I've been pondering this for a while and have had so many different thoughts about friendship, including what makes it; what breaks it; why it is so crucial; and just how did I get so darn lucky with my friends?
As I couldn't explore all of these ideas in one post; I thought I would focus on one thing today, and that is 'now'. I can safely say that without my true friends I would not be where I am now.
Initially I had no idea what to do, I was numb and pretending it would all go away if I just kept going. I refused to face up to the fact that being in tears from the second I woke up until I reached work an hour later was an issue. I couldn't admit that sitting at home with the curtains drawn all weekend might not be healthy. Most scary in hindsight, is the fact that I had no control over my lack of desire to see anyone. Friends and family would try to arrange to visit, but I couldn't face them.
After months of this came my panic attacks, and I was finally forced to sit with a doctor to explore what was happening. As terrifying as it was, being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder was a hugely positive turning point for me. I was able to access help, I was started on medication, and most importantly of all I had a doctor I trusted who kept telling me that it would be ok. I was able to learn about anxiety, depression and mental health, and with this knowledge came a form of comfort.
Things are slowly changing, but while this may be the case for me, they are not changing as dramatically for many of the people in my life. I am still not always able to see people, or even speak to them.
I now have counseling and CBT every week, but due to the breaches of trust, I still struggle with being able to trust or be around people I know. I am too reluctant to be near people I have trusted in the past in case something goes wrong with them. It must seem so crazy to an outsider - Afetr all, I can now do my shopping and speak to the person on the checkout, or walk into town and handle the fact people may speak to me; after a lot of persuading I was even recently able to go on the holiday that Mr. BuBakes had booked months ago (not that this was the best option - see 'was that lightning or a silver lining' from 3.10.14!) but I still can't speak on the phone without it affecting me, and I still can't see large groups of people that I actually 'know'. This means I have missed birthdays; parties, gatherings and other similar events, and I still do so.
So how can I be saying that I still can't fully trust those closest to me, while trying to post about friendship? I can do so because my current situation actually demonstrates just how outstanding some of the friends in my life are.
I have friends who have barely seen me for a year yet will still text most weeks (sometimes most days!) to say hi. Some people will come to see me "just for a quick 15 minute cuppa" and that can involve them travelling for an hour each way in order to do so.
Gradually I am starting to let myself engage with people again, purely due to these incredible specimens showing me that it is ok to do so; and I am reminded daily about how loving they are. I have definitely only been able to move forward due to their continued support.
Forget the adage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. Instead keep your friends as close as you possibly can; let them know what they mean to you and don't ever take them for granted. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and friendship really will ensure that no matter what happens you are never alone.
In order to tie this post back to baking, I will add that my friends are also incredibly generous and know just what will make me smile. Here are a few fabulous gifts that they have given me over the past couple of months, all of which can be found in my kitchen so I see them every day:
Now pick up your phone and tell a friend or two that you're glad to have them in your life - it will make their day!
PS - did anyone else do the 'Friends-theme-tune-hand-clapping-thing' in their mind when they read the title of this post? Just me? Ok...