Open friendship and OHpen friendship 

Good Morning People,

Happy Monday ✌🏻️ as you can tell this post is about friendship 👭 don’t be fooled by the latter bit, I’m not about to jump on the bandwagon of how you think someone’s a friend and they’re not, wah wah wah (sorry for the sarc, it is actually sad). But it’s more about accepting that perhaps some friendships are best had with a little openness and maybe we should go in with our eyes open too. Especially us with a mental health problem, at times even more vulnerable …

Firstly, let’s adress the power of 😊 ‘Open Friendships’, as written in the former of the title. The Friday just gone, I spent the evening at an incredible fundraiser, organised by a remarkable 18 yr old, that my partner and I just couldn’t quite believe. Her insight, wisdom, leadership and kindness blew us away.

We didn’t know anyone at this event, I found it online and thought, ‘this is right up my street’. (Literally it was, like-right up the road!)

We found ourselves sat opposite a lovely woman who was friendly and welcoming straight away. It immeditately put us at ease and conversation flowed like the vino 🍷(may I just add – it was the first evening in ages I was able to go out and drink (red wine, champers *cheap date not so much* and prosecco usually always are okay with my meds!) where I was fine! I felt meeee 😊 I was okay being meeee! It probably is worth mentioning that the event was to help raise money for our local mental health charity, so I did imagine it would be a place where I’d feel more comfortable than usual, but still-it was really something to celebrate. And because of this, my lovely partner was able to relax too and have a drink with us not worrying if I’d be anxious, planning our escape route or anything. We even carried on the night with another lady who was friends with and also sat opposite us. One of the best things about the night? It started off, just 3 ladies and a man (our table -there were many tables of people, *look at me trying to make the event sound epically big* 🙈) not knowing much about each other, getting on well and enjoying their Friday night. Perfect already, right? What made it extra special for me was throughout the night, we all became more open (not just thanks to the wine, may I add) but with each other, naturally. They liked me for me, ‘Abbie’, and may not have noticed any mental health problems – throughout the night we got to learn about each other’s experiences and it turns out we all have some. Did it hinder the original thoughts of the happy personalities we met at the beginning? No, it makes them more so lovable to me. I’m attracted to courage, resilience and emotional intelligence. All these come free with a mental health… (BAD JOKE -won’t even finish it🙈) but you get the gist. Mental health problem or not. People who don’t judge. Open friendship.

It’s not just new friendships that help with this, although I must give a shoutout to 3 people I have become close to since meeting at a chance filming event on vlogging. They all have lived experience of mental health past or present and there definitely is something in the power of peer support. Empathy like no other.

But to my existing friendships. I also spent the weekend QTing (quality timing!) with 2 dear girlfriends. One – I’m off to Ireland with this Wednesday 😀 for a little retreat and on St.Paddys, and one, whom I’m MOH (Maid of Honour-Gosh so smug, could have just said bridesmaid ;)) for in the summer. To continue my campaign on ‘stop the glorification of busy’ I much rather this than seeing someone for breakfast in the morn, another friend for lunch in the afternoon and then join more ‘peeps’ in the evening because I’m just soo busy and popular and will Instagram it all. I like QT! I love QT. I must admit, when I go to Bournemouth, often my schedule used to be like this…because I only have a weekend to see all the people I love that I used to grow up with and I want to see them. But you get the gist? Make QT for the people that matter 😊 it’s made me a much happier person! Simple, but we forget to implement it sometimes!

My closest people always check in on my mental health. No fear of how they may sound or me reacting, they know it means a lot to me because they care and accept my problems. We’re open. Our minds wide open and arms wide open for those times in need, even if it’s an emoji hug if they live lands away.

Then there are the more OHpen friendships. More ‘OH’, okay then. I’m not even going to dedicate time to these through my blog today actually as its a happy uplifting one that flowed and with a key message to – nurture the special ones.

Happy Opennness,

Lots of love,

Abz X 💚

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