For the past year I have experienced an upheaval in my personal life. I suffered a major heartbreak from a break up even though the separation was initiated by me.
Through the time that followed, I went through the five stages of grief. I was in denial for over two months which at the time I mistook as relief because I was no longer bound by a relationship. Then I had a very brief anger phase where I thought I was being manipulated to feel like the bad guy. And then the depression hit. I have never encountered something so difficult in life. And I have overcome a herniated disc. Twice. To get back to doing back flips and film stunts. I thought I had paid my share of hardships for this life time. I am still in the depressive phase, only managing it slightly better because what else...
I think as men, particularly in India, we are not even aware how we block our feelings or fail to understand them, lashing out instead at those who try to help us. But some of these feelings are so strong, they force their way through and rip into the open like an uncontrollable wildfire. If we have not trained ourselves to control this energy, it causes substantial damage to us and those close to us. This is precisely what happened with me.
All my life I have prided myself in being a logical, emotionally stable person, unaffected by emotion and very decisive and determined. Only now do I realize that I wasn’t emotionally stable, I was emotionally protected. I never had to face any emotional turmoil because the people around me protected me from any harm. I never lost anyone close. My parents supported me all my life morally and financially. My girlfriend took the brunt of all my idiosyncrasies and shielded me from my own insecurities and made me feel like I was an evolved being devoid of inadequacies. This is the girl I decided to separate from after 6 years of togetherness. Why? I have no clear answer. Perhaps I was bored. Perhaps I wanted to explore more women. These were all symptoms of the fact that I felt a part of me was feeling repressed. I wanted to give it room and voice and I thought my relationship was too primitive a space for this part of me to express itself. Little did I know that this repressed part of me was actually the inadequate, insecure, egoistic part that was being sheltered under the large heartedness of my girlfriend. It wasn’t a call for freedom, it was a call for introspection and finally turning into an adult at 34. I had always known men take longer to mature. But this is just ridiculous.
It is true that while in that relationship I couldn’t have possibly fixed it, there was nothing to fix. There was so much love. Yet, something was wrong. With me. I had to get out to be able to see what it was. And it was only me. I used to keep checking myself that I don’t take my partner for granted because she did so much for me. I did a lot for her too. But it was always on my terms. If I wanted peace and quiet to write, she had to adjust. If I suddenly didn’t feel like going out, she had to change back into home clothes and order beer at home. My needs became her needs. My belief systems became hers. I didn’t fight or force anything. That was her way to be happy. I could have never seen these things while I was still in it. I thought I was the perfect boyfriend. And she made me believe so.I am sure there are lessons in there for her too. But did she have to pay such a big price for it? Had I been smarter and more emotionally intelligent couldn’t I have dealt with it better than to cause so much damage. She had fought with everything she had to save the relationship, but I had made up my mind as the “superior” one that I am doing her a favour by letting her go and she will thank me later. How typical.
Once the depression entered, I suddenly started seeing all the things that I had done wrong. It was like a veil had been magically lifted. And then out of my own selfish need I tried to make things right with her, so I wouldn’t have to face myself with the guilt and shame of what I had done. But I ended up making it worse and put her back to where she had started after I abruptly decided to separate in the first place. Shattered and alone. I now have to bear the guilt and shame of it for the rest of my life.
There are these days when I feel hopeless. I see only dark when I look into the future. It was a future that had a colourful new home, lots of love and cats, just over a year ago. This is the dark knight of my soul and some days it feels certain it is never going to end. I am only going to have to get used to it.