I have lost my very best friend – She’s been replaced by tears and SPEW.
SPEW …not to be confused with The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W.).
No, it’s SPEW…The Saddest Person in the Entire World.
This poor soul is in my life, and I’m required to be friends with her. I don’t even know how to help her. She used to be my best friend.
She’s the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily have a bucket list, because she just does everything…at least, she used to.
I’ve seen her every day for the last several months…and she’s been sad every day of that period, possibly longer than that, if I really think about it, but I’m not sure I noticed it quite the way I notice her now. She’s exceptionally good at hiding pain.
I’ve seen her crying as she walks down the street. I hear sobs occasionally.
She often has tears running down her face, and sometimes I don’t think she notices. They’ve just become part of her daily life.
It’s really hard being friends with her now. She doesn’t complain, doesn’t whine. I can’t even say that she feels sorry for herself. Other than sadness, I don’t think she feels anything?
How do I know she is truly SPEW (The Saddest Person in the Entire World)?
- one word makes her cry
- a breeze on her face makes her cry
- lifting weights makes her cry
- being around people makes her cry
- being alone makes her feel nothing or less
- dreams make her cry
- nightmares haunt her dreams – and make her cry
SPEW used to be the kind of person that everyone went to for advice on every subject. She was always rational and objective, seeing both sides of the problem and drawing up 2 sensible options, helping her friends see logical and simple solutions.
She thought outside the box with creativity and imagination. She didn’t necessarily care what people thought, and she preferred to be a little outrageous, a little bit beyond the boundary of “age appropriate” or normal.
But I haven’t seen that in a long time…
She never asks for help. She has tried in the past, just as an exercise, asking for help in areas where she didn’t need it, but simply for the sake of doing it – knowing that asking for help is important for one’s emotional well-being.
…and men like to be needed. So she would strategically offer up an area where she “needed help,” just to provide balance in a friendship or relationship.
She always prided herself on being strong and independent, infallible, and dependable.
But I’ve seen her waver on this…ineptly seeking assistance (she doesn’t really know how) and sounding like the craziest person ever.
She went to talk to a trainer at the gym, signed up for a 60-day program, and as she told her story, she stifled her tears. They talked and the conversation turned to the science of it, which gave her a glimmer of joy – science rules –
…but then a few days later, when she worked on the homework he had given her, she knew she needed to ask for more help. She requested a pricing list and a budget. I was there when she asked this:
“Sadly, I don’t want fun. I want hard, painful, leave-all-my-shit-on-the-floor kind of training that taps into all my dark and twisty places. Let me know because I think you can get me there. I don’t want fun right now. I have deep pain that only pain will cure, if that makes sense.”
She cried and confessed that it sounded crazy. I assured her that asking for help is not crazy and something that she shouldn’t feel ashamed about, if that was her hang-up.
SPEW finally asked one of her other closest friends what therapy was like and if she found it beneficial. Her friend said, “Yes.”
SPEW asked, “Well, did you get strategies? Did you learn to recognize triggers and how to overcome them?”
“It was very helpful to talk to someone who’s objective,” her friend responded. “I couldn’t talk to my friends – they would always take my side. I wasn’t in it long enough to get to strategies, but I probably would have. We just talked about what I was feeling.”
SPEW said, “I talk to myself so much that I think ‘talking’ might be a waste. And I know myself, ” she added. “I sugar-coat things and make everything I do look easy and funny to stuff the pain,” and as she spoke, her eyes filled with tears.
Her friend said, “Well you can’t do that. You have to be honest or it’s not going to work.”
When SPEW heard the answer, she started to cry.
- watching football makes her cry
- seeing pictures makes her cry
- music makes her cry
When she’s not crying, she’s numb, no hopes, no dreams, no joy, no fun, no future, no motivation, no inspiration.
SPEW has been sad before but only when she was stuck in something she didn’t belong…with someone she didn’t belong with…but that’s not where she is right now, so she’s not just sad, but she’s very confused about why she’s so sad.
After her previous traumatic breakup, she felt more fear than she did “sadness.”
But I told her that maybe all this sadness is carried from that experience – and that it has been stuffed down inside her and it needs to come out.
She says that logically, she has no reason to be sad. She has a great job that allows her consistent salary, benefits, working from home, and a free schedule. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Yes, she lost something, but she understands the reasons, and it makes perfect sense.
