Given that I only experience my own life and that I experience a lot of that through hazy goggles of mental health issues, I don’t know what is common for people to feel and what is down to my own personal issues.
I have recently been feeling a fair amount of separation anxiety/abandonment issues due to my personal trainer leaving his job at the gym and thus ending our trainer/trainee relationship. Now for most people I assume this wouldn’t be a big deal, you just go and get another personal trainer. For me it’s a big deal because I don’t click with a lot of people, especially not masculine, jock-type gym-goers who actually enjoy sports, so to be given another personal trainer makes me nervous and apprehensive. This I’ve been told is fairly normal but I can’t help but panic about whether I’m going to feel as comfortable with this new guy as I did with my original trainer.
Since the NHS only allowed me to have 12 counselling sessions before they considered me “better” (which caused all sorts of anxiety when I had to leave a therapist I really liked seeing) I had been using my personal training time as a sort of therapy session. My trainer was really easy to talk to and I felt like he could relate to some of the things I had/was going through at the time. I used to enjoy going to the gym not for the exercise but because it felt like I was spending time with a friend or with somebody who actually wanted to listen. It’s irrelevant to me as to whether he wanted to or not, the fact that it felt like he wanted to is what matters to me.
But now he’s gone, or at least he will be tomorrow, and I don’t really know how to feel about it. It’s a classic example of what happens – I get overly attached to people and then get depressed when they leave. They probably think of me no more than a client or something formal like that, maybe even an acquaintance at a push, but for somebody who doesn’t make friends easily it’s very difficult to let go.
Stopping for a moment to get all psychologist on myself. I have never been abandoned physically by any member of my family. I’ve never had any sort of major trauma in that kind of sense. But maybe it’s my fear of being alone. I was always an outsider in my family and so I felt alone a lot of the time and so when somebody actively takes an interest in me or my life then it really means something to me.
So now I’m torn because something comfortable has been taken away from me and it’s not fair. I wasn’t ready to let it go and I don’t want to get to know a new trainer.
Don’t get me wrong. I hope my old trainer is happy with whatever he’s decided to pursue (I didn’t push the subject, it was fairly difficult to take the news anyway), but, and in a purely selfish vein, I don’t want him to go. Oh and also don’t mistake me. I don’t hate my new trainer. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy, but whether we’ll click or not is a totally different thing and it worries me beyond belief because I felt like I had such a good relationship with my old trainer.
This is actually quite a big deal for me and the idea that I’ll never see him again is quite frustrating. I don’t really know how to feel either because a lot of people without mental health issues will probably tell me I’m being stupid (God knows that’s what my parents wanted to say when I told them), but I can’t explain how big of a deal it is to find somebody you actually want to spend time with when you spend most of your time hating the world or hating yourself. In fact, it’s an even bigger deal when you find somebody who acts like they enjoy spending time with you because you don’t consider yourself somebody anybody actually wants to be around.
I know some people won’t understand because the trainer/trainee relationship one is one that you pay for. Essentially I was paying for his time. But it didn’t matter to me, it felt comfortable and that’s all I cared about. Now I have to go from feeling comfortable to looking into the unknown.
As a footnote; taking care of your physical health is a great way to care for your mental health. People don’t enjoy the act of working out, they enjoy the way it makes them feel afterwards. That ache in your muscles makes it feel like you’ve achieved something.