Tag Archives: friends

Relationships

I have been thinking a lot about relationships this week. Primarily because it is a big part of my studies in my counselling course. But also because it is making me see what I am and how I have allowed myself to behave and be treated by others. We look at the different dynamics between people, the way we form these relationships and the impact they have on each of us.

Some relationships are strong and unbreakable. They are pure and good and the people we make these connections with are true and loyal. They stay with us through good times and hard, we change together and we cannot imagine them ever not being part of our lives. We feel their joy and pain and they in turn feel ours. We make each other better for being in each other’s lives and we support each other in our choices.

Some are passionate yet transient, intense, burn too brightly and then fade away just as quickly as they arrived leaving holes in our lives that make us feel empty and incomplete for a while. The scars they leave need time to heal yet often we seem unable to prevent ourselves from repeatedly picking at the scabs and opening ourselves up to yet more pain as we relive it over and over again, unable to break the pattern.

We tell ourselves that we need these toxic destructive relationships and that the people that cause us this hurt and torment need us too. We become co-dependent, not able to function without constant attention and contact. We think we have to know where they are all the time and spend every waking moment trying to understand what we could do to make it better because we think we need them to function. We think we cannot do without each other when in reality they need us far more than we need them.

We lose ourselves and allow ourselves to be treated as we would never treat another, accepting our pain is if it is a trophy to take out and gaze upon with pride. We tell ourselves they will change and realise the impact of their behaviour and be what we want them to be. We tell ourselves that they don’t mean to hurt us, they can’t help it and they are doing their best. We tell ourselves that it isn’t their fault that they behave the way they do and worst of all we tell ourselves that it isn’t our fault that we are running head on into yet another train wreck whilst screaming for help.

Every word from them is analysed for it’s true meaning. Every time we tell them how upset we feel at their behaviour it is turned back on to us as our fault. Our neediness. Our misinterpretation. That we are spoiling things and not accepting them for who they are, that they are giving us what they can and we should be grateful for their minimal attention. They come to us when they need us and leave us panicking and desperate when they leave yet again. We are gaslighted into feeling that we are the ones with the problem when in fact it is them that are incapable of empathy and the maintenance of a normal, healthy relationship.

Some people stay and some people go. Some we will fight to keep because it is right and good. Some we must let go for our own sanity before every part of us is stripped away. Our pride, our self worth and our dignity.

I am blessed to have some incredible people in my life who have been through more torment than any human should conceivably be able to survive yet somehow they have made it anyway and come out wiser, better and stronger. They know who they are, what they are capable of and are respectful of other human beings. They are strong, resilient and able to see what serves them well and what does not. They value and respect themselves and me.

I am proud to call these people my friends. They make me a better person for knowing them. We understand each other with no judgment and give each other unconditional positive regard, accepting each other for who and what we are.

Together we are strong.

We help each other grow and we understand that sometimes we will make mistakes but that at the end of it we still love each other because without that we are alone.

I am not alone.

If we have people in our lives that we love and we are able to support each other and help each other grow into the best we can be then we must hang on to that and never let go.

Anything less is not good for us no matter how beautiful and tantalising…if it continually causes us pain and we know it then however sad we are and however falsely we believe that we need it, we do not.

Thanks for joining me on the ride…

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Feeling the fear and having MS anyway….

I’ve been hiding, reluctant to write because I know what it will bring……it will mean talking about what has been happening to me lately and that in turn means that I must accept yet again that I have a chronic, as yet incurable, illness. I have Multiple Sclerosis and for the most part, despite being diagnosed nearly 14 years ago, I am very well. In fact the odd up and down notwithstanding I have escaped anything really life affecting for 7 years so I am indeed blessed. I don’t see a neurologist and I am not taking anything or doing anything different from the majority of you reading this. I am just trying to live my life as normally as possible. Maybe I am in denial, maybe I haven’t really dealt with it at all but that leads to the question of how exactly do you do that?

How exactly do you come to terms with the diagnosis of a physical and potentially mentally disabling condition when you are only 27? How do you then go on to deal with it every day for the rest of your life? How do you cope when everything that you thought you were and would be has irrevocably altered beyond all recognition and your control? How do you live every day knowing that you might wake up the next not able to walk, dress yourself, go to the toilet on your own, pick up your children – even feel them cuddling you, drive, swallow…….the list goes on.

I think my answer has to be that I don’t really know. I don’t have a magic solution to this other than to just keep going. I remember being terribly afraid to plan anything at all – holidays, nights out, even playdates for my children too far into the future because I could never assume that I would be well. I was almost paralysed by it. Now sometimes I find myself drifting too far in the other direction, feeling a sense of desperate urgency to cram everything into the present whilst I am well…just in case. This, I know, puts huge pressure on my marriage as my poor long suffering husband tries to juggle our finances to accommodate my intermittent panic attacks about my health as I want to book holidays and trips for the family. It’s hard to calm down sometimes when I feel my body betraying me and I wish for the life that I always thought I would have.

These moments are less frequent though as I have begun to realise over the years that we all face our own mortality every day in some way or another. We all get ill in some way or another too and we are all unpredictable as is life. Strangely you know I really rather like that. It does give a sense of freedom somehow as you never know what is around the corner.

So, I try to just keep going. I do the things that I want to even though I know at times they might get interrupted by my health although in truth who can’t say that? As I said earlier – we all get ill. I try very hard not to get too frustrated whilst I am having an attack and try to use that time to regroup, to do things that I might not otherwise do like reading a lot (uninterrupted) and watching films that I have longed to see but haven’t quite previously found the time to.

Most importantly I want to be there for my children and my husband – emotionally if I can’t be physically – whilst really trying not to become too self absorbed and spiralling down into my own special pity party. My friends help me with that too, they don’t let me feel too sorry for myself and they check in with me now and then to make sure that I haven’t forgotten that I am still part of their world and for that I am truly grateful as MS can feel very very lonely.

I have at times felt very lonely indeed through no fault of any of those people in my life that I love but because I shut myself away when I get ill. I get scared that no-one will really want to be around me when I am not the ‘normal’ Anna that they are used to. The one that goes running, makes them laugh at Bootcamp, goes out for lunches with them and so on. I get scared that they won’t want to see the me that is frightened, wobbly, tearful and not coping some days. That is my insecurity and not their failing and getting older has made me realise that good friends stick with you regardless but only if you let them in and don’t push them away when you aren’t your own perfect version of yourself.

So I will keep going anyway which is why I like running (or in my case ambling) because one day I won’t be able to and that day may come sooner for me than most people and in the meantime I will run and laugh and dance and love those special precious human beings that are my family and dear friends and we will have fun no matter what. I know my family will love me whatever and I know my girlfriends will push me in a wheelbarrow whilst taking the piss out of me and that is exactly what I need. Someone once asked me when I got diagnosed if I was going to move into a bungalow. I resisted the urge to tell them to run into my fist and instead asked them if they were planning on moving into an old people’s home because after all one day they would be old.

I was going to add a photo of me after I ran the Sports Relief 3 miles at the weekend with my friends and family but actually I have decided on my Cancer Research naked selfie. Because it is honest. This is me. My name is Anna and I have Multiple Sclerosis and I will NEVER give up.

 

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