Mind War

A friend asked me on FB Messenger the other day; “are you happy?”

It was a simple enough question. Am I happy? I can say I was happy. For several years actually. Very happy. But that was then. I replied with a simple “no, I am not happy”. 

This past winter was the toughest I’ve been through. I balanced on a knife edge of being happy about a new girlfriend and being depressed for the loss of a future. In the end, I think happiness gave in to depression. I went to England in March, and it was slowly another turning point towards feeling better. Slowly. Very slowly. But I am not happy.

I look around me when I write this. The rain is pouring down outside. I am living in a new house. There is no one else here. The TV is on, but I am not watching. I simply like the noise of it. There’s empty Coke bottles, all my books that I’ve written nicely presented on a large book shelf, a sofa I never sit in, in a cabinet there’s a bottle of wine I intended to share with a date that never managed to find the time, and an extremely empty fridge. It is simply empty. I am all alone. I am 36 years old. This is not supposed to be. It’s like I left my life and took over the situation of me in a parallel dimension. I do not belong here. 

Today, for the past four hours, after coming home for a sports event, I have had a mind war going on. One of the individuals taking part met up with her husband and two year old girl after the event was over. I caught myself staring at the family of three playing together, simply being happy. I wished I was him even though I do not know any of his personal struggles. I simply wanted to be him. To have his life. A pretty, athletic girlfriend and a blue-eyed two year old girl.

If this had been four months ago, I would have been in a very dark place by now. I would have lost the mind war hours ago already. At least I am capable of fighting it now and writing about it instead. But I am bitterly jealous of them. Everyone.

I do not want to be in this situation. I am not living the life I want for myself.

I am so jealous, sad and depressed about the lack of having my own family that I can no longer congratulate friends or family becoming parents. My cousin had his first baby a few months back, and I do not want to go visit him. I mustered a “congrats” on Snapchat. A couple me and my ex used to hang out with just had their first child, and I have not once given them my best wishes. No likes on Facebook or Instagram. Nothing. The list goes on. I stay clear of it. I hope you all can forgive me even if you haven’t noticed. Perhaps its not even jealousy, it’s just sadness. Deep sadness.

I am not happy, but I am trying to hang on. I am doing better,  but I am not happy – and I will not be happy until this “is fixed”. If it ever will. And I am terribly sorry to everyone who should have been getting my best wishes for their lucky circumstance. Please understand that I simply can’t manage myself to do it. It is a war with my mind I have yet to win.

 

Chapter 8: Confessions and Lamentations

I had just settled into a new house when I met her. I felt more settled by then. Not so emotionally upset any longer. Trying to focus on the future.

She was my age. Very pretty. Local. Two kids. At first I was a bit cautious considering her age and my desire to have my own children. It didn’t take long until I asked her about it. Turns out she didn’t understand what I was asking her the first time around, but a month or so later she confirmed her intentions; she was open to have more children. Because of me. She asked me what I would do if she said no. I replied I couldn’t be with her if that was the case. She cried for a wee bit and said she would go through this once again (pregnancy) for me. I couldn’t believe how someone was so caring and warm as to do that for someone else. I was the happiest I could ever be. Why wouldn’t I be? Everything seemed to fall into place – and quickly.

And so, I got involved. I spent time with her son at 17 and even more time with her wonderful 10 year old daughter. We had Sunday breakfasts together. This is what having a family felt like then. It was great.

However, I often had periods of depression. Often every other day. The IVF had not yet left my thoughts, and I struggled with it. However I was cautious letting her in on everything. She was very open about her problems towards me. From what she told me, I understood she had been mentally abused by two very unstable assholes. For the most part we spoke about her challenges with work, education, money and past experiences with men. I tried my absolute best to find solutions to her problems. I turned my mind inside out trying to find ways she could move forward. From her job especially. In the end, she told me she never asked for my help in the first place…

By February she had some form of mental breakdown. I adviced her to get a sick leave from work and try to gather her thoughts. Looking back (even though I asked her a few times if this was the case, or if I was the problem) she had most likely changed her mind about children. A bit before this went down, there was a few days where we thought she was pregnant. She got her period at the last possible moment. I was actually happy if she was pregnant even though it was way too early. You can plan and arrange an family all you want, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So, to hell with that. To hell with planning. I didn’t care if it was too early (which it was) or whatever. She was scared as hell, and during one conversation one night – she gave hints that she would have an abortion if she was pregnant. It broke me down completely. I imagined this being my only chance at fatherhood, and she wouldn’t go through with it (and from her point of view, I can fully understand). So, during one chat late at night using Snapchat, she gave another hint she had changed her mind. She didn’t want any more children anyway.

