In My Friend, I Find A Second Self …

friendsTo  have friends is beautiful, magical and life-enhancing.

MS can obliterate that.

I lost a lot of my friends during my MS diagnosis, four years ago.

Whether they couldn’t cope with my new ‘diagnosis-status’, my angst, my late-night texts/phone-calls, I’m not sure. Probably a combination.

My best friend once took a ladder and crawled up the outside of my house and into my bedroom to check I was still breathing, as I lay over-emotional with red wine in my bed. To be fair, I would have done the same for him.  And I have done.

He was the one I called on the day of my diagnosis and we spent the evening lamenting and crying (mostly me) in a cosy gastro-pub. But also building plans for my future. Little did I know that in five months time, I would be unceremoniously sacked from my job. The reason?

MS.

I won the case, but lost immeasurable time with my son due to all the poisonous letters via the lawyer; time I will  never get back, so I used the paltry payout to take us to New York for five days, as a thank-you to The Teenager for all he had to put up with.

And now, now I am ‘living/thriving/succeeding with MS’, where are those friends now?

Luckily, I still have a close circle. I think.

Some have sloughed off along the way, and that’s to be expected. Do I demand more than I can deliver? Perhaps. How many times can I ask for a friend to visit me whilst I am ‘en sofa’?

It’s that boring, I bore myself, honestly.

Twice I’ve asked a dear friend to let me know dates he’s free for a get-together at mine and twice he’s brushed me off. Is my house so dusty? Pesky 300-year old cottages. Or is it deeper than that? Am I … embarrassing?

Twice I’ve asked the friend I’ve known since our kids ran out the classrooms clutching pumpkin masks. Pop in for coffee?

Nada.

I can only presume, on the balance of ‘worth a friend/not worth a friend’, I’ve lost.

I miss those friends.

I’ve had to take six days off work with a dreadful cold/almost-flu-but-not-quite, which weirdly coincided with The Teenager being away on a school trip. And really, it was all for the best. I schlepped around, lay on the sofa, felt sorry for myself and argued with the cat.

But I sure missed my friends …

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10 thoughts on “In My Friend, I Find A Second Self …

  1. Tricia says:

    As always love your post, I no we cannot be with you in person, but don’t forget, we will always be your on-line friends xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      That’s so lovely, thank you!
      Have been feeling awfully sorry for myself, having to take so many days off work. Probably had too much time to think lol.
      Very grateful that my friend took me out on Saturday evening – freezing but totally worth it!
      x

  2. Teresa McTernan says:

    My bestest friend is very ill right now and I’ve needed friends more than ever!!I have noticed in my life (but particularly now) that it’s the people I haven’t expected to support me have been amazing while what I thought were some of true friends have scarpered. (Although do need to say that one of my dearest friends texts or emails very single day)

    It’s sort of a bit darkly amusing. Friends ring/text/email ask how I am. I’m much more likely to get a reply if I lie and say I’m fine. If I tell the truth then that’s the end of the contact until the guilt ridden correspondence a few weeks/months later. Another thing that gets to me is people saying ‘is there anything I can do’. How can you reply to that? People who say I’ll bring round Homemade Indian food (one friend) or I’ll do food shopping vacuuming change sheets etc or ‘you can ring any time even in the middle of the night even if you just want to cry’. These are true friends.

    Also friends while being totally supportive gently sharing some of their good news stories is so lovely for me as sometimes you do need to hear that outside of one’s miserable bubble there is life is going on. However one of my ‘friends’ has told me that my sorry life has made her appreciate her life much more that she would if things were going well for me…don’t really know how to respond to that so I didn’t.

    I’d really like to think I bring more to my friendships that my MS and my more recent problems and I hope I’ve been able to be a rock for some of my friends when they’ve needed support but my more recent experience has helped me to recognise what is helpful and what is definitely not and at times even destructive so I think I’ll be a better friend from now on.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      You’re totally spot on!
      I was amazed at who stuck by me and who scarpered too. Plus, I also know I wasn’t a brilliant friend for a long while – far too self-absorbed and, well, boring!!
      I really try hard to be a decent friend but it’s always so hard when you have to change plans at the last minute, which I have had to do a lot recently.
      It can be so difficult!!
      X

  3. Teresa McTernan says:

    Sorry…should have added that I hope you feel real good soon and you definitely have one true friend in your amazing teenager and at low times I guess you can look at him or think of him and think…perhaps I did something right?

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! I certainly do – he’s charming/funny/infuriating in equal measure, lol.
      I’m still up and down. Just when I think I’ve turned a corner the cold rears its ugly head again. It’s a real pain as I’ve got so much to do!! It’s weird as I generally don’t get colds, and if I do, they clear up within a couple of days 🙁
      x

  4. Dave says:

    I am still out there, although we never met (you know why) I felt I had to let you know that you have at least one friend you do not know about, a virtual stranger you never met but who continues to think of you and read your blog. x

  5. Tamara says:

    Thanks for addressing the ‘f’ word…As a result of my diagnosis, only a few months’ ago, I have totally withdrawn socially & seem to have lost a few friends along the way. Not to mention my parents, who practically had me when they were teenagers so are young – they are devastated and don’t quite know what to do. I almost don’t want to tell them anything further so as not to upset them.
    MS is a biaatch!
    I hope you feel better & can make some further friends. I haven’t quite given up on this idea, for myself, just yet 😅

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hey there,
      Sorry to hear about your diagnosis and the ‘friend situation’. And it’s particularly difficult if your parents are struggling to cope with the news? You’re in a really tricky place.
      Please don’t isolate yourself – reach out, you might be surprised? Always here if you need a friendly ear 🙂
      xx

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