The last article I published was a heavyhearted confession asking readers to wait for me while I tried to deal with a serious bout of depression.
Anyone familiar with social decorum in Turkey would have realized the battle I faced. This is a country where depression is not discussed openly. It is a weakness and people suffering from it are abnormal. I had become a freak of society.
So I devised a plan of action to shake off my mental sadness and only intended to stop writing for a month. Yet three months later and I have published nothing.
So What Happened?
The depression was just the beginning. My life took a massive nosedive down the toilet. It went from bad to horrendous.
A series of events catapulted me into the dark crevices of Satan’s den.
Every time I attempted to get back on track, I was hit with more setbacks.
I suffered an everlasting trail of bad news, disappointment, and failure starting with the breakup of my marriage.
I lost my soul mate, best friend, lover, and husband all in one go.
I hated my husband for not understanding my depression. I expected my Turkish Romeo to make everything all right and when he failed, I stuck my finger in his face, called him a dick head, and threw his bags out of the door.
These actions were the ultimate sin. Wives of Turkish men never behave like that. I insulted a Turkish man’s pride in the most shocking way possible.
While I was shouting and screaming at him, I could see his fists were clenched. He wanted to hit me. He was struggling to hold himself back. This just made me push him even further.
I saw the pain in his face; unable to understand why his wife who had previously did everything he wanted, had suddenly turned on him like a wild cat, desperate to get out of its cage.
The fact that I am still breathing and able to write this article is remarkable because other men would have killed me for less.
Illness, Death and Suicide
Unable to deal with suddenly living alone, I put my apartment up for rent and moved in with a friend. Then received news that a close family member had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
I have never dealt with the death of someone close. My heart has always been protected from the pain of losing a loved one and the unexpected news made me feel vulnerable.
I remembered an article written by another travel writer. Her experiences seemed to mirror mine. She had also lost the love of her life and her dad was diagnosed with cancer.
She was asking the universe how to deal with a broken heart.
A short while after publishing that post, she committed suicide.
I re-read the article, then sat and cried because, I fully understood why she did it. I was actually jealous that she had the guts to go through with it.
It seemed like the easiest thing in the world but I could not accomplish it. I saw myself as a failure.
When an Addiction Takes Control
So I was stuck in limbo. I hated my life and believed it would never get better. The doctor prescribed Xanax, the same medication that ended the lives of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
He said if that didn’t work, the next step would be a psychiatrist. In my head, that was the official confirmation that I was well and truly crazy.
I had reached the end of the road.
Now, anyone who has taken Xanax will understand my admiration for the man who had invented it. This legally prescribed drug blew my mind. Every time I took it, I lay on the bed and sunk into the mattress.
Nothing mattered anymore. I did not cry. I did not feel sad.
Sure, I felt numb. I was on auto-pilot but this was better than the sadness and depression that was clinging to my soul.
However, with any drug, taken over time, your body becomes used to them. I started taking two tablets, then three.
Consuming copious amounts of Xanax often made me pass out for up to 14 hours at a time. If people could wake me from my slumber, I would have conversations but had no recollection of them the next day.
Over the next few weeks, I became a hermit, asking friends to fetch shopping, so I could stay in the house and indulge in my new addiction.
Then I was consumed with panic. I was going to run out of my miracle cure but could not go back to the doctor because Xanax in Turkey is only sold with a special, green prescription note so doctors can keep track of how much is being consumed and prevent patients from stock piling the pill.
I knew I was addicted and tried to hide the fact but one morning, I woke up to an intervention from my friend and her sister. They asked me to give up Xanax, stating that it had taken over my life.
F*** you, I shouted
Xanax was my new best friend
Yet deep down, I knew I had once again lost control.
Hitting the Dating Scene in Turkey
The intervention turned out to be blessing in disguise. After a lot of thought, I decided any withdrawal symptoms from the drug would be nothing compared to the shit that I had previously dealt with. I went cold turkey.
Eventually, I felt inspired to get out of the house. The fresh air did me good. I started wearing makeup again, took care in my appearance, and successfully lasted two weeks without taking Xanax.
With my increased confidence, I re-entered the dating scene, which is not hard to do in Turkey.
Turkish men are hot blooded with strong libidos that make you think they are permanently on Viagra.
It is easy to find a boyfriend to whisper sweet declarations of love all night long.
So one night in a bar, I met someone and liked him. He did not speak English, and I was forced to put my Turkish language skills to the test but conversation was easy and I saw him again and again.
He loved traveling, which delighted me. We talked about places in Turkey and made plans to travel together. To have a boyfriend, who shared the same passion as me, made me happy.
Then it transpired the f****** b****** was married!
I felt immense disappointment as if I had been duped but when friends suggested a blind date with a man from the next town, I decided to give it another go. He did not speak English either but at this stage, I was easily conversing in Turkish wherever I went.
I met him in a restaurant and was instantly attracted to his dark, rugged looks and cheeky smile. He grabbed my hand, looked at me and that was the start of another whirlwind romance.
We spent lots of time talking, watching films, dancing, laughing, and kissing. I was on cloud nine and truly hooked.
When we were apart, we missed each other.
When we were together, we made love, damn good, intense love.
Again and again.
All over the house.
The passion ignited something within me. I felt beautiful again. The sexual chemistry was intense and addictive. He said he felt the same.
Then one day, I sent him a text. He did not reply which was unusual. I thought nothing of it until his friend rang late at night.
My Turkish lover, who had captured my heart, was in prison.
He had stabbed a man three times during an argument over money. He will be in prison for a long time. I still feel stupid, disappointed, and cheated.
My heart still feels as if it has been ripped in two.
What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger
So, after the breakup of my marriage, bad news about a close family member, an addiction to Xanax and two failed romances, staying at home permanently would seem like a good idea, don’t you think?
Yet, something amazing has happened. The gauntlet that the universe has placed in my path has just made me stronger than ever before.
People remark on how well I look and they are pleased to see the old Natalie back in action. I socialise most nights and enjoy the company of others. I look in the mirror and smile at the woman looking back at me.
I have bounced back
When so much disappointment occurs in a short period of time, the mind becomes resilient and decides to come out fighting.
With my newfound confidence, I filed for divorce and last week, sat in front of a judge who asked if there was any chance of reconciliation with my husband.
I looked at my Turkish Adonis, the man who I had promised to love, honour and obey for ever.
The man that I previously believed I would grow old with.
I turned back to the judge and said no. The divorce was finalised.
It is time to start a new life.
A Beautiful Struggle with Fruitful Results
The last few months have been a tornado of disappointments and failures yet; I am making the choice to be positive.
Perception changes everything and determines whether my life will be full of disappointment or glorious pleasure.
It is easy to be sad and negative but being happy is much more enjoyable.
Readers: The Turkish Travel Blog is back with a vengeance!