I have experienced the Post Valentine’s Day Blues for eleven years now, and it seems to get worse the older I get.
The Post Valentine’s Day Blues are intense negative feelings I experience right after Valentine’s Day. Everything I’ve built up and tried to suppress involving my battle with loneliness and feeling unloved always comes out the day after February 14th. I have the most and worst thought spirals for one to two weeks. I’m never fully present for conversations and can never seem to remember what happens in the time I’ve mentally checked out.
It’s not depression, which is what everyone thinks.
It’s anxiety, specifically of the attachment kind (which I’ve talked about before).
It’s fear of not finding someone to love me the way I’ve always wanted, the way I feel like I deserve. I’m not talking about romantic love (though we all know that would be nice).
I just want to be shown that someone truly loves me and cares about me and believes in me.
Saying it is not enough for me; I have to see and experience it.
The panic attacks are even worse this year. The constant tears are astronomical this go around. I don’t know if it’s because I live alone, which allows for more thoughts and self-doubt. I don’t know if it’s because I am consistently surrounded by people who make me feel temporary, like I’m a convenience, like they couldn’t care less if I stayed or disappeared.
Normally, it takes a few days before I experience the big shut down. However, this year the big shut down happened on February 15th. It started with simple tears as the feelings of absolute worthlessness set in and ended with me struggling to breathe on the bathroom floor for ten minutes & eighteen seconds while feeling lightheaded.
After sitting for a while to digest the massive shut down that melted away the rest of the previous night‘s makeup, I realized there’s a specific kind of friend that I need and don’t have around me (not in a 20-minute radius):
I want someone who will show up when I send a text like “I’m shutting down” or “I’m hyperventilating in the bathroom;” I need someone who will wrap me in their arms and remind me of how great I am when I can’t hear my own voice. I need someone who will listen and not wait for me to finish speaking so they can talk about themselves and completely change the subject. I want someone I can easily talk to, without being interrupted or talked over (I have that, just not within twenty minutes of my home). It would be nice to have a friend nearby who makes time for me and the betterment of our relationship, who drops everything to show up and provide a comfortable shoulder for me to cry on. I want someone who spontaneously shows up at my front door to take me out to dinner or go see a movie or do anything that gets me out of my house, out of the dark bubble that is my brain. I want someone who volunteers to help when I say I have to do something, like take down my hair. I want someone who promises forever, even though we silently agree nothing lasts forever.
When I think about it, I want someone who is there for me the way I think I’m there for everyone else, and maybe that’s wrong of me to think. Maybe I’m not there for them in an extraordinary way like I believe I am.
Either way, the specific kind of friend I realized I needed is simply a figment of my imagination. Last week got really dark in my head, and I powered through, especially at work, by simply imagining the friend that I desire was constantly helping me rescue myself. Does that make sense?
I’m scared to air this out to my friends who are within a 20-minute radius because I don’t want them to think I’m trying to change them or anything of the sort. They are who they are, and that’s all I could ever ask them to be. Besides the hole in my heart where the love of my parents should be, it also feels like there’s a hole where the love of a friend should be, and I am always made aware of the friend hole right after Valentine’s Day.
Some days, I carry around a notepad with me and write down all the intrusive thoughts I have. I figured writing them down would make them easier to cope with and work through, which sort of works. Here are the intrusive thoughts I had at work on February 15th, hours before the previously mentioned bathroom hyperventilation situation:
- Imagine wanting more in everything you have but knowing you’re never going to get it.
It makes everything feel like a waste, worthless.
- I’m glad I could be something temporary in your life.
Thanks for consistently reminding me & making sure I feel the intense loneliness that comes with all of your reminders.
- Why do I keep surrounding myself with people who make me feel like crap?
I hate that I am continuously reminded that I am a waste of space.
- I am fully aware that I’m setting myself up for heartbreak, but since that’s such a constant in my life, I’m not surprised. It’s a painful journey to the inevitable, but at this point, all I can do is welcome the pain.
Embrace the anxiety attacks because nothing is meant to stay, meant to last forever, including my existence.
If I know I’m not meant to last forever, why do I keep letting myself endure this mental & emotional torture?
- Stop assuming people want to hang out with you all the time! People don’t like being around you as much as you think!
I am simply a shell of the woman I want to be, stuck in a viscous cycle of trying to not hate my existence. Trying to feel loved. Trying to feel valued. Trying to feel worthy.
Now excuse me while I blast “Oh My God” by Adele and cry my eyes out.
I’m definitely taking a mental health day tomorrow, and I couldn’t care less if I get paid for it.
“Wish that I would let you break my walls
But I’m still spinning out of control from the fall”Adele