Tag Archives: friends

And I wonder if you know How it really feels to be left outside alone

Duvet days

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Baby Lulu helping Mummy out with the guest list at Fabric

A friend of mine from Instagram recently posted the following quote ‘main caption above recently. She is a fellow spoonie, a fellow endurer of autoimmune disease and chronic pain and fatigue. Her post got me thinking a lot about how being so unwell really changes ones relationships in a way that can be really hard to deal with, from both sides. I spend my time either at work or at home, there are no other destinations for me these days. I am too tired, too sick, in too much pain. This is not how it used to be. I have spent half a life time working in clubs, I am a naturally sociable and curious person, I like being out and about, meeting people, talking, eating out. Having fun.

If I thought having baby might curtail these activities (it didn’t really, my ex husband and I just let Lu slot into our lifestyle, with a few less ‘out until at dawn’ scenarios) then it had nothing on that the impact developing fibromyalgia had on my life.

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Pimms in Nottinghill

I understand that at times friends don’t ask me to go places because they know I won’t be able to and I imagine that they don’t want to put pressure on me or make me feel bad when I decline. I cannot cope without rest, lots of rest, so that does put a stop to evening afterwork shenanigans. This has also meant that I don’t make plans anymore, ever because I have had to cancel at the last minute more often than not as my illness varies greatly day to day, I could be fine one day and then barely able to walk the next. I hate hate hate feeling like I have let people down so now I just don’t make any plans. I spend my evenig and weekends with my mum and my daughter. I know it probably isn’t hugely healthy, that I should be with friends, to let off steam, chat, be ‘me’ but we don’t always get to do what we want. I know I am doing my best.

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Lunch at the Oysterage in Orford, Suffolk

I’m not trying to do anyone a disservice, maybe the people who don’t ask me just don’t wat t see me, I can accept that! But for those who do like me, it is really important for me to still be asked to spend time with you, it makes me feel valued and wanted and all those things we are never meant to rely on other people for but we do. Each time a friend invites me to do something, knowing that I will probably say no or cancel at the last minute, it makes me feel really included which is so important when one has an illness that can be so debilitating and isolating.

So please, if you have a friend who is unwell, be it depression or any other illness, please remember, when they say no to an invitation, don’t be hurt, don’t vow to not bother again, it matters that you asked, it matters so so much.

 

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I’ll be there for you

Ah, friends, as in the people, not the TV show. It was always such a big deal in youth to have lots of them wasn’t it? It was a sign of being popular, which in turn was a sign of being worthy I suppose, in our own twisted adolescent minds. Now, I have spent most of my life feeling painfully shy but as time has gone on people I meet and old friends seem astonished that I feel this way because I am very chatty, able to talk to complete strangers – shout out to the lady on my commute last week who told me her lipstick was Mac Ruby woo when I completed her on it! – and generally able to hold my own so I have started to think that maybe I’m not as shy as I thought, who knew?? But I digress.

