When I woke up, I was in relatively good spirits. This was until I realised that I couldn’t have my morning ritual of a nice latte, thanks to getting bloods taken. It may seem menial to those of you reading, but my coffee is literally my only vice. It is also something that I like to enjoy in peace and quiet, sitting in the dark, in the kitchen, looking out the window, just relaxing. I’m fully aware of how that sounds, just putting that out there. It’s not as sad as it sounds. It’s the one time of the day I don’t have to moan, repeat myself, shout, argue, or be angry. It is a sacred time.
Given there would be no chilling out with my latte today, I just proceeded to get ready. As I stood in the shower, thinking about the conversation my husband I had just had, about growing up and all our old friends from when we were really young, you know, back when life was totally innocent? I was reminded that today is my old friend, Kelly’s, birthday. Kelly passed away 4 years ago. In the end we weren’t even all that close, however, she was one of my best friends during my darkest times. Since having my kids, we drifted further apart, only speaking on special occasions, or when she was wasted and emotional. In later years, I stopped answering the phone to Kelly as often, and I wouldn’t even feel guilty. I saw it as; I had moved on, she hadn’t, and I didn’t need that in my life! Not when I’d worked so hard to move on.
The day of Kelly’s funeral was a surreal day. I think because I’d not been close with her in the end, so it all didn’t feel real. When I arrived at the crematorium, other than my husband and an old mutual friend, I knew no-one. I looked around at this sea of strangers. A rather haunting, dubious looking bunch. All unsavoury, and I’m not even convinced they weren’t completely off their tits. In middle of this sea of strangers, was her Mum, Grace, who was completely unrecognisable. Aged terrible, and clearly off her face. When Grace saw me and came in for a big hug, telling me how much she’d missed me being around. All I could think was “Please get off me!”, how bad is that? I didn’t even cry at the funeral. I just sat, scrutinising the song choice. Not a single song was something Kelly would have liked. We then ended up in the most horrific pub, where I had to sit on the edge of the seat because of the grime, there was no fizz in my drink and the glass was dirty. I sat in this pub, just looking around at this scaly bunch and all I could think was “This was very nearly my life”. Needless to say, we didn’t hang around and we were promptly out of there.
I spent the next few days thinking about Kelly, our fun times, our not so fun times, how differently our lives ended up being. Then the thoughts of “Could I have helped her?”, “Should I have tried to influence her more?”, “If I didn’t shut her out, and she had someone more stable to rely on, would she have ended up like this?” Again with the blaming myself. I drove to the crematorium gardens a few weeks after her funeral, and just sat in the garden, and it was at this point it hit me. I cried. I felt really bad for all the times I’d ignored my phone, for not being more constant in her life, for not trying to help her, for not being the friend she clearly needed, for being so incredibly selfish with my own needs, and that I left her behind.
When I was a teenager my Mum would throw my out on a whim. Seriously! Granted I wasn’t a nice kid. If I was my Mum, I’d have likely worn me like a shoe, but the fact is, she didn’t have that approach. My Mum didn’t parent, she just pushed problems away. Resulting in my being homeless, a lot! During these times, my friend was really there for me, making sure I had somewhere to go and that I wasn’t alone. Now, this was also what helped make me worse, don’t get me wrong. It pulled me deeper into a darker lifestyle, and was the root to all my addictions. Without my friend though, I honestly don’t know where I would have been, or how I would have coped.
Every year on her birthday, I get sad. I think of the age she would have been, had someone cared enough to help her. Had someone encouraged her to be more, and to want more from life? It also leads me to think of all the scenarios for my life. All the dark turns it could have taken. Would I have been dead by now? Quite possibly. It’s a dark train of thought to be caught in, and really, it needs to stop. Much like all my other dark thoughts.
By the time I got out of the shower today, I was feeling a bit meh. Although, I knew I had my meeting today, and this was something to be looking forward to, right? I would love to say I was keen, but I was nervous. The thought of having to tell a complete stranger what is going on with me, why do I feel I need to be there. How do you even begin to articulate something short and concise. Can you just blurt out “Because I’m a crazy, scatty bitch that needs to be happy”?
Once in work, I just couldn’t focus. I didn’t care to focus. My mind was on ways to tell this stranger what is going on. When it was time to leave for my appointment, I was so sure I knew how I was going to explain it all. Do you think that went to plan? Hells no. As I sat in the waiting room, on my own, I just scanned around looking anywhere, but the receptionist. The room was almost bare, bar a rack of leaflets for a series of mental health issues. I started to read the titles: Insomnia? Anxiety Disorder? Depression? Anger management?, do I just pick them all up? Fill my pockets for some reading material? I was ticking all of the boxes for these.
My name was called, and my palms started to sweat profusely. My mouth instantly dried up. I’d forgotten all of the words I’d thought up to say. The woman who came to get me, was a petite woman, softly spoken, and very pretty. Straight away I’m thinking she’s probably judging me for my unkempt appearance (jeans, boots, jumper, barely brushed hair, spots out). I’d say she was probably the same age as me, if not a little bit older. This leads me to start thinking that my telling her about my life, she’ll judge me for not having my shit together. All of this is before we’re half way up the corridor. I’m trying to fix my hair by running my fingers through it, and making attempts to catch a reflection in some glass panels on doors we’re walking past. All to no avail, we were walking too fast!
This first appointment was just an assessment. It was a lot of questions about my mood of late, when did I notice my moods changing, rating my happiness/agitation/anxiety etc. Given it was an assessment, I didn’t expect to cry. I did though. Quite a bit. I felt very vulnerable, telling a stranger my insecurities and how sad I’m feeling. Things I’d only been able to admit to my husband, and myself, only the day before. We spoke about my history with mental health, my attempted suicide, how I feel as a parent, my anxiety issues, health anxiety, the time I nearly died (the root of my health anxiety), it was just all over the place. So much to cover, and not enough time. I didn’t feel I explained myself well, although the therapist seemed happy with me, and confident they can help.
This doctor just sat opposite me, smiling when I was talking, making encouraging comments, trying to keep the flow on topic. The whole time my mind is racing as I’m talking, trying to think up the next thing to say. This caused the conversation to ping pong around. Bouncing between present day, a couple of years ago, and then all the way back to the beginning. I was trying to let her understand where it comes from, or how it could be linked, or where my OCD’s come from. How on earth do you fit that into an 1 hour appointment? I was so nervous with every question asked. Like it was an exam and I could get them wrong. Or that I wasn’t getting what she was trying to get at. I’m shaking my head at myself as I write this, because I know how bonkers it sounds. I figure that her smiling the whole time, and being really encouraging is a good thing though.
I was feeling a bit down after my appointment. I think because it was just a little emotional talking about everything, and because of me thinking about Kelly. I am feeling a bit better now though, as I have my appointment for next week sorted, and I know that in 20 weeks time, I should feel better. That is all I want. I was asked at the end what I wanted from them. If they could wave a magic wand to help me, what would I want? My simple answer was “To be happy, less angry, and more confident”. If they can give me the tools I need to have these, I’d be eternally grateful.
Positives? Well, my first appointment/step is out of the way. I’ve started my journey on figuring out what my issues really are, where they stem from, and how I can work on living with them better, or even, being free of them altogether. I have been enrolled in a 20 week session, and I’ve been offered a group confidence thing, although I think I’ll swerve that. I’m all for having confidence, it is something I lack completely, but I’m not one for group sessions. I just envision some hippy bullshit. Yes, I know, that it incredibly pessimistic and it’s probably nothing like that. I’ll still be swerving it though. Who knows, I may be more open to it in the future.