The loss was for perfectly good, sound reasons. The rational logical math of it all adds up to the right answer for everyone involved.
But are feelings ever logical?
“What if you just tell him what you’re feeling,” I asked.
“I can’t,” she said. “That’s so selfish and narcissistic of me to feel sad about this. What am I to them anyway? I wasn’t anything but a space filler.”
“That’s not true,” I replied. “You know that is NOT logical or even remotely true.”
“But for him and his boy…” she trailed off, and the tears started again. “He wanted to make it work on a different path from me, and I would be in the way. He said it.”
What do you say to that? I want to kick her and hug her…and then kick her again.
“I have to be grateful that they were in my life and that I was a positive influence in theirs,” she added, and the tears flowed heavily, followed by a choking sob, and then stifling into just tears, with no facial expression…just tears…
She’s not the boy’s mom, but she misses him. She lost her friend – and so enter me, who has gone through the same, but with no answers for her.
Do I need to give her an answer?
She’s tried making new friends. She’s tried just being herself in social media – and the saddest part of all, since I’m friends with her on Facebook, that’s where she feels the safest and the “happiest,” if you define that “fake fun” as happy.
She has been going through the motions of a life, pretending to be happy…but I’ve been watching her not be able to pretend anymore. SPEW hasn’t been able to cover it up.
She has tiny breakthroughs…she thinks…but the littlest things stir it up.
Now, she feels overwhelming sadness, oppressive grief, devastating heartbreak…She feels like a failure in everything she does but then rationalizes how stupid that is because she IS smart and funny and really good at what she does.
Seeing SPEW and being with her every day breaks my own heart. Hearing her speak brings tears to my own eyes and brings up my own shit.
Watching her move hurts me.
Not long ago, when she was my best friend before she became SPEW, she did cartwheels, ran around the yard, slid down the slide, swung on the swings, hung upside-down, played on the monkey bars, did handstands, jumped on the trampoline, and wrestled with the boys.
She hiked, ran, laughed and enjoyed life.
I can’t even imagine her doing those things or being like that the way she is now. I cannot remember seeing her smile…really smile. And she used to be known for her smile. That was a magnet for people.
She is worried that she might be a little crazy too, like seriously damaged. In her attempt to make friends, she was doing ok, but now pushes people away.
She has traveled to visit family – thinking that maybe that will fill the void. Perhaps her feelings for the others are just misplaced because she’s not anchored to family. But that actually made her sadder.
She’s concerned about her “dark and twisty” place – and that pain there keeps the pain out of her “real life.” …like a ying-yang thing…like balance.
What do you say to that?
Because she is missing an anchor, we formulated a game plan to bring forth her inner OCD – have her create her own anchor, so she’s not tethered to a person or a situation outside herself – but give her a home-base in herself so she can return to society as a normal sane person.
We went shopping on Amazon together for journals and calendars that she needed for work, and she and I agreed that maybe she isn’t writing enough down. So we took the notebooks and went through her goals.
Her personal goals and dreams consisted of work and exercise. I noted that she didn’t hope to meet a man or have a relationship. I made that curious observation after she finished brainstorming. She didn’t realize that she hadn’t.
She took the first “official” journal and began answering the “Questions for Self-Discovery” which included:
- “What do you most value in life?”
- “Who do you aspire to be in this world?”
- “What are you most passionate about?”
- “When do you feel most like yourself?”
Her answer to the last question crushed my soul: She said, “I don’t remember,” and we both sobbed at this.
Since we are establishing a routine for her that requires consistency, commitment (in small doses), and structure, I also explained that despite the daily tears that flow for no reason at all, maybe she isn’t crying enough…
…maybe she needs regular routine scheduled bouts of whaling, sobbing, and crying until there’s nothing left…
…and then maybe those regular routine scheduled bouts of whaling, sobbing, and crying will gradually become regular routine scheduled bouts of peace, meditation, and smiling…
…and then maybe the random tears for no reason will be replaced with random smiles and laughter for no reason – the way it used to be.
…and maybe she can return to doing cartwheels, running around the yard, sliding down the slide, swinging on the swings, hanging upside-down, playing on the monkey bars, doing handstands, jumping on the trampoline, and wrestling with the boys…
…and then hike, run, laugh and enjoy life.
…and then maybe we can add some new dreams to her list.