It put me in horrible situation. I had gotten attached to her and her little family. Something I really tried to avoid by asking her up front. It didn’t look like she actually understood the pressure she put me under. Considering she was so honest with me about her problems, I had also been gradually more honest with her about mine, and openly spoke about the IVF and the fear and sadness of not having a family. While I understood her, she didn’t understand me – and it felt like she was actually using it against me. Her depression and issues was acceptable, mine was not.

One of the last time I talked to her, she sent me nasty Snapchat messages saying I was mentally unstable and finishing a sentance with; “….and all the sick things you do”. That was it for me. Not acceptable. I sometimes wonder what these sick things were. I once drew a person in Snapchat with ponytails. Another one was a joke where I compared three kids to three beers (sometimes the third beer is the best). Best I can think of really.

In the end, if this is what she got from me, I started to really wonder how crazy these ex-boyfriends really were if she thought I was like them. But then again, she once told me she sometimes simply said “things” she couldn’t “control”.

So I decided to break it off. I had to. She had changed her mind about the foundation of our relationship. Afterwards I felt like I had been in some kind of fight. I felt physically beaten up. I was the lowest point I had ever felt. I sat in my chair at home and held up my arms like someone about to be beaten up would do. Begging for mercy.

There’s a few things you have to be rock solid on in a relationship. Children is one. It’s simply not a subject you can change your mind on. I was standing firm. It’s a dealbreaker. I want my own children, and I will break up with anyone who says they don’t want children or a family. Simple as that.

I didn’t deserve this one. Not any of it. It hurt me greatly. Not just that she changed her mine about the most important subject a couple can discuss, but how she used my most personal confessions and feelings against me – accusing me of being mentally unstable.

A request was taken for weakness. So I let it bleed and set it right.

Chapter 5: No Surrender, No Retreat

I can only speak for myself, but I was always of the impression that pregnancies could happen at any time – anywhere as long as your penis circulated a vagina area. Fine, I exaggerate a tad, but it was to prove a point. Babies happened. It was all over the TV. Soaps showing unexpected pregnancies in all ages, and shows on MTV about teen pregnancies. A friend of mine got pregnant when she was 16. To me, this should have been one of the easier tasks in life. What would come later would be hard part – the upbringing. I expected babies to happen as soon as we went for it.

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Most people have one or two things they struggle with. Physically or mentally. Perhaps you were raped as a teenager. Maybe your mother was an alcoholic, or you lost your significant other in a car crash. Maybe your father died when you were young and always longed for a father figure. Maybe you have no self confidence, maybe you are under-performing in life and know it. Humans always seem to have one or two “soft” spots. I often wondered what mine was – now that I had broken free from a shaky start of adult life to excel in what I was doing, I almost expected something to pop up.

Turns out it was lack of pregnancies. She simply did not become pregnant. We tried for a couple of years, nothing happened. Perhaps it something physically wrong. Maybe it was her mental state of stress. She was always stressed out. Perhaps it was hormonal. More than likely a mix of all. We just didn’t know. All we knew was that it wasn’t me that had a problem.

We were referred to IVF treatment. First three times are free in this country. I didn’t know much about it, but figured this would be a safe bet. Considering it was a 30% chance on each try, the math was good. A 90% chance. In theory it would work. We talked about children names and prepared like any other couple. First try didn’t work out, and I started to calculate the chances in different ways.  By each step in the process, 50% of the eggs would disappear. The Norwegian approach is also to be very conservative and not insert many eggs – compared to Israel where it was more of a “go flat out” approach with many eggs and considerable amount of twins being born. I read articles online saying it was mentally demanding. Physically as well – for the female.

