The Fear of Letting Go | Article F18

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Photograph and article by: Raquel Lyons

“We were looking forward to the rest of our lives… No matter how my life has changed, I keep on looking back on better days… Life it goes on, what can you do?…You know I say that I am better now, better now. I only say that ’cause you’re not around, not around. You know I never meant to let you down, let you down” – Song lyrics from “Better Now” by Post Malone.


I think in the last year that I’ve been writing for the Mass Media, it’s transformed into a coping mechanism. Having only eight hundred words to work with, unless I create parts one and two of an article, gives me enough structure to reign in my thoughts and emotions and provide me with further distance from ‘emotion mind.’


Whether it’s a healthy coping mechanism is another story altogether. I think it can be, and sometimes, it can be unhealthy–as many things in life have the potential to be. I think it’s important to talk about unhealthy and healthy relationships–which are what I aim to accomplish in this article.


This semester is my final one. At the end of it, I will graduate and I will close a chapter of my life not with a period as I so feared for years but with a semi-colon. There’s definitely a fear in change and transformation that is trickling around in my mind.


The end is hard. Having relationships of any type including familial, friends, colleagues, fellow students and significant others, end is daunting. It’s difficult. It won’t be easy. It’s hard for anyone to let go and move on. Bring that concept of letting go to someone like myself who struggles with OCD and ‘letting the thoughts just be’ is maybe even more difficult. Maybe that’s why I’m approaching this subject with trepidation now.


It’s difficult for me to let go of what has been and recognizing that what has happened has come to pass. That although the past has shaped my current reality, it has led up to this moment; it’s not my current experience, not really. Some days that reality is harder to grasp than others. Sometimes my memories resurface around familiar places and bad experiences, and it’s harder to separate what’s actually happened versus the horror track playing in my mind. But, I’m digressing.


I’ve spoken about this subject before, last year even, but over the course of the last two years I developed an unhealthy relationship with my friend Luna. I did the same behavior a few years previous with a therapist in training named Steve.


This time, it’s different; because instead of clinging like a stinging jellyfish, I have to let go…again.


The first step to understanding I have a problem is to be aware of the problem. At some point, my relationship with Luna became dark and twisted, in a metaphorical sense. It was a tumultuous time within my recovery over the years. I felt abandoned a few times, and it wasn’t Luna’s fault, it’s just that my situation at the time got the best of me and I was becoming too dependent on Luna. I was starting to expect Luna to rescue me instead of me doing what I need to do and rescue myself (because only I truly can).


And mainly in this year, a lot changed. Learning about “fishers” and “netters” at my day program taught me a lot. A fisher is a person who drags you down; they’re often unhealthy relationships, abusive or just overall negative and one-sided. Netters are the people who lift you up, who have healthy boundaries and are supportive. Not bum kissing, necessarily, but has your best interests at heart. Everybody has a little mix of fishers and netters within them, depending on the time and situation.


Luna, overall for me, was a netter. But unfortunately I tend to gain this childlike yearning when I’m in crisis so that mixed with reaching out to inappropriate people with my own active suicidal tendencies made a mess for a lot of people.


So now, now things are different. It’s not that the child within me has disappeared, but that I have to reign her in more, a *lot* more. The urges to visit Luna will be there, probably for the rest of this semester. And I have to do my part to protect both myself and Luna, by staying away.


But what I’ve learned this year is that I can be okay, even more than okay, on my own, away from Luna. I can save myself. I don’t need someone else to rescue me, as I am enough.


I have one month to change my behaviors before I get my reward, and I really want my reward to come true. For now, it’s a process of farewell.

Written: 9.14.18, with slight edits 9.19.18

Letting go is a big step, especially when it’s about letting go of relationships or our time somewhere having come to an end. Change is hard, and change is beautiful and welcoming and something many of us are blessed with, even if we don’t realize it at the time. Change helps us to grow and adapt, to persevere and persist. So, although it’s sad to let go of Luna for me now, I know it’s with my best interests and their best interests in mind. I got extra support on the subject today in DBT-Intensive, so that helps. 🙂

What changes are you facing soon? How are you going to adapt to them and push through them?

Let me know down below. Thank you for reading. ❤ ❤ ❤

(Also this is the last article I wrote and I really need to start working on my next round of articles, probably tomorrow and over the weekend–along with keeping coursework up and working!)

Also here is the song if you’d like to listen to it yourself: