How Do You "Unring" A Bell?

All my life I've been a bit depressed. I assumed it was just how everyone felt so it never bothered me. I'm in mid-life now, married for years, okay husband, okay job, okay life. I should be content.

I met a man a few years ago and we became acquaintances. He made me smile, made me laugh. We were buddies. Then simultaneously we had tragedies happen in our respective lives. We lost touch for five months then caught up with each other again. In the subsequent reunion we became closer and supported each other through the very rough months ahead. We became good friends.

One night we went to dinner and to my astonishment he suddenly passionately kissed me. I wasn't excepting it since he is in a relationship as well, and I had never kissed another man since my marriage. I got very upset, he calmed me down, and that was it. Later in the week though, it happened again. This time, I let him kiss me and I kissed him back. I think it happened because the stresses of the past months had finally been too much for us, and we turned to each other for solace. I truly believe that those moments had nothing to do with how we feel about our partners or our relationships. Even now, I'm not really in love with him; we both know I love him like a brother and he loves me like a friend. 

However both of those two kisses, I have never in my life felt more loved and wanted, more safe and at peace, more focused and centered, more happy, and more aroused. That I could experience such glorious feelings left me confused and completely devastated. I always assumed I was an asexual person and the world was just an "Okay" place. It shattered my perceptions of who I am and how happy life could be.

It has been over eight months since those kisses, and my depression has deepened into suicidal thoughts because of those emotions. The thought that I'm capable of feeling such joy, but that I'll never have those feelings again is so unbearable. My friend and I cannot, nor will, ever "be together," thus I will never feel that way again.  

I'm getting professional treatment for the severe depression, but for obvious reasons I can't tell anyone WHY I'm so devastated. No one, not my husband, not even my friend, knows. I have no one to talk to about it. I tried once to tell a therapist, but the kisses were, by definition, 'cheating' and she said that while it was okay to feel aroused emotions, I should also be feeling guilty about the cheating. (Except it's the only completely selfish act I've ever done in my life that I don't feel guilty about.)  

Meanwhile, my friend had to go away for three months, and now he's back, time has passed, our tragedies have subsided. But my friend and I seem to have gone back to being just "acquaintances" again if not even less. He doesn't text or email me anymore (though he does reply to my communications), we don't make any plans to get together. We did meet for lunch twice last month, but both times were disastrous. We didn't talk about us, but rather we talked about things that happened while he was away and our perceptions. He made me sad and devastated, and I made him disappointed and unhappy. I feel we're just not on the same page now, perhaps forever. And this makes me feel even worse because he was always the one who could easily lift me from my despair. He upset me so much that at then end of our last meeting, I held him so tightly and softly told him again how much I loved him. He assured me that he loved me as a friend (which is all I want), but it all felt so humiliating and insurmountable.

All I want is to un-ring that bell. I don't want to know of those feelings, I want to forget them. If I could only forget, then this depression would subside and I could be a better person, a better friend - not so needy, not so sad. I write to the Samaritans and it helps, but they can't offer any advice or opinions, only a "listening ear." I don't know how to cope with this situation, how to put it in perspective, how to live with it, how to end this torture.

My friend has moved on to a happier life and rumor has it he's getting married, and I feel forgotten and left behind, deeply mired in this feeling of loss of my innocence and heartache at the thought of my future with just my "Okay" life. Some days, in my lowest moments, I do feel "in love" with him and want his company and his embrace so desperately, but that passes. However, every day I'm hopelessly in love and haunted with those feelings. That I never did or will have those feeling with my husband devastates me to the point of suicidal thoughts. I want so much to unring that bell...

Does anyone had any words to help me put this in perspective? Something I can remind myself of? Some hope to cling to? Telling myself I should be happy for such "perfect moments" isn't the answer; this "perfect moment" has ruined my life. All I want is my friend back and for us to be just friends. All I want is to be content once again in my "Okay" marriage and "Okay" life.

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Bullied Throughout School

I feel like no one in my personal life understands when I tell them bullying has scarred me so much that even at age 24, I still feel like that awkward, lonely school kid.

I moved to the United States when I was around ten years old, and all I can remember is being bullied since day one. There are too many reasons to list, but in the beginning it was because I could not speak English and because my name, while being masculine in my country, is feminine in the US. The harassment continued throughout middle school, and I found myself pondering suicide even at that age, although I would never actually do that.

Every year, I became quieter and more reserved. That only seemed to worsen the bullying, but I did everything possible to avoid being noticed by others. The high school I attended was across the street from the middle school, so pretty much all the bullies were there as well. I did have "acquaintances," but never had the courage to hang out with them outside of school.