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First try was a failure even before got to the insemination part. She made a mistake with her drug injections prior to the date we had at the hospital. It didn’t cost us a try.

Second one went alright. Six eggs was taken out. Three  didn’t evolve. Three was alright, but two of them did not develop properly. We had one left, which was inserted. The nurse talked about “the golden egg” which I found odd. Why bet on a “golden egg” when chances would increase if you bet on several of them at one try? Their response was that they didn’t know her body well enough to know how things would go. They were simply being cautious, but in my world that cost us two tries before they found the right dosage of drugs and what not. It was like putting your hand out in a dark closet and hoping to find that shirt you want to wear on that particular day. Among so many others. The more I calculated based on how they were doing things, the less positive I got. And it took months and months between each try. It was all a process. And a painful one at that.
Second try was aborted while we were halfway to the hospital by train. It was a two hour ride. None of the eggs had developed. We jumped off the train and went back home with our hopes shattered for a second time. I realized at some point that this may as well not work. I could end up not being able to form a family at all.

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I thought it to be very ironic. Of everyone I knew when I was growing up, I always considered myself as very capable with children. I adored children. My confidence in fatherhood had not even gone down when my self-confidence was low and I was insecure. If it was one thing I was good at, it was professional and personal care for others.

And in the midst of this painfully slow and tough process, we were growing apart from each other.  Or maybe she had already disappeared from me, she just couldn’t find a way out.

Chapter 3: The Parliament of Dreams

She got in touch with me first. Rumour said she had run out of Finns to talk to, so she turned to Norwegians. Her country was under siege, being bombarded with deadly rockets from terrorists in the neighbouring country up north, striking her city.

She had gone further south, away from the attacks, to her cousins place. There was little left for her to do than to stay online. Our chats were often disrupted by air raid sirens which meant she had to take shelter just in case any of the rockets reached her area inland. I wasn’t thinking of a relationship because she was so far away from me I didn’t consider it to be anything serious. Until she said she would meet me in Prague. Visiting Prague was a week-long trip I had planned with my brother and a few friends months prior to meeting her. The trip wasn’t meant as anything to do with romance. I didn’t even take her seriously when she said she would go. But she did. We met in the square of the old town of Prague in lovely sunshine in October of 2006. At first I had an eerie feeling about it I couldn’t shake. Perhaps it was my intuition warning me of what was to come 10 years later. I can’t explain what it was, or why.IMG_4892

After Prague we met in Finland in November. She had a thing for Finland. I don’t know why many foreigners seem to do. Norwegians have absolutely no “thing” for Finland. I flew out on an early morning Finnair flight. We spent a few days in Helsinki before going to Norway. I took her to see my parents. We were already acting as a couple and I had no strange intuitions any more – it had disappeared after the first hour of meeting her.

As for Norwegian girls I could not talk or impress enough to go out with me, it was a feeling of leaving them behind victorious. Through most of that first college year I had a huge crush on a girl from my study group – which turned out to be a subsequent failure of me trying to date her. Of course.

So a foreign girl being much more direct about what she wanted – and completely honest in being attracted to me, felt so much easier to deal with. It was easier. My devloping prejudice towards local girls had been confirmed as true. They didn’t like me, but foreign girls did.

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I went to her home country in February 2007. For a whole month. Not only was the final destination of my journey worth it, but I got to travel. I simply love flying and traveling. Even transits at airports in Europe fascinates me. I was suddenly a world traveler, I was doing well in college, and I had found an absolutely smashing, exotic girl. It was also a bragging right that I was going to what Norwegians looked at as a “semi war-zone”.  It was too good to be true. I was suddenly racking up flights like a madman, spent tons of money doing it, but yet managed to save up a considerable sum between 2006 and 2010. We traveled her country extensively, got to see all the sights, and I plastered everything about it online. I was proud. We even had our photo published online by the biggest online (and offline) newspaper outlet in Norway under the headline “we are traveling all over the world!”

I talked her into opening a Facebook account so I could change my relationship status to “in a relationship with”.

