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In Sickness and in Health. 

Good Morning All,

And a happy Monday to you. I say this probably surprisingly as many don’t like Mondays..but for me this weekend has been exceptionally difficult, and so I am somewhat relieved it’s Monday. This will be my new leaf. It’s bright, it’s blue and it’s sunny – hopefully the reflection of the week ahead.

For better for worse. In sickness and in health. Wedding vows, right? And maybe a vow we should take for ourselves too.

This weekend I knew I had a challenge ahead. What to most would usually be something to look forward to, and the old me still clinging on to a little piece of hope, for me- I saw as a 5k no walking allowed, charity run with everyone’s eyes on me no time for prep… challenge. I don’t run by the way. So it may sound easy to most, but not to me…..however, maybe…just maybe…doable. If so, I’d have been bloody proud.

It was to spend the day and evening with one of my dear friends and her friends for her birthday. Easy, right? Fun. Girl time- my fave…

Firstly, it entailed ‘organised fun’. Now usually hen dos or birthdays may have this or be strictly against it, depending on the person. For me, the thought was filling me with angst. I thought there was a chance I could use it to my advantage to plan ahead of the day for a little self-care. I knew what times the day event was and I knew what times games may start in the eve. I planned my exit strategy when I got to the daytime place, and it helped me feel I could escape at anytime if I had a panic attack. I was extremely anxious prior, but managed it 💪🏻 and did some breathing exercises after by walking ahead of the group alone. It was okay.

Evening. Gulp. Before you could say ‘andddd relax’…it was time for a game. Now if anyone knows me, they’d know I love games. I just couldn’t face one thing after the other without beloved ‘me time’ in between, can’t bare instructions I don’t understand (even simple ones can be hard to follow when your anxious it really distorts your thoughts, making it harder and harder…) and with people who I feared may look at me funny if I got into a sweat about it because I don’t know them well and felt afraid of being me = A girl of questions who likes to feel safe. Nonetheless, after a bit of kefuffle we played, it was fun..etc etc. But I was knackered. The sheer exhaustion of trying unbelievably hard all day to be ‘normal’ (word doesn’t even exist- okay, so conform to social norms-who doesn’t enjoy a party and being around different people?! Shout out and high five to anyone reading with experiences that empathise with mine, you’re not alone!!!)

Throughout the day I DID TRY to make convo with the other people, keep up to date with what’s in their lives…but I felt it wasn’t reciprocated (you can often feel it’s you against the world when your anxious, even if to the rational, this is not the case *see blog post, ‘The Power of Words’*) so it felt a struggle. You begin to question why? I know I much rather a meaningful natter about life than petty chit chat but I can handle the ‘how are you’s, yea fine thank you’s’ of party etiquette. Luckily, one girl was very sweet and I liked her approach to the whole day. She just got on with everything. She didn’t know the others well either but kept to herself with her head held high, contributed when she wanted to, got involved in every game like a true team player…AND even comforted me because she could see I was really struggling. What an angel. She really did save me that night. Her simple check ins, ensuring I had a cuppa in hand instead of alcohol and encouraged me to talk to the birthday girl because my health was important. Gold stars all over for this one. (Note to anyone-> if you ever witness behaviour such as mine at a party, follow the golden star girl’s lead in how to help, she was actually a God send.) I also managed to text a few of my other angels who got back to me straight away (you’ve always got gold stars you lot-don’t be jealous now ;)) and told me to get myself home and safe, otherwise I’d be ready for… ‘the next episode’…Dr Dre anyone?…

What they didn’t know and what noone would have (as you’re probably wondering why I didn’t speak to the birthday girl sooner), is that I was trying SO hard to give her my idea of a perfect birthday present. For a bit of context, our friendship in earlier years was made up of lots and lots of fun, mischief, under 18 clubbing in over 18 clubs…and a few good years after that dancing the night away. After my breakdown however, this all changed. Yes I could still go out but with twisted thoughts and nasty anxieties that I was still (ish) able to hide..although I don’t recommend this, as if you try and surpress it, they can manifest in more evil ways the nasty little…anyway. Yea. Basically, I really wanted to try and just be the old me, as a birthday present to her. The last few years I’ve always loved thinking of creative ways to celebrate her birthday. I love buying and making her presents; spoiling her materially and with experiences. But when it comes to being in an unfamiliar group, not my circle, where I know I can’t feel fully exposed vulnerable me (tutting at my own self-pity here), I flop. It leaves you feeling selfish and sad. This is not the case and I know she knows this. If she knew that this is what would have been bought on it’s the last thing she would have wanted…but the worst thing about it? HOW DO YOU KNOW it’s going to happen? Yes, the circumstances make it likely, but I still have faith and hope (you have to-to fight these demons!) that I still have ‘old me’ within me. I miss her, she’s still part of me. In sickness and in health. I TRIED. I had words with myself. Pep talks i’d be okay. It will be fun. But the pressure I put on myself to experience this ‘fun that must be had like a normal 20 something’ (extra pressure thanks to word play like FOMO ‘fear of missing out, when I actually have FOGO-fear of going out) *my sunflower had that too as a young woman – weird feeling of comfort there* made it backfire. Even with the breathing, knowing I can withdraw…it all fell apart and I had to leave.

With this comes acceptance. Not just from me that I need to love myself no matter what but, from my friends and partner. Whilst all this was negative in my head, I had angels reminding me I’m loved NO MATTER WHAT. How incredible is that? They love me, in sickness and in health. Unconditionally. The way my family and I would have loved to have had the chance to love my sunflower. Heart breaking.

I spent the whole of yesterday in bed, no shower, couldn’t face it. I did have small victories, though-planning my friends hen, budgeting and playing a game of scrabble (I’m so fun.) but binged the whole day. Not going to beat myself up. Today is a new day, busy week ahead. I’m going to be kind to myself. I love you Abbie, in sickness and in health.

Lots of love, Abs X 💗

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