I went to college afterwards and never really made friends because of my deep-rooted insecurities. I feel like if someone doesn't add me on Facebook first or ask me to hang out, then they obviously don't like me and only talk to me out of pity. I'm so lonely and I have no social life due to my low self-esteem. I find myself crying at night thinking about the pain I carry around and wishing I could change, but it's not that easy. My parents think it's simple to brush off all those years and be "normal," but unless you've experienced bullying, you have no idea the psychological harm it can do.

Any advice on how to move forward from others who have been in my shoes would be greatly appreciated.

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He Thought It Was Okay

Hello, I'm not sure how to start. I found this support website trying to cope with something that happened just 24 hours ago. So far, I can't hold it together. I have no one to talk to about it. I'm afraid to be alone anywhere right now. I have been crying on and off all day.

I have been having a friend-with-benefits relationship with a man for the past year. Last night, he kept begging me to come over. I said I didn't know if I could. I didn't want to see him anymore, and was slowly trying to drift away from that relationship. The texts from him kept coming last night, so I gave in and went over. Driving over there, I had a bad feeling about it. I should've listened to my instincts. He has always been a sweet guy and we have connected in many ways, not just sexually. But lately, I felt something differently about it, like I wanted to end it. There wasn't any particular reason, I just wasn't feeling the same connection I used to have with him. I want more of a relationship in my life than just hooking up with him.

Everything was okay at first. He had been away for work for about a month, and he acted like he had missed me so much. Then, things started happening. He told me he had been drinking some wine before I came over, and even offered me some. I told him no thank you. I told him I wanted him to put a condom on. Since we had done so without one in the past, he wanted to again. I told him no. He agreed to wear it.

At one point, he took the condom off. Before he went any further, I asked him, ''Did you take it off? Put one back on.'' He lied and said he hadn't taken it off. I kept telling him "No," and told him to put it back on. He didn't put the condom back on, instead he held me down. I trid to get up, and even succeeded after a minute of struggle, but he pushed me back down onto the bed. He is much stronger than I am, and I was afraid, so I couldn't get up again. I started to cry. Even though he was aware that I was crying, he kept going until he was finished.

He stayed in bed while I got up to go to the bathroom. I was still crying. He said he wanted to cuddle with me. He asked me why I was crying, as if he didn't know. I told him, "You lied and said you had the condom on, and I was trying to get up, but you held me down."

He told me he thought we had a code word, but we didn't. I told him that had to have been someone else, because we never did. At that point he looked confused and looked like he felt bad. I left, still crying. I was so scared! I went home and went straight to bed. I wasn't able to sleep, I just laid there crying, having it replay in my head until I finally fell asleep.

I have made a promise myself that I will never see him again. Thankfully, I don't think there is any way I would run into him again. I don't know who to talk to about this. I don't want anyone to know, but I feel like I need to let it out, somehow. I'm glad I found The Band.

I keep blaming myself for not leaving. I should have left as soon as I realized he had been drinking.

I spend a large part of my day alone because I have a long way to travel to school and work, so I have a lot of time alone with my thoughts. At times, I am terrified to be alone, but other times, I want to be completely alone. I feel myself getting angry and sad, but I'm trying not to let this destroy me. I don't want this to ruin my relationship with my loved ones and friends, but I am scared I will distance myself from them. I'm not sure what else to do to cope. I don't want to take this further than what happened. And I am not ready to do anything like that. I will not see him again.

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Some Friend

The scars of rape last a lifetime.

This is her story:

On my 21st birthday, me and a group of old friends got together. Normally on my birthday, we go out to eat then go back to the house or hotel to drink, dance, and have a good time.

This year was different.

Everyone was drinking, having a good time. After dancing a bit, I got sick and went to the bathroom to throw up, I knew that was where I would spend the rest of my night. Passing out in the bathroom was my last memory.

I woke up on my back in the dark with my pants down and my "friend" on top of me, inside of me. He dragged me out of the bathroom to rape me. As the rape happened, it was like I wasn't inside my body ... it felt like a dream. I couldn't believe what was happening, I couldn't believe someone I considered a friend would actually rape me. I remember trying to push him off of me but he's about 270 pounds.

He kept kissing me in my mouth and moving my body all around and positioning me the way he wanted me. He clearly knew I was unconscious, he knew I couldn't fend him off. I don't know how long it went on, it felt like forever. I was scared to make a noise.

When he finally got off of me, I remember going to the bathroom. I saw him laying on the floor so I ran to the bed and went to sleep.

When I awoke the next morning everything immediately rushed back. I burst out crying. No one was there except my best friend and cousin, and I told them what happened. We decided that we would go to the hospital and have a rape kit performed.

