mental health

Why write my story?

I have trouble with the idea of abusive friendships, and I was in one. I feel awful when I read someone else’s account of an abusive friend they had and my impulsive thoughts go ‘I don’t see why this was so bad’, and then my rational thoughts go ‘shutupshutupshutup how dare you think that, how hypocritcal of you to think like that after what you went through with R?’ But the problem is, part of me still doesn’t think what I went through with R was that bad either. I keep trying to think of ways I could have minimised harm to myself by doing something differently, or blaming myself for having been affected so strongly by what happened to me when maybe someone else might have come through it unscathed. That’s a thing- for example my brother appears to have come through our Evangelical Christian upbringing relatively unscathed and become an atheist without the turmoil I went through with it, and we attended the same church and had the same family. Talking to him once about his atheism, I was struck by how un-emotionally charged it seemed to be for him. That’s just my impression, of course. But I don’t think I’d have even been able to talk to him, or anyone in my family, about how growing up in our church affected me.

 

Anyway, I’m getting diverted. So what I’m trying to say is I have real difficulty comprehending that something that happened to me can still be bad even if the possibility exists that someone else could have gone through it and emerge unscathed. I think this goes back, like many things, to R, and the way he always treated me as The One Without Problems. The difficulty I have asserting my identity comes from R treating me as The One Who Has No Identity, and in fact exists to validate R’s all-important identity.

 

Maybe it is wrong to try and attribute so much of my damage to someone as vulnerable as R was growing up. I tell myself this, saying to myself ‘how cruel you are being to that past R, claiming he did all of this to you, which could reflect really harmfully upon him’. But…present R doesn’t know I’m talking about him like this, and he never will. So who gets hurt?

 

I will, if I have to bottle it up any longer. That’s why I originally made this blog. I actually started it while I was still in touch with R to a degree, and I was going to use it to write down and make sense of my story, get it all in order and out of my head onto the page (/screen). I think I even had notions of using my newly put in order story to help me talk about what happened with my mum or my sister, both of whom I am close to. I don’t really think I want to do that any more. It’s been several years since then, and my relationship with my mum is starting to become by necessity more balanced, less her supporting me (she has been a constant source of emotional support in my life, and I’m very lucky to have her) and more equal, and I’m preparing for it to gradually start to tilt into me looking after her, as she ages. My sister…I guess is possible. But she had a friendship with R’s younger sister (Gwen), that was sometimes turbulent and difficult, and sometimes my sister said some things to Gwen that she regretted, stuff she said because she didn’t understand the difficult, adult things Gwen was going through because she was a sheltered teen. Her friendship with Gwen was fundamentally built on mutual respect, though, and that’s why she can have those regrets without them being part of a spiral of self loathing like my regrets about R always become. I don’t know if my sister realises how different our two friendships were, and I’d have to explain that, on top of everything else. Maybe it’s too much.

 

Now I’m not in touch with R, and haven’t been for 3 and a half years, and he doesn’t know where I live and doesn’t have my contact information and it’s the best. There was a time when I couldn’t even dream of this. So now my purpose for writing this is less immediate, and more thoughtful. I’ve had a lot of time to think over what happened and my thoughts are a bit more in order already than when I started this blog. I’ve got a long, long way to go. I’m actually seeing a new counsellor next week. I don’t know what that will be like, but hopefully it will be useful. I’m going to talk to her about my struggles with my bisexuality as well.

 

I hope to continue writing my story soon. In my ‘about’ page at the top of my blog I’ve added some profiles to keep track of who everyone is and their pseudonyms are depicted with the Animal Crossing characters I nicked them from, because it’s fun. If you play the games, there isn’t really much correlation between a character I choose’s personality and the person who I gave the name to, it’s more like ‘here’s a handy list of names and also they have these colourful animal pictures that go with them’.

 

Thanks for reading. ❤

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I saw my friend!

EDIT- Please ignore the things I said below about friend’s partner not being abusive. A few months ago I interacted with him for the first time in ages, he came with me and friend to go for coffee. He is definetly abusive. I was right to suspect but had been lulled by such a long time of not interacting with him. 😦 I am supporting my friend as best I can, but I am also in a very bad place and have very little to give. The situation is shitty all round. Please think of us.

 

 

 

 

CW- drug mention, slight mention of disordered eating (though not through eating disorder it still might trigger).

 

 

Yesterday I went to see an old friend from uni. I was really nervous about it but it turned out to be the best day ever. It’s weird when you spend so much time feeling weird nothingness and periods of down-ness (only way to say it really), suddenly a happy thing happening makes you go SUPER happy and filled with energy and love.

 

I love my friend so much. We went to an amazing Italian sandwich bar and they bought me a panini and coffee and a brownie, and when I thanked them profusely they said ‘it’s because you’re one of my best friends dude, if we were just sort of friends then we’d split the bill’. XD And my worries of us not being best friends any more just disappeared.

