“I’m so overwhelmed by everything right now!”
“Oh, okay. What exactly is causing you distress?”.
“Everything! Nothing?! All of it, I think? Life. My existence. People. Things. Having to get up in the morning and do stuff!”
“Oh, alright then. Makes perfect sense. NOT.”
This could be me talking to basically anyone I know, me obviously being the ridiculously overwhelmed person that doesn’t even know why everything is too much to handle.
I was so amazed that 2019 ended on a happy-ish note for me, with me managing to not slide into a sad phase during December, like I usually do around that time.
And then the new decade started − so far so good! I was fine, enjoying my few days off and feeling ready (you know, in terms of energy levels) to start work again the next week. And then Monday happened and I was instantly miserable, so much so that I barely made it through the day and consequently the rest of the week. Despite my best efforts, the first thing that went out the window was my social life, as always when I’m feeling overwhelmed. This was mostly due to the insane amount of sleep I needed to even be able to get out of bed in the morning and drag myself to the office.
The resulting lack of social activities and/or interactions (apart from those with my co-workers) made me feel cut off from “everyone else” and therefore lonely.
My phone addiction was through the roof and I actually had to force a certain amount of phone-free time on myself throughout the day in order to get anything done − digital detox, baby! And what a detox it was 😵: it’s amazing how difficult it is to not instinctively reach for the phone as soon as idle time presents itself and to just be instead. Even after going cold turkey and barely using my phone for a few days, it doesn’t need much to make me bounce right back to being glued to my phone.
What contributed to this terrible phone addiction, once again (surprise, surprise!), was one of those terrible* dating apps that make you swipe like a crazy person, because maybe the next profile will belong to your soulmate?!
[Spoiler alert: it most probably won’t 😬.]
IT’S A MATCH!
…which will result in ghosting from either (or both) side(s) because dating apps are the perfect and, most importantly, an unbinding (!!) tool to keep everyone at arm’s length without having to commit to ANYTHING, not even answering texts or showing up to a planned meet-up, and all this in complete disregard of the fact that on the other end of the app there’s a human being with feelings and dreams and fears, and all of this is sooooo great because if you are in fact acting like a complete douchebag then you can just blame it on a) the app (because helloooo, it’s common knowledge that only douchebags use dating apps!) or b) the other person, because wouldn’t it be INSANE to be blamed and/or held accountable for acting like a douchebag on an app (even though you’re totally acting like one), despite the fact that there weren’t supposed to be any expectations because of a)!
B*tch must be crazy.
Well, wouldn’t that be a nice addition to the oh so cheery “it’s a match” screen that pops up as soon as two people have liked each other. Bit long maybe 🤷♀️.
Anyway, I think I have now established (apologies for the irony!) that dating apps don’t serve my mental health and that I should probably spend my time more wisely than by swiping relentlessly.
This sure is easier said than done. Once loneliness hits, I’m probably making much less sense than when I’m feeling content by myself and with the number of social interactions that I’m taking part in during that particular time of my life.
So once again, after only a week and a half, I stopped swiping for the sake of my well-being. Let’s see how long I’ll last this time, shall we**?
The thing is, using dating apps or not − I’d really like to meet a somewhat like-minded (as far as core values go), self-aware and empathic, honest and understanding person with whom I’d get a fair shot at working on this whole relationship thing, someone who can be my safe space but also encourages me to stretch my comfort zone, someone who can accept me for exactly who I am, flaws included, and who doesn’t constantly expect me to finally become “better”***. I’ve been working on myself a lot and in general, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m quite alright with being by myself. It’s a fact, however, that you can only work on attachment and relationships when you’re actually in such a situation. Who knows, maybe relationships really aren’t meant for me, which would be fine − I still wouldn’t want to dismiss the possibility of being in a relationship without actually having been in a relationship that wasn’t doomed from the very start because of various factors (different viewpoints or plans for the future or incompatible attachment styles, a manipulative or very non-self-aware partner, and so on).
I recently told a friend that I’m somewhat exhausted and that I need to be just me for a second, without trying to analyse how I could be better, what I still need to work on and what else I could possibly do to have better relationships (in general), get what I want in life / at work and act according to my own needs without putting everyone else’s needs first. I guess it’s somewhat admirable to almost always be willing to work on oneself despite all the obstacles one may encounter when doing so and despite the fact that changing learned behaviour is so darn exhausting and uncomfortable. The latter is the reason why I sometimes need someone else to take charge (an “adultier” adult or a more assertive person for instance) and just let me be. Someone who knows me and lets me rest so I can work on being a better version of me again the next day, someone who doesn’t get offended when I get overwhelmed and need to take a minute to process and recharge. Someone who knows that my energy isn’t always the same and that on some days I can’t deal with things that wouldn’t be an issue the coming day (or the day after that one). Someone who gets it, so I won’t have to explain myself over and over.
I’m aware that for someone to get me, I need to open up to them first, which can also be incredibly hard since there are no guarantees − who knows whether the effort will even be worth it?!
All I seem to be asking myself whenever I get to know someone new is where is the line? When am I actually chickening out because I get scared and when is it indeed right to walk away? How can I detect and confront my own BS, and which are actually red flags and which am I creating in my head?
As I’m typing this, I’m realising that these questions can easily be extended to many other aspects of my life, as it’s sometimes easier / more convenient to be avoidant and to therefore create a scenario in my head that justifies my walking away from something (or someone).
Do you also sometimes struggle with knowing when to power through / re-evaluate and when to walk away? Do you have a clear vision of where the line is? Do you manage to not lose sight of the line when your emotions take over?
* They really are terrible, but I somehow keep doing this to myself again and again. So, there’s really only one person to blame for that: ME!
** My last dating app break lasted for about a month and I genuinely thought I’d be able to handle it better this time around.
*** I’m actually looking for a unicorn again, aren’t I…?