Love Is Not Enough

Isn't it funny how  we rarely appreciate people to their faces while they are alive? Yet, there we are at their funeral, remembering all the memories and telling the stories and talking about how much we'll miss them.

I try to remind myself to say things to people before they die. Of course, if you know they are dying, it's easier. I was out on the coast recently visiting my aunt who will be dead in two weeks to maybe a few months. Of course, with these things, it could be longer, but she's stopped chemo.

She's my closest relative. That is, the one I feel closest to, emotionally. I was there to say goodbye and to thank her for supporting me over a time when I was in bad trouble. She was the only one in my family who knew everything, and possibly the only one who could understand. We share a mental illness. We both know what it's like to inhabit brains that think as ours do.

Other than that, it's hard, I think, to remember to appreciate people. It can sound forced and awkward. 

Loneliness brings that out. For me, it's an existential loneliness brought about by a loss of connection to everyone. It's a kind of no one really appreciates me thing. Except it's worse, because I don't let anyone appreciate me, and even if they do, I can't see it. 

With a lot of therapy, I think I'm learning to see that I am loved and that I do have talent and I do help people -- all methods I use to try to connect to people. Of course, my mood seems to trump it all. When I'm depressed, the hole in my stomach is there. When I'm ok, I can feel the love.

I reach out desperately when I'm depressed, in hopes that people will love me (which meant fall in love with me). It never worked. Sure, it gave me a high for a week or so, and then it would always crash down into nothingness again.

Some people can use music to help them feel better when they feel alone. Music can give you release, when your emotions follow the music. I make music, so I can do that for myself, but I don't think it works as well as listening does. 

Some people write or run or make art or drink or take drugs.  Lots of ways to try to cope with that feeling of separation from everyone and everything; some healthier than others.  

But what I've learned ... what I think I've learned is that connection isn't something someone else can give you.  I was hoping, each time I fell in love, that that person would fix me.  That they would somehow reach in to the emptiness in my torso -- an emptiness that felt as big as the universe -- and fill it up with their love.  It never worked that way.

Yes, their love and appreciation helped.  It showed me I was lovable and I did things that people valued.  It showed me they wanted me to be alive.  But it didn't go that last step -- the step I had to take for myself.  The step of letting that be enough.

wundayatta wundayatta
56-60, M
1 Response May 12, 2010

I like that: "rescue me syndrome." Yeah, you'd have thought that I would have gotten this one decades ago. It's so new to me, though, that I don't trust it will last. It's not as if people hadn't been telling me for all those decades that what I sought could only be found inside me. It's just that I had never found it there, and I had still managed to get people to love me. It was my expectation and my fantasy and my personal myth that there was a magical person out there who I would find, and we would be totally equally matched in every way, and, oh, I don't know, we'd merge and spontaneously combust but it wouldn't matter because we'd be home with each other, at last.<br />
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It's a process that may last a while or not so long. I doubt that you can rush it. I think it helps to know others have found some measure of ok-ness. I hope mine lasts, but I'm skeptical. Depression is a formidable foe. <br />
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I think that one way to embrace the bad that has happened (since you can't make it unhappen) is to look for what it taught you. So that is always available to you. You might be too upset or angry to try that, but at some point you may be ready to see what you've learned, and try to claim at least something from what is otherwise a negative experience.<br />
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Ok, so you see the truth in the statement that the only person that can help you is yourself. I'm being serious here. Would you try to explain that to me? I have arrived there only because I was backed into a corner. I still think it should or could be otherwise. I know I have gained a lot from the love and appreciation of many others in the past few years. Perhaps it has actually made up for all those years of self-doubt. <br />
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I needed support from others in order to start to feel the truth of it inside me. I think I have to do more work. Depending on positive feedback is uncertain. Believing in myself can be certain. <br />
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What's your take?