I just got of the phone to one of my best and closest friends, someone who has weathered every storm I’ve had to trudge through with me; someone who I know would pick up the phone to listen to me break down, rant and cry at any hour of the day or night (and has done, on many occasions), and has given me her time, her energy and her love over the last nine years.
I hope that she would describe me in the same fashion, and I’m fairly sure that she would. You see we met on the psychiatric ward of a hospital in South London many years ago, became firm friends, and are each others life-line in terms of all things utterly bat-shit crazy and f*****g bloody horrendous.
We have each others back, and, over the years, we’ve managed to make the best out of some fairly horrible situations and places; we have been able to have fun and find things to laugh about whilst living in institutions and dealing with medication overload, ECT and other treatments, therapies and psycho-analytic hoopla’s.
We have gone through psychosis, depression, paranoid-delusional nightmares together. We can each understand the others craziness, because whilst it has never been exactly the same, it resonates enough with the other that we can relate; and there has never been anything either of us has felt we could not tell the other.
I know, absolutely and completely, that there is nothing that I couldn’t talk to her about, and I know that she knows the same thing, and when you’re living with this diagnosis that means a lot. Meeting her when I did, and the fact that we instantly got along and have remained such close friends, is the kind of thing that could make me believe that there is a God.
Whatever we’ve been through we’ve been through together, and I know that both of our lives have been significantly improved by that simple fact.
Which is why, after just getting off the phone to her, I’m so very upset. She is at her absolute wits end; the very end of her wit, and the very end of any form of desperation and last resort grasping at straws struggling in every conceivable way possible to deal with the horrendous symptoms which are assailing her every waking moment without a moments fricking respite.
She wakes every morning and it begins. Hell- utter and complete hell. And she deals with it, every single day and in every single moment.
She has great friends around her, but because none of them have been through it themselves, they don’t understand how much she is suffering.
She is the single most loveliest person that you will ever, could ever meet. She always puts other people before herself, would always be there for a friend in need, and always struggles to wear a smile and keep herself outwardly cheery in order to save the people around her from being affected by what she’s going through.
She hates, like most people who suffer with anxiety and depression do, the idea of affecting the people around her; the idea that you are dragging down the people around you is almost as bad a feeling as the original anxious/depressed feeling, and normally works to compound the original symptoms, making them even worse to deal with.
So she acts upbeat, and cheery, and as positive as her head will allow her; normally resulting in her struggling through a night, so that the people around her won’t notice the way that she’s really feeling. Such is the loneliness and isolation of these horrible, brain bendingly cruel illnesses.
Her symptoms have progressively got worse over the last two and half or so years, and they were pretty flipping horrendous two and half years ago, so I genuinely don’t know, to be perfectly honest, how she actually manages to gets through general day to day life/interaction and socialising.
She said to be tonight that she feels like all she wants to do is sleep, but she is the type of person who pushes herself so very hard- so even when she lies down to rest she can’t get any peace of mind.
She is frantic, to put it mildly. And it makes me so very sad, and so very angry- because you just think, why? Why her?
Why is she being made to suffer in this way?
I’m not religious, in any serious sense. I would probably be classed as an agnostic, if I had to be classed at all.
(Continued in part 2)