I want to get some things off of my chest. I want to tell you how you made me feel because of my anxiety. I want you to know I’m doing OK.
We met many years ago. It was a job that filled a gap between better things for us; you teaching in Australia, and I was off to university soon. I trained you on the workplace ways when you joined, and we got on so well.
We discovered a love for geography, with you holding your degree in this very subject, and me starting the same subject shortly.
As time went on, we grew closer and closer, and when the time came for me to leave the job we were in, we stayed in touch. It was difficult whilst you were in Australia, but looking back that was never a problem for us. The minute you came back, we were meeting up most weekends, sometimes in the week, too.
When you moved back, you didn’t seem to get on so well with your housemate. I guess looking back, I was a welcome friend to you at the time. Your family was miles away and most people had lost touch with you.
You would also sometimes have blazing arguments with your mum over the phone; she didn’t agree with the people you spent time with and called us common. She felt you should be associating yourself with better people, and not those who worked where you worked (coincidently the same place we both left).
That should really have been the first sign to what would ultimately be the end of our friendship (on your terms, of course). But I was naïve and thought I was a good judge of character. Hence, I never thought anything of this. After all, you didn’t agree with her anyway, you said.
There would be the odd occasion where you would reduce me to tears. It would be when I wasn’t available for you. It was when you said I kept cancelling on you when I was actually just changing the plans. It was when you thought I was drinking too much without you. But, again, I thought nothing of it.
Fast forward a few years, many club nights and copious amounts of alcohol, and you’re engaged; about to get married.
By this point, you were living in London, teaching full time. You had a lovely apartment and was enjoying the London life. Just thinking about living there would make me anxious, but I never let on that, of course.
You invited me to your hen do which I felt like I ruined from the very beginning. The plan for the weekend was a secret, but I thought you knew what the theme was. I let this slip when I asked you if you had picked up any stuff yet. I felt absolutely terrible. But, boy, was that the best part in hindsight.
I was anxious from the start and nearly cancelled, not even caring about the money I paid as a deposit. But I thought I was just being silly (I wasn’t diagnosed with anxiety at this point but I knew that there was something there), and carried on.
The events for the day were definitely you. Some dancing (filmed), lots of alcohol, a homemade curry by your future husband’s father, and a night out in the big town close by. I drank to calm my nerves; too much. Definitely.
But, I did make a friend of your cousin. She was nice, pleasant to talk to and had recently felt anxiety like me. We talked a lot that evening before food, and I told her about our nights out back home. I thought nothing of it.
During dinner, for someone reason one moment I was fine, the next I was a crying mess. Your mum had asked if I was okay and that was it – the floodgates opened. Husband-to-be’s sister knew the signs of anxiety and took me away quickly. I couldn’t thank her enough at that point. It was a relief to be away from everyone and cry to someone who understood.
But you thought I was just ‘too drunk’. Crying was me letting out the pent up emotions that had been building from the start of the day. I know the alcohol didn’t help, but this would have happened anyway. But you looked down on me, looked at me like I was crying out for attention, and ignored me the rest of the night.
You might say I was being paranoid at the time but your mum judged me from the moment she met me. I felt it. Her eyes bore into me, even when I had my back turned. She was loving every moment of this mini breakdown. As if saying to you, her beloved daughter, “I told you so”.
But, even after all that crying, all that worrying what you would think, and whether I was still welcome, I still came out with you. I probably should have just taken up my partners offer of getting a taxi to the next town across, but I didn’t.
I went straight to bed after the night in town. You had avoided me at the club, even when I tried to say sorry. It fell on deaf ears; for yourself and your mum.
The weekend was finished the following day and we parted company. You were still frosty with me but I knew why and expected that. I blamed myself for my actions and felt like a complete burden. Why did you always make it feel like everything was my fault?
What I wasn’t expecting was to be called some weeks later asking you to tell me what I’d said to your cousin.
You told me that your cousin had told you things I’d said but wasn’t letting on. It was causing issues with your family and you wanted the truth from me. I told you about our conversations about going out in town, that you had arguments with your mum, and some of the things she said about you going out with ‘people like me’.
I was getting upset by this point but the call ended eventually, much to my relief. But, after some time I hadn’t heard from you and decided to check social media. You’d de-friended me and got your friend and husband to do the same.
That was the moment when you’d decided to disown me, and we’ve not spoken since. I felt incredibly hurt; wounded in fact. The person I thought I knew, got rid of me in an instant. The one person I thought would understand my increasing anxiety.
Turns out I didn’t know you at all. This whole situation stayed with me for years after – it’s been about 3 years since the hen do now. But today I have some things to say to you. You’ll ever read this, mind. But I have to get some things off of my chest.
1. You just didn’t understand mental health at the time, and that’s okay.
How could I ever expect you to understand when you’d never been around it? You’ve never felt anxiety and doesn’t run in your family. I should have known better really. For that, I am sorry.
2. My mother and your mother are VERY different people. I know that now, too.
I guess I compared your mother to mine. This was wrong, and I know that now. My mum would never judge my friends, making them feel little. She just wants me to be happy, which I am.
3. I was actually jealous of your life.
You’ve had monetary support throughout your life, went to a private school and got the best grades. Who wouldn’t be jealous of that? But now I know I would never want your life. I have a great life, house, partner, job and this blog. I have everything I need.
What I truly want you to know is that all I wanted to do was please. I hated (and still do hate) confrontation, but I should have spoken up more. I no longer let people walk all over me and I thank you for that. I am stronger than I’ve ever been, and this wouldn’t be the case if you hadn’t have done what you did.