The past few days I’ve been stewing over the fall-out I had with my former friend back in February (for those not in the know we’d been friends for many years, the friendship went down the toilet, she had a go at me for not saying publicly on my blog that she was a great friend, so I wrote and told her a few home truths including the fact that actually she wasn’t a great friend, and she put my private email on Facebook for 200 people to see and comment on (without my knowledge), some of whom I also knew and who then unfriended me). I thought I’d let it go, but for some reason it’s surfaced again and I just can’t get it out of my head. I woke this morning with such rage about it I felt totally overwhelmed.
My Mum is really poorly again and is currently on antibiotics for a chest infection. Any kind of infection could kill her, so it’s been a tense week. I feel so helpless, watching her gasping for breath every day. Unable to eat. Unable to sleep. Distressed, exhausted and miserable.
I was on my way to see her this lunchtime when I got stuck behind 3 cars, who were all doing 20mph behind a tractor. Fair enough. But they were on a straight road with no oncoming traffic. So in frustration I overtook them, only before I got to overtake the tractor a car came round the corner the other way. So I had to squeeze infront of the first car. Who pipped his horn at me like I was about to kill a child. Today, it was the last straw.
I pulled into the first car park I could find (which happened to be my local B&Q), got in the back seat with my dog where the car glass is tinted, and absolutely sobbed my heart out. I didn’t just cry. I had a serious meltdown.
I don’t usually do crying. When you live alone there’s not much point. There is no-one to comfort you. No-one to wipe away your tears. And no-one to make you a brew when you’re all done. All crying does is wear you out and give you a stonking headache. But today it wasn’t a choice.
I must have sobbed for 20 minutes, with the snot dripping off my chin end (I couldn’t find a tissue) but then I had to pull myself together, because I was on my way to see my Mum and couldn’t turn up upset. Unfortunately I’m one of those people who, when they cry, their whole face swells up and goes blotchy, beetroot red. So by the time I got to my Mum’s I’d concocted a story about forgetting to take my antihistamine and this had made my hayfever go bonkers (luckily, I woke with an outbreak of hives this morning so I could show her that as proof). I’m not sure she really bought it, but thankfully she was too ill to care.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I feel such rage about the incident with my friend. I don’t give a crap that we’ve fallen out. When I had my mast cell appointment in London in October it was the biggest thing I’d done in 20 years. Yet I didn’t receive a single good luck message from her beforehand. There was no text message to make sure I’d got on the train OK or had arrived at the hotel alright. There was no offer of help, despite the fact her husband works in London and they only live a short commute away. And I didn’t hear from her for weeks after I got back to see how it had all gone. I got more support and offers of help from you all on my Blog who I’ve only just met, than I did from someone who considered me one of her “closest friends”.
I think the thing that’s really hurt has been the unfairness of it all. That 200 people can sit in judgement, hearing only the case for the prosecution, not even tell the defence that the trial is taking place, then convict the defendant in their absence and without a chance to put their side of the argument. Some of these people didn’t know me from Adam. But some of them had been my friend for years, yet convicted me of being an evil monster without any of them even contacting me to ask what had happened to cause me to write the email.
I don’t do well with injustice and unfairness. It’s been a theme throughout my life. My biological father was distant and really didn’t have much to do with me, yet when I told him he’d been a bit of a rubbish Dad when I was 21 I was cast aside from my entire paternal family. I was angry for a long time at the unfairness of being blamed for simply being honest about his poor parenting skills.
When I got M.E., I was given a mental health label and accused of being lazy and depressed. This time I was blamed for catching a disease that no-one even knows the cause of.
When I struggled with my chronic and severe physical pain, yet all the scans and tests were negative, I was told I was just “sensitive” to pain and attention seeking. Blamed for having a genetic disease no-one even bothered to look for.
When I became allergic to drugs I was completely disbelieved, told I was just a panicky person, and that if I wouldn’t take the drugs I obviously didn’t want to get well. Being blamed for anaphylaxis really takes the biscuit.
Then I was blamed for not including my former friend in my Friendship blog post, but I only excluded her because she was an increasingly shit friend that I barely ever heard from and had felt increasingly hurt by her thoughtlessness about my personal situation. Then I got blamed by 200 complete strangers for pointing out how I felt.
OK Universe, I get the message. Life is unfair. You can stop smacking me round the head with the concept now ta very muchly!
Two years ago this former friend lost her Mum. It’s horrendous to lose your Mum, though surely not totally unexpected by the time you’re in your eighties, plus I’d been told they weren’t particularly close and in fact my friend had always told me she dreaded her Mum ringing or visiting because she didn’t understand her illness. I, on the other hand, am really close to my Mum. She has been my best friend my whole life. She’s the only person on the planet who really gets me. She has been the only person I’ve been able to depend on my entire illness. And I’m watching her die, slowly, painfully, agonizingly, struggling for every breath, panicking, and unable to do a thing for herself. I didn’t ever say in my email to my former friend that she shouldn’t grieve for her Mum (though after 2 years if she’s not moving on she needs some counselling). But am I being totally unreasonable to expect that she doesn’t mention it every single time she contacts me? Am I such a bitch for not wanting to be faced with her grief every single time I log on to Facebook? Is it just me that thinks it’s grossly insensitive to go on and on about her grief when my mum is terminally ill and I’m struggling to come to terms with that? If she needs to talk about it, fine. Just show a little understanding and do it with someone else and not me. To be blamed by my friends for my pain and sorrow, and for not currently being able to cope with someone else’s 2 year old grief, seems incredibly harsh.
My Mum’s long battle with illness has been tough. Just because I don’t go on Facebook telling the world about my personal life doesn’t mean I don’t have one. And just because I don’t talk about my personal life in emails to my sick friends, because I don’t want to burden them with my problems, doesn’t mean I don’t have any. I feel such hurt that I would be ostracized for not sharing my need publicly, as my former friend constantly does. But I’m going to have to let it go. Just like eventually I’m going to have to let my Mum go. But that doesn’t mean it all doesn’t hurt.