail a passing bike to take me to the local bar so I could drink for a few hours. The four walls of my room were swallowing me with self-loathing, pain, pity, and shame. I drank more than the average man, not even a woman. The pain of processing the damage done in those few months was immense, not to mention the prior traumatic experiences I was still processing.
Leaving the house at that time to go to the local bar alone is messed up and downright dangerous. I would call my boyfriend to send money if I didn’t have enough. How he didn’t leave me is beyond me. Any man would have walked away from that damaged shell of a human being I was.
There are pits, and then there is the bottom of the latrine. That’s where I was.
“It must be your fault.”
I kept wondering what I did wrong besides OBVIOUSLY choosing the wrong man. It hurts when you give your all to someone in whom people have no faith, thinking that things would be different for you. I had a soft spot for the soggy potato for a long time, thinking he was misunderstood. But behold! I was all over the place in pain and shame, and my emotions would change daily. I never knew what I would wake up feeling or do in the middle of the night when the numbing liquor ran out.
When I love, I love hard, so Disorganization was inevitable. My daily routine was thrown out the window and I didn’t know how to adjust to my new normal. My days were different, torn between staying in bed all week and going to the bar when I was done crying or random meet-ups with friends. The only solid thing was seeing my boyfriend every week towards the end of the year. Otherwise, anything went. It was like stumbling around in a fog and finding random disjointed activities to do.
“Get a back and a mop; that’s a whole ass mess!”
A friend I was in uni put it nicely, and I’ve shared the IG screenshot with her permission.
I have said for the longest time that women are not hospitals for broken men, and they should take their asses for therapy. It was until that character development that I said enough was enough. What I love about the man I am with is how he listens. Late late year, he/we went through something that even I couldn’t handle. As his girlfriend, I could not objectively play the counselor role. I sent him a number, had a session with the therapist, and he got clarity. After, we had couples counseling because we were on shaky ground.
A warning to women
It takes a humble man with a gentle spirit to admit he needs help and to get it. Women, watch your damn tone when talking to your man about therapy. WATCH YOUR DAMN TONE. I’ll come back and discuss this later with you, and I have a personal vendetta with women who tell their men they need therapy when they don’t go, either.
Just when you think you’re on the right path, the devil enters stage left
As recently as last month, I frequently thought about the soggy potato. I was like, “Why? I don’t want him back. I don’t care for him. He could continue being a soggy potato OVER THERE far from me for all I care.” It just wasn’t making sense.
My thinking is not always linear when it comes to my past. I am often triggered without realizing it. It could be a passing comment, a smell, or something, and just like that, my mood changes. His coming to my mind after this long was such a problem that I talked to several people to try and understand why I was thinking of this soggy potato after almost a year.
There is a back and forth in my mind about why I was thinking about this guy who gave me nothing but trauma and grief. My mind was all over the place, and I got the false idea that I wanted to get back at him. What, are you surprised that a woman scorned might think that way thanks to a few loose wires? He mostly came to mind in 2021, last year, but this year, for him to cross my mind in November with such intensity was off. The truth is, I wasn’t done grieving, and it came knocking at the most inconvenient time. I had strong feelings about the soggy potato because that is the most disrespect I have both experienced and taken, ever. I am still coming to terms with it.
I was screwed over. Now what?
I want to move on, so I am writing this series. It is called scorching the earth, and I do this very well with people who’ve taken advantage of my time, kindness, and naivety. I want to burn that bridge to ash so that when the family is given back the envelope, they’re relieved to be done with me.
Just a polite warning, I carry a tiki torch for lighting my path and burning foolishness to the ground. Yes, God will avenge me, but I am not leaving room for you to return to my life again. Yes, surprise my dear, I have a mouth and tongue on me specifically for people who test me.
Trying to recover
I have been all over the place for a long time, mentally, at least. My panic disorder did not start in that relationship, but it significantly worsened. I deteriorated, and now I must be on strong antianxiety medication to function or leave the house. I did not have severe anxiety before that relationship, just depression, and suicidal ideation. Anxiety affects your mind, and I am experiencing the effects now. Social settings and high human traffic were handled by a shot or two of something strong. Since I don’t intend to be an alcoholic, let’s go with what the doctor has to prescribe, yes?
I have had to defer a semester to care and nurture for my mind, soul, and emotions in general. I also don’t appreciate the pace at which the units are being done. I attend school to understand and gain knowledge beyond the classroom, not pass CATs and exams and do term papers. If I don’t understand something, I panic, my brain shuts down, and that’s that. And yes, I am redoing a couple of units because I am not showing up half-baked to a counseling room. After all, my focus was not on getting A’s but instead on intimately understanding the inner workings of the human mind.
I digress, but that is part of this grieving stage. There is a lack of concentration because, again, your thoughts are all over the place regarding the thoughts. You are also preoccupied with the past, what could have been, what wasn’t, and what could have been done. There is bound to be confusion with all these thoughts vying for your attention. Not to mention the triggering content I come across when doing the various units.
If you cannot understand what is going on with your mind, how can you truly learn about it and help others recover and cope?
Lost, confused, and scared
Everything I knew evaporated. Everything I thought I was ceased to be. Nothing made sense. Who was I? How did I get here? It didn’t and still doesn’t make sense sometimes. And when you’re blind, you’ll bump into many things and even set yourself on fire, trying to burn off the things that hurt you. In the process, you hurt yourself, and I have done that for the better part of last year. I had no social identity, just a wreck reaping the fruits of her choices.
But there is still hope.
Thanks for reading this far, see you in Part 3 for Volatile Reaction as a stage in grieving.