I’ve pondered over sharing this for a while but I believe that I can help others to know that they are not alone if I do. This is far from a pity post, just simply sharing my story. Am I anxious of the reaction it will bring, yes…is that going to stop me…no!
When I first became diagnosed with M.E. I was told by a fellow sufferer that friendships would change and some friendships would disappear altogether. I didn’t think that this would happen to me, don’t be daft I thought. How wrong I was!
**Just a little note….no names will be named in this post – I am not into causing unnecessary drama or bad mouthing people**
At the time of having M.E. diagnosed I had close friendships that I thought were real, that I thought of as people caring for me. These people did a lot for me which I am grateful for. However, the things they did for me was decided by themselves, I never asked for help. For people who know me know I don’t like asking for help. No matter how much I am struggling I cannot bring myself to ask for help. It goes against my very nature. I think somehow I feel I am not worthy of asking for help. Anyway, whatever the case is they helped me, whether I wanted it or not. The trouble is it became suffocating. I had them in my life constantly. Wanting to take me here and there (even when I felt I couldn’t), at my house early in the mornings, organising my life. Okay, they were probably only trying to help, getting the hoover out, taking me out for a coffee etc but I felt I was having to live up to their expectations even though they said they understood my illness. I am unsure whether I am getting this across properly, I don’t want to sound ungrateful but my life was taken over. The friendship became very toxic in that they were with me every day and took offence if I said I couldn’t or didn’t want to do something. I used to dread getting up in the morning to see the barrage of text messages – and there were many, every day. It was not healthy for anyone. I was never allowed to speak my own mind because I was constantly belittled if I didn’t hold the same opinion as them. I was “weird” if I didn’t agree with them. They would bad mouth other people including my friends and I truly believe just wanted me to disregard everyone else in my life. They hated it if I did anything that did not involve them.
You must understand that I was at a very vulnerable stage in my life, I didn’t fully understand what was happening to me, I was trying to get to grips with my life with M.E. and I think this was their opportunity to swoop in.
I was lucky enough to go on a family holiday about a year and a half after being diagnosed with M.E. This holiday was booked a year before I was diagnosed and was out of the country. One of the friends ended up having an operation while I was away but joked constantly that I had booked the holiday on purpose so that I couldn’t be there for her. I was told I had to phone her son on the day of her operation (from abroad) to check that she was okay. I was still under their spell and so I did as I was told. By this point in my illness I had to stop driving because I couldn’t be safe enough behind the wheel of a car. On my return to the UK I did ring and speak to my friend who was home recovering. She would be unable to drive herself for a while due to the recovery time after her operation. I had an awful couple of days after returning to the UK as my body crashed badly with the after affects of the holiday and the flight home. This was thrown back in my face, I was expected to visit my friend at her home on the day I returned.
A month or so passed and our friendship became a little distant which was a breath of fresh air for me but I was placed with carrying the blame. I had a text message from the other friend telling me how much was done for me when I was first diagnosed and yet I apparently didn’t lift a finger to help the friend who was recovering from her operation. Can I just point out that I could barely look after myself some days let alone trying to get to this friend’s house with it not being close by and having to try to look after her. I kept in contact by phone but this was deemed as not enough.
The friendship broke down entirely in the October and I was banished from their lives and tarnished as the bad friend who did nothing for them. I was blocked on all social media and even though I was previously told that if they ever had a problem with me or if our friendship was rocky that they would fight to the ends of the earth to sort it out – no such fighting was had!!
Fast forward again to the future when I was in the town centre. I had an appointment and my parents had taken me into town. I was in a shop when one of the friends was in the queue in front of me. I decided to stand my ground, I didn’t have anything to be sorry for. However, she decided to raise her voice saying “oh look who it is”…which I blankly looked with shock as I couldn’t believe the words and she carried on with “oh so you are up town gossiping with your friends”…I had to look around me to check she was talking to me. I wasn’t with any friends, I was going for an appointment but just stood and looked at her. Was I meant to be at home crying into my pillow because we were no longer friends??
A year after the friendship broke down I received an “anonymous” letter in the post. I say anonymous as it wasn’t signed but it told me all I needed to know about who sent it and who wrote it. I won’t go into details but there were things in that letter only they knew. They attacked not only me but my children in this letter and as you can imagine upset me a great deal. There was and still is no question as to where this letter came from. I have never ever received such hateful words towards me and my family before. My husband understandably was extremely angry about it and took the letter to our local police who did confirm that it was a criminal offence. Addresses of the two people I believed were behind it were taken and a copy of the letter was left on a file. I was telephoned the next day by a very kind and caring policeman who told me that it proved malice was in play due to the fact that the letter was sent a year after the falling out had happened. They hoped that this was a one off as unfortunately it wasn’t unusual but they would leave the letter on file for the time being. Should I receive any other letters or any other forms of abuse I was to report it and it would then be investigated. Thankfully to this day nothing more has come through, no further communication has been had.
By me sharing this I am just showing how a friendship that I thought was a good one turned sour and toxic once I became ill.
Sadly, this wasn’t the only friendship that this happened with.
A couple that I have known for over 20 years has suffered a similar fate. About a year and a half ago I was blocked by their whole family on social media but for no reason that I could see. I sent messages, tried to call to find out what was happening but I was ignored. Finally in about July of this year I was graced with an answer. I was told that apparently I always make everything about me – which is far from the case. I always asked after them, I always made sure I checked in with their children to see how they were. Yes I couldn’t physically do much anymore but I was still on the end of the phone. However I was told that they were fed up with trying to contact me over the phone and had just decided to stop because on one occasion they tried ringing and I never answered! I tried to explain that I cannot have lengthy conversations over the phone anymore, it is too much with the cognitive energy that it uses but again I was told I made it all about me. So, due to not answering the phone a 20+ year friendship died.
So the person who told me in the beginning about friendships changing and even ending was right.
Am I a better person because of this, yes I believe I am. I spend a lot of time in the same four walls and therefore I have time to watch and see things that others dont. I have come to believe that these people have their own issues but unfortunately turned the tables and put the blame on me. I cannot control how they think or how they react but if this is how they wish to live their lives full of so much hatred then I have to feel sorry for them. It must be horrible living inside their heads all day every day.
Thankyou for anyone taking the time to read this. If you could just do one thing and share this blog or share Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust I would be really grateful.
Much love, Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust xx