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She wasn’t only pretty, but took whatever I had of low self confidence away and pulled me up to her level. She was one of the reasons I had no hesitation writing a book in 2008-2009 (the first of many). After acing my bachelors degree and ending up dating a beautiful foreign girl like her, there was no stopping me. My untraditional ways had paid off. I was right, everyone else were wrong. I had no hesitation investing all the time that it took in a long distance relationship. Why wouldn’t I? I got travel, and she adored me. Besides, I did not understand Norwegian girls, and they did not understand me. My crush the previous year was proof of that.

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The last part of 2006 was absolutely a smashing time. So was 2007. In retrospect, It was like I could only think about something, and it would come true. If I wasn’t flying to see her or she was off to see me, I was flying to England for air shows and beer. I had been dreaming of going to England since I was a child. Now I was doing it every year.

Things had finally turned around.

Chapter 2: What can I say – I come from Tuborg and Sleaze Rock

Between early 2004 and the summer of 2006 I tried to be more traditional. That is, if binge drinking during weekends are traditional. I have a feeling it actually is in this country. I was never too keen on drinking when I was in my late teens or early 20’s. It was another thing where I deviated from my peers. After my girlfriend dumped me in January of 2004, I decided to re-think a couple of life choices. I felt my way of doing things wasn’t not working out.  So I decided to start drinking like the rest of the country. I was drinking to get over her, to get over myself and to change myself into something else. I was tired of being me.1280666-16

I was 23 and obviously had issues getting over her. I grew my hair long, tried to look “rock” and even sported the odd drunk eyeliner-look once I was wasted and started to feel inspired by Motley Crues book “The Dirt”. Heartbreak and drinking; what others experienced being a teenager, I was experiencing for the first time in my early to mid 20’s. I was catching up. Was it the raddest time I’ve had or was it the sadest? I am not sure. My best friend was 18. We went nuts, but usually never in danger of wrecking ourselves or anyone else. Perhaps just normal Norwegian weekends for young people. Except for the eyeliner and the hair. People had trouble understanding that part. I once entered a room full of countryside stereotypes in the middle of nowhere with my hair spiked up, and black eyeliner smeared across my face. The room went dead silent. I liked it.

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I started college August 2005, and drank more than I studied. Surprisingly, it didn’t really make my grades suffer. Considering the amount of time I invested in my field of study, the two-year course was either too liberal and easy or I was simply much smarter than I thought. I have a sneaky feeling it’s was the first, but I will pretend it’s the second.

Girls wasn’t going my way. I had a few offers, but I didn’t find them interesting. One had a boyfriend but had a strong interest in cheating on him. With me. I said no. I actually have morals. Another was, to be blunt, dumb. I was quickly done with my business there. Another one was so desperate for a boyfriend she could have picked anyone. I aborted that one too. In early 2005 I met a very cute girl from the other side of the country. She was a student in my home town. She sent all the right vibes and the more she drank, the more clingy she got. Up until specific physical contact. I should have smelt a rat when she pulled out when I tried to kiss her once. I had gathered up all confidence I could find up until that point and was 99% sure she would kiss me back. She didn’t. She was a new type of breed for me – a tease. I understood later that many female students around 20 years old have often gotten involved in serious relationships during their teen years and have no interest in doing that again now that they are free and off to college on their own. So they like the flirting, but pull out once you actually make a serious effort. That happened a few times those years.

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The more time went by with trying my luck and failing miserably, the more bitter I got. One of the more nasty mistakes you can make as a single guy. But who can blame them when I was so wasted I could hardly mutter a decent sentence when I met someone out on town. So, I gave up and went back to being untraditional. I went back online (but I was never really away). MySpace was cool and so was this foreign girl that got in touch with me. Considering my experience with American girls, this felt instantly right. She was foreign after all. Foreign meant foreign and not Norwegian. I was truly convinced I did not understand Norwegian girls or how to talk to them. And I was just as convinced they did not understand me either. We just didn’t get along. Nothing had changed since high school. If I was to go somewhere with girls, I had to go foreign again. And so I did.

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