One of the last things C said to me was “stay in touch”.
I didn’t. It’s too hard, it’s always too hard.
When I was in hospital friendships were made that I though were going to last forever. I’d never experienced friendships like it. Sure, we were messed up, we all were in one way, shape or form. Difficult childhoods leading to mental health problems at a young age was one of the main things we had in common. We were outsiders to the “real world”. It wasn’t safe enough for us to be out there, we weren’t safe enough to be out there, but it was OK, because we didn’t feel safe out there either. We could only function in the safe confines of the huge, white hospital walls. That became our real world. We stopped being outsiders because for once we all felt like we belonged somewhere, even if it was often within the realms of a psychosis. We understood each other and had more compassion for each other more than anything I’d ever felt before. Maybe it was the BPD, even way back then, but I like to think we all felt the same and I’m pretty sure we did.
Unlike school, in the hospital there was no cliquiness. We all looked after each other. We could all confide our maddest thoughts with each other and not be afraid of being judged. No one was pushed out of the group. As far as we were concerned we had to stick together because it was us against the rest of the world.
I spent a long time in hospital. Perhaps not as long as some people, but longer than some of the other teenagers. I was discharged because the mental health team felt like I was no longer making progress there and they couldn’t help me any more. I should’ve known then I was beyond help then and I would never “get better”, but that is a whole other story. Every time someone left, telephone numbers and addresses would be exchanged. This was long before the invention of email and the Book that shall have no name. Contact was maintained for a while, I even managed to meet up with some of them outside of the hospital. But then it just got too hard. I missed them, I guess. I missed the times we spent and what they meant to me. I still didn’t belong in the real world and that was disconcerting. If I pretended they didn’t exist, then it didn’t happen and I didn’t have to miss them. It’s some kind of twisted Hello Sailor logic, if they aren’t there, I can’t think about them and it can’t hurt so bad. It’s only when I acknowledge the loss that it hurts. Even now I miss every one of the friendships I made in hospital and I’d give anything to know how they all are.
I did the same when I left school and college and my first job. The friendships weren’t the same intensity, but looking back hurts. Every day I drive past the house of an old work friend and wonder how she is. I miss the things we used to get up to. Reminding myself hurts.
F and J text me for the first time in ages the other day, but I can’t bring myself to communicate back with them. Paranoia says they only want me around when I am useful to them because that is my experience of most people in the past and they are never there to help me out. The pain hurts because I screwed up, again and again, I always screw up relationships. This is why I think I’m an alien, I don’t know how to do it.
Internet friendships are different. Sometimes the same intensity is there, but it’s easier to let people come and go. Perhaps it is more of a symbiotic relationship. Especially here in the WordPress Psychiatric Unit. People write what they want people to hear. People often go into hiding. People can reach out if they need help, or hide in their cave until they feel like they can reach out and no one takes offence. No one ever lets anyone down. I can’t figure it out. Perhaps it just is what it is and unravelling the question would take the magic out of it. Perhaps people here are more human than in the real world because they don’t have to keep up a false facade.
I’ve been getting a lot of flashbacks recently. Losing moments of time, deep in thought re-living, seeing, hearing, smelling, losing reality. Is it because of me, that I’m so affected by them? Even potentially happy memories affect me. I wonder if you can even associate PTSD with good memories. With me, PTSD is associated with all memories. It would be better if I could just not think.
I don’t know if I will ever get back to the most recent people I’ve left behind. Or did they leave me behind? I don’t know, I guess it works both ways. One day I wish I could have a friendship. A proper friendship, in the real world, that lasts longer than a year and I can talk to them in real life, feeling at peace with the world and not being afraid of thinking about it because it hurts. Feeling like I am somewhere I belong.
I’m sorry I’m in hiding. I’m just about getting through the days at the moment. The universe is in my throat, along with a lump for the fear I will never be at peace.
Love Sailor xox