Friends. I don’t have loads of them, but I have enough of them, its quality not quantity. I am lucky enough to have friends from my primary school, my secondary school and from university. Each of them a reminder of those periods in my life, people who share my memories. This has become more and more important to me as I have got older. I think it’s because I like myself more and I can look back on my youth with the luxury of hindsight and think , you know what, you did okay out there in the big bag world all alone at 18, and things that used to make me cringe when I recollect them, don’t anymore, I’ve given my younger self a break. So now, instead of comparing myself to others and thinking I don’t measure up to peers I enjoy the catch us, the reminiscing. This train of thought has been sparked by my bestest friend from uni returning to the UK for a few weeks jolly from Australia where she lives with her partner and 2 gorgeous little boys. We were thick as thieves at uni, in Liverpool, where we met as we were on the same corridor in the halls of residence, we got drunk, a lot, danced, a lot, and had loads of fun. We drifted apart a bit, we had long term boyfriends, she got a proper job, I faffed about with my part time MA, then moved back to London when I’d completed. She stayed in Liverpool to do her PhD and then she and her partner emigrated to Aus, where she founded and runs super successful publishing house, is there no stopping this woman??? We’ve kept in touch via Facebook, which is really rather passive isn’t it but still a great way to keep up with peoples news but here she was going to be in the UK in the flesh and she would see me in the flesh, much different to my uni days, not helped by being so sick, and hideously bloated – honestly I could fit 2 of my uni days me into my current body. I realise that I may sound hideously vain but there you go, anyway I warned her I didn’t look great but said meeting would be super.  And you know what? It bloody was, I’ve been on a natural high since our supper together. We compared notes, we discussed our lives, as much as you can with a 6 year old in ear shot – I took Lulu with me as I wanted them to meet. And I remembered how much I loved my wonderful friend and why we had been friends for such a long time. It was a timely reminder that I am incredibly lucky in my life, in so many ways, and that despite being basically a social hermit for the last couple of years I can sill hold a decent conversation. Go me!

 

Here I go again on my own.

Last night Lulu sat in her bed weeping, begging me not to send her to school in the morning because she hated everything about it, and more specifically because she was lonely at school. Lonely? How could my gorgeous, kind, vivacious baby even know the existence of such a word let alone have a concept of what it means? and so there, sat on her bed holding her hand and wiping away her tears my heart fell out of my chest and shattered all over the floor. Which is where it remains.

I have written previously about Lulu’s difficulties settling into school, but I genuinely felt that things had improved. She doesn’t dawdle in the morning and scoots happily off to her class room, other children say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to her each day, when I drop her at her class room she goes off with out a backward glance to do her drawings at the communal table. She has never been sent home from school, apart from the time she had laryngitis. On Sunday night she indicated she didn’t want to go to school the next day because she had no friends and no one who she asks will play with her, that the only people she speaks to are teachers, that people play rough in the playground and she sometimes gets pushed. I have already spoken twice with her class teacher about my concerns but she assured me that Lu does have friends, does play with others and is never sad at school. I believe her so what to do?

I like Lulus school, it is academically good, the staff are nice, the parents and children are nice, the headmistress is lovely, the ethos is brilliant but not all children will fit into all schools and visa versa, neither of these things are necessarily anyones fault. Square peg, round hole. And this is the conclusion I am coming to regarding Lulu. There are 60 children in her reception class, split into four groups but at anyone time, including the children from nursery who come into play, there can be 80 plus small children in one room doing any number of activities that they choose, drawing, writing, craft, art etc. It is a vibrant place to be but I can see that it can also be potentially overwhelming. Lulu’s concept of having’friends’ may be different to the actual reality of it but she started full time nursery at 10 months and didn’t seem to have these issues. She isn’t a ‘I have one best friend’ type of child, she plays with lots of different children but is finding it hard when she asks someone to play and they say no. She doesn’t seem to grasp that it isn’t because they don’t like her but they that want to do something else.

I hung out in Lulus classroom this morning for an hour or so, just watching what was going on, parents are allowed to stay as long as they want, it isn’t sormething I have done before as I don’t think it is helpful for Lulu as it could prove to be a distraction but I needed to see what was going on. It was as I expected, a classroom of happy, loud, busy children. Playing in one area then moving on to other things as they wished, Lulu did the same.

The only conclusion I have come to is that the school may just ‘too much’ for her, that she may fit better in a smaller class, a smaller school but its not as if we can magic these things out of nowhere. I am a single parent with no family, save my mum, I can’t afford school fees for a private school, I could consider one of the small local village schools but how do I get her there and home. I work full time in London and my mum can’t drive. So what to do? I’ve decided to sit with it a while, and see how the next few months go, but I worry that she will feel I have ignored her fears, that I don’t care when she says she is unhappy, that I increase her sense of loneliness. I just want Lulu to be happy, that’s all, she is only four. That’s not too much to hope for is it?