It felt like I was being violated all over again.

At the time I wasn't sure if I was going to press charges but I went and got the rape kit performed just in case. I told a mutual friend what happened and he said he would talk to the guy. His story was "He was so drunk. He doesn't remember anything that happened that night."

I didn't believe that at all.

A week later I wasn't feeling too well so I went to the doctor. I was told that I was having my first herpes outbreak, I cried and cried and cried. I don't sleep around to prevent things like this from happening. I just couldn't believe all of this was occurring.

I have so much hate in my heart for this guy. After getting that news, I was ready to press charges. It's been two months now, and it's still so, so hard. I cry every day. It eats me up inside that he's out here living his life freely while I'm suffering through each day. All from something that shouldn't have happened.

I have so many triggers now. I was the first out of my girlfriends to turn twenty-one so it's hard to sit and listen to talk about what they want to do for it. My twenty-first birthday is full of nothing but bad memories. It's really been a struggle. I feel like no on will want me because of this STD that I can't get rid of.

I feel like he took a piece of me I'll never get back.

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Me And This Life

I kept wondering when I'd finally grow out of my depression. I've been to therapy. I've taken medication. Nothing doing. No help there.

People tell me that I simply should not let it get me. One person even told me that I just have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get on with it. Whatever. People who say that kind of thing are lucky because they really have no idea what depression is like.

When I was in second grade, I remember coming home from school one day and finding my mother laying on her bed, unresponsive and catatonic. When my father returned home from work, he couldn't get her to rouse. I have no idea what caused this event, though I think that my mother may have stepped outside her marriage to get satisfaction elsewhere.

In any case, this began in the long ago time they call the eighties. She went away for a month or so to the "stress ward" of the local hospital. There she made me a California raisin painted ceramic. You know, the little characters that would sing about the grapevine? It was the first of many times we've had to take mom to the doctor. She's a fragile and sensitive person, loving and caring. The world is not kind to the sensitive.

My father was abandoned by his own dad when he was just three or four years old. He suffered some extreme child abuse at the hands of his mother and her new husband. As a result, he has many problems. I think he may have borderline personality disorder. He knew how to provide materially for the family but was all thumbs when it came to anything emotional. He's a cowboy, hard and rough.

I was the last child they had, separated from my closest sibling by a decade. I was nearly an only child growing up. I'm artistic and sensitive and I had exactly two friends growing up here in a small Utah town. I had to suffer the abuse of Mormon children who would tell me that I'm going to hell because my parents smoke or drink. They would chase me away from their groups, calling me names and threatening violence.

Needless to say, my childhood was far from happy.

I tried to fit into the local world of churchgoers, but was turned off by the bigotry and small-minded worldview espoused in their Sunday school. I will not go further into it, but if you have ever been in a small Mormon town and had the audacity to be different from your peers, you'll understand. It's probably much the same in any community where only one faith is prevalent.

Anyway, I was molested by my friend's older sister when I was ten. She was sixteen or seventeen and she would suggest a game of hide and seek. Well, she'd take me into her room and have sex with me. It happened several times.

There are so many ways that this kind of thing messes up within a person. One glaring thing this has done is made me very afraid of women. Like all survivors of molestation, I have had a very difficult time getting close to women. I suppose my depressed mother may have something to do with that. I never shared this with my family.

Well, my self-esteem is a wreck. I have three great children whom I see every other week. Fifty-fifty custody of my children. My ex wife is my ex because she could no longer take my long dark bouts of depression. She is opposite of me in every way - outgoing and friendly. She's a good person, but I can't help but have negative feelings toward her.

I hate myself for wrecking my marriage. To be sure, it takes two to tango, but I feel that the bulk of the blame lies upon me. Since my divorce, I have had hundreds of lonely days and nights. I've had only one or two really fun dates. I think of myself as one of the defective and unlovable people in the world.

I've lost any hope for the future.

I go to work every day. I write my stories and novels. I play my bass. But every single damn morning I wake up, the first thing in my head is "loser" and "just get it over and kill yourself." I find myself saying that I'm all alone. I comfort myself with the reassurance that if I'm alone, I won't make anyone hate me. I won't have to live through another divorce. I won't have to see my mate die.

But all the same, I want to be like other people. I want to love someone but I cannot help but to think that in doing so, I will simply make them hate me. I want to be able to introduce someone to my friends and children. But I just cannot imagine anyone wanting to be with me.

Well, I don't want to wallow in my stupid grief. I'm almost late for work. At least I have that. Many don't nowadays.

That's my story, briefly.  

A note about commenting: It only takes moments to comment but makes a world of difference to an author to know they are not alone: They're with the Band! Please share your support here!

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