 

And I met my friends new dog (well its their partner’s dog too, also the dog is not that new as in she’s actually an elderly rescue dog) and she was the cutest lil puppers ever! I had so many anxieties going into this and one was what if the dog is jumpy and yappy (small dog worries) or just smells bad…but no, no smell, plus best behaved dog other than a tiny bit of pulling on the lead. No barking, no jumping up. Loves being petted by new people. (me 🙂 ) Yes I petted that dog for a good long time and talked to her and called her silly pet names. Hey I have to get it out of my system as my last gerbils has recently died and I have no furry person to talk to at home. I love animals.

 

I think they got the dog for my friend’s partner who has a lot of mental health problems. (as does my friend, and me.) Partner has, in the past, been my friend, but then we drifted apart when we stopped being at the same uni, plus I was concerned with how he was treating my friend. He lives in the flat my friend owns, and he is a foreign national with no family in this country and his family in his own country is pretty fucked up from what I know. So basically he depends on my friend for a lot, which made me worry at the time because I was scared he would become abusive, or my friend would not want to ever break up with him due to the bad situation it would leave him in. My friend would seem down, say they had become his carer more than his partner, say that he forbad them to knit because his hearing sensitivies made the sound of the clicking needles unbearable (my friend loves to knit and there’s so many workarounds that don’t involve A Ban), and things like that. I was…worried about their situation, to say the least.

 

But looking at things now, I can see that they are both managing. Partner is apparently self-medicating with weed and mushrooms, but my friend told me they make him calm and able to sleep. They did not seem concerned at all, and my friend has always been a big believer in doing what you have to do to get by. Whether its weed or drinking or eating cake. It’s a calming thought, weirdly. I work in a health sector and the messages about healthy living, sugar tax and exercising and stuff, are starting to give me a low level of anxiety about my body. I know I don’t exercise enough and don’t get enough fruit and veg, but those things are all stressful in their own ways and there are too many constraints right now. (No time or energy for exercise, and with fruit and veg there’s only a few kinds I can have before I run into ones that need to be washed, cored, chopped and/or cooked, and all of those things are a big barrier for me right now. It would involve too much hand-washing and cleaning, and to be honest it’s stressful just thinking about it. These days I eat tinned fruit, frozen peas, tinned tomatoes, and fruit like bananas and satsumas that have a solid skin, as well as sometimes fresh apples, grapes and tomatoes. Those are all ok, anything else is too much.) Sometimes I’m fed up with the messages seeping in, when going through days without sinking into self loathing sometimes feels too hard even without these extra worries.

 

My friend said that sometimes partner will do things like taking mushrooms and then petting the dog for hours on end. I think if my boyfriend did things like that I wouldn’t like it, I wouldn’t like him to take things that made him different from himself. I asked my friend though and they seem happy with the situation. Like things seem calmer, quieter and more settled in their place, and they each have their own space to call their own which they definetly need. I feel like my worries are, for now, set to rest. My friend is not some indestructable powerhouse but they are very strong in some ways. And their relationship may seem one sided in some ways but I never got the sense that my friend is unhappy or needing more support from their partner. It’s worth remembering that not all relationships can be an exactly equal give and take, and in practise that is probaby quite unusual as everyone has different degrees of need. The trick is making it work in a way that suits the people in the relationship, and if you can do that then no one else matters.

 

Another thing I appreciate about my friend was their acceptance of my germ problems. I’d say something like ‘I can’t touch food with my hands’ and they’d just nod and say ‘that’s fine.’ No interrogation or trying to logic around it like some people do. I think I have changed too since we last hung out any serious amount. My germ problems have got to a worse level, unfortunately, and my overally mood is lower, but I am also calmer, less stressed and less snappy. I used to be quite impatient with my friend sometimes. I tried to bring up my snappy behaviour during some time we spent together (a uni residential in another country) but my friend didn’t even remember it. As is so often the way. ^^ I apologised anyway though.

 

We walked, they showed me the sights, and then we went back to the flat and played a few video games, just some nice calm ones. And then they saw me off with a huge hug and a promise to see each other again soon. I miss them so much now. It’s weird because I was dreading the trip because social situations with anyone except my boyfriend are so hard for me. Now it seems like I have two people who can be on the ‘not hard’ list and that is honestly so wonderful. I nearly fell asleep at work today I was so tired but I felt so full of love still. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of spending a good day with a friend, or something else that happened to me back at new years where I met a girl and we nerded out about Death Note for about an hour. Sometimes I don’t know the difference between romantic love and friendship love, to me they are both equally powerful, and with a similar need to touch and hold somebody close. I don’t know. Maybe it’s that it reminds me that I exist outside of my boring job, that it doesn’t define me, that I’m still that excited and joyful person I used to get to be more often. I feel happy just writing this. These powerful positive emotions are strange because they come alongside the usual negativity I feel all the time, so they interact in a feeling of dizzy happiness along with a fear that I will ruin it. But for now I’m trying to just enjoy the feeling, and write it down so I can remember it forever.