A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Monday, August 11, 2014

The fog clears...

So after months of therapy and mulling it over, I decided to go to my GP and ask for some anti-anxiety meds. Now I have always been anti-medication as a course of treatment for mental illness, but I honestly thought I would try anything to get to the bottom of the quandary with Vik, with my personal issues and trying to figure out how life moves on going forward.

My GP put me on 10mg of Citalopram – the lowest dose – which I have been taking for 5 days now. Day 1 I experienced something close to mania and a euphoric high. Day 2 I had a panic attack, sickness, nausea and hot flashes. On Day 3, I completely lost my appetite and ate one sandwich. Day 4 I experienced so much anxiety I thought I was making myself more ill…

The thing that kept me going were these 'pockets' of clarity. Like looking in the mirror and finally seeing myself for the first time. I saw this very smart, handsome, strong and gentle man in front of me, and I had no doubts or hesitations about it. In my everyday interactions, I could feel that my previous confidence – confidence that was built to mask my insecurities – was fading and being replaced by a confidence that actually started to come from this place within.

On the evening of day 3, I took a walk and thought to myself, "Where has Allan been all this time?" I've spent my whole life looking after or feeling responsible for other people's emotions, wanting to impress other people or make them proud of me. What did Allan want? How did he get so lost among the world? How did he get so lost in the sea of voices in his own head that he couldn't hear his own clear voice? The voice that, in the past, said the right things, but didn't *feel* those things. I have been living my life 'the wrong way round', I thought to myself – as if I was looking for these feelings to suck in from the outside, instead of projecting myself from the inside. I have got by in my life thinking things were 'luck' or 'chance', allowing myself to be thrown from one rock to the next in the rapids of life and absolving myself of any responsibility of making a decision.

I had to start living life for myself, I thought.

On the evening of day 4, I had a major epiphany about Vik. All my commitment phobia wasn't actually to do with commitment, or even to do with Vik himself. He wasn't the wrong guy… I had just spent so much time single, I had painted myself as this 'love martyr' – as if I had forgone love to wait for the 'perfect guy' and have 'the perfect relationship' and, that the next time I fell in love it would be forever. I became overly critical of other people's relationships: belittling them, criticising them for settling for less or making comments about how it would end eventually.

The fact is there is no such thing as the perfect guy or the perfect relationship, but when Vik and I had a connection I just projected all of those ideals onto him then I put myself under a massive amount of pressure to make it the greatest love story ever told. Then, when I realised there was no substance underneath it, I panicked and ran. Vik then started to fall under my 'push and pull' pattern of previous relationships where I had failed to commit, increasing my anxiety. Then I constantly questioned my feelings – did I love him? Was he the wrong guy? Could I do better? PANIC PANIC PANIC.

Did I love him? Well, I needed time to *know*. Yes, I had feelings but I needed to nurture those and I didn't allow myself any time. I needed to know NOW. But instead of giving myself the time, I just used every opportunity as a way to collect evidence against him about why it wouldn't work out.

Could I do better? Hell, there are six billion people on this planet. Maybe I could do better. Fuck whether or not I could do better — Vik could probably do better. There will always be someone more attractive or smarter or likes more of the same music. But that's not what relationships are about. It's about saying, "We have this connection, we're going to give it a go and make an active choice to see if we can make it work together."

Relationships *do* take work, but by fooling myself into thinking I'd find the perfect guy who'd sweep me off my feet, I was again absolving myself of any responsibility of choosing to be with someone and committing to them. Even in the past, my previous relationships failed because it came to a point where I was bored, or there was a problem and instead of sitting down and talking it out, I just said, "Fuck this – I'm off." That way I could avoid the pain of the perceived inevitability of the relationship ending.

In the interim, I chose people – either consciously or subconsciously – who I knew were unsuitable for me because then I knew I wasn't fully invested in the relationship, and I always had an excuse or a foot out the door. I allayed my guilt by saying I was 'being honest and up front', but really I knew even before we engaged in physical intimacy that I was going to say goodbye eventually.

Since taking the meds, my desire or desperation to find a guy – any guy – has disappeared. I've also been out by myself twice to the cinema and to a cabaret… I feel like I can seize the moment with more confidence. My desire to drink has disappeared. Part of me feels like this was what was always missing – that drinking, drugs and all this other stuff was an empty quest to get this clarity of mind. I feel more rational and in control than I've ever been, like I'm really seeing everything very clearly.

All I have to ask myself show long do I take these meds for before I consider it all 'fixed'?