I gave him a hug. After crying for hours in my living room, I stood up and gave the guy I had dated for four years a hug. I said, "I feel like this is the last time I'm going to see you."
He laughed. "You can't get rid of me that easy."
He was wrong. Two days later, he told me he couldn't be friends, that he "needed a break from all this."
"All this" is my hike.
I've started equating my depression to talking a hike. I have a backpack and while I'm walking on level, stable ground, I'm picking up little things here and there and putting them into the backpack. It gets heavy but it's manageable. Then, all of a sudden, there's a hill to climb. The hill is very hard because I have all this stuff on my back and it's all become so important that I can't unload it. I eventually make it to the top of the hill and the decline is much easier. Once I make it to the bottom, I'm very satisfied, congratulating myself for just dealing with the stuff on my shoulders instead of actually unloading it. In fact, I feel so great, I'm going to pick up MORE stuff because why not? I'm on stable ground and can handle it. This works until I find the next hill and this one is a little bigger. Now I have more stuff on my back that I can't get rid of because I've grown attached and a bigger problem to tackle. This repeats until the hills are closer together and I eventually collapse from the weight.
I've been steadily hiking for about two years. 2013 was the worst year of my life. Between hard times at work and losing one of my best friends and using a failed defibrillator before performing CPR on a man who ultimately died, I was very broken. I didn't know how to put into words the grief I was feeling between Miranda and the other guy so I didn't. I kept it all in, all on my shoulders, and kept getting up every morning for another hike. The bag got heavier and heavier in 2014 and heavier again in 2015 and eventually, I couldn't carry it on my own. I asked for help and was met with resistance. The guy I was dating had already tried to carry someone else's backpack before he met me. That one was too much for his shoulders and he was worried mine would be, too.
After that night in my living room, I was ready to be done hiking. I picked up the leftover little things, put them into my hypothetical backpack in case I needed them later, and got ready to climb another mountain: Being single at almost 30. I sold my soul to the devil and signed up for match.com in the hopes that maybe someone out there would understand hiking a little more and help me carry the backpack when it got too heavy.
I met a guy and, after our second date, texted him, "I want to be honest with you. My last relationship was a little rough. I'm very guarded/hesitant/nervous to start another one right away because I don't think I've fully let this other one go yet." I hit send and anxiously waited for his SEE YA, BYE response.
The response rang through. "I understand. Mine was a little rocky, too. I'm not worried about it, when can I see you again?"
It felt like taking a little weight out of the backpack.