Yesterday I met one of my best friends. I’ve known her for seven years but sadly we live three hours away from one another. Up until yesterday, I hadn’t seen her in three years.
My friend is a mother to two beautiful children and has a wonderfully supportive husband. She has been a great friend to me and although we haven’t seen each other in a long time, we text each other pretty much every day and she has been an amazing friend to me in times of need.
The last time we were together, we had a lovely weekend out and about in Newcastle: shopping, eating and drinking. We danced til we couldn’t move and boozed until we were slaughtered.
When I met my friend today, she looked incredulously at me and asked why I was limping.
“This is how I walk now,” came my reply.
“Why are your hands shaking like that?” She asked.
“Oh, they do that all the time now.”
“Do you want a drink?”
“I can’t cos I’m not allowed to drink with the medication I’m on.”
Looking at my friend’s face, I realised how much life had changed for me. Where was the party girl who’d stay out all night, wearing 6″ heels, drinking shots and dancing until the club shut?
Where’s the girl who can shop all day and party all night?
Where was the girl my friend met at a wedding 7 years ago who got steaming drunk off her face and had to be carried to the waiting car?
She’s gone, maybe forever.
I went to another friend’s hen night tonight and managed two and a half hours before leaving. It was lovely to see my friend and have a meal but, once we went into a bar, with the thumping music and crowds of people, I just couldn’t handle it. My head was banging, my bones were throbbing, I felt sick. All I wanted was a chair and some quiet. Now this may just sound like the ramblings of an old lady but, trust me, I don’t want to be like this.
I miss going out with my friends and dancing all night, getting drunk and being silly. I miss being able to go out and have fun and still get up for work the next day. I appreciated that, with age, I may suffer with hangovers more than I used to but in no way did I expect to be on a cocktail of prescription drugs, going through all sorts of therapies and living the life of an 80-year-old.
I realised earlier this week that I haven’t been as honest with my friends as I should have been. I’ve played down my illness for the past 15 months because I didn’t want to bum everyone out and sound negative and whingey. One of my friends has just had a baby, one is getting married and another is so rushed off her feet that she doesn’t have time for herself. I didn’t want to burden everyone with my crappy problems. I realised that when they asked me how I was, I replied with “OK.” They know I work part-time now but I don’t think they understood the implications the condition has had on my life. I haven’t withheld this information out of spite or bravery, I just didn’t want to burden anyone.
I need to start being more honest, with myself and others.