Friendships work for me
Posted by AliceRitaK
13th Jul 2014

This weekend and last I've found myself in the company of old and new friends, all of whom hold a special place in my heart and help to soothe the pain and angst that I often feel. I am a depressive with an anxiety disorder.

Isolating is sometimes appealing to me because of my illnesses. I can reach a point during any one day at which the world outside becomes too much. I become fearful. I know there is no valid reason, that these are only feelings and that feelings won't kill me. But old habits die hard and it's powerful stuff. I have an internal dialogue with myself - sensible adult me who tells me that I know isolating hurts, that it's good to walk the dog or finish the ironing, staying present and little me, maybe victim me who wants to hide. Either side can win.

I used to overeat, but thankfully I don't use food anymore to hide in or to soothe me. I've learnt that it doesn't work, that it's a false friend. I've found the strength to say no and recognise it for what it is. I attended a mindful eating weekend while I was lucky enough to visit Esalen at Big Sur in California. Only two days but I learnt a great deal about how this works. How our minds and taste buds are programmed. If I remember this I can calm my mind and feel soothed.

Last week spent a lunch hour with old friends and reminisced about our teenage years, much general silliness ensued. But there was an extra dimension because as adults we shared what was going on for each of us at the time. We all had our own problems and demons to overcome. Somehow it strengthens our bonds and makes us more special as friends, because as adults we can see the reality and difficulty of our stories. If only we had known at the time.

Nowadays it's encouraged to speak out about such things but back then in the 60s we'd have been laughed out of town or been shamed for our general wickedness if speaking out about abuse or ignorance. But that's not happening now. We have all moved on.

Today I spent the day in Cambridge and punted on the river. I loved the water, beautiful buildings and the laughter I shared with my work colleagues. I felt safe and held and part of a group. I loved it.

On Friday I met some dear ladies who ran the course in California, took a risk to ask if they were free for dinner and spent a lovely few hours in their company. This is a far cry from my situation some 7 years or so ago. I'm pleased I took the risk.

Friends do work for me. I am blessed to have so many these days. I thank them all <3

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