I am more and more aware how many of us suffer in the absence of heartfelt loving care. There is no medicine quite as special as having a friend who gets you and you get them. When you share something they don’t give you that strange questioning look, there are none of the little asides that oh so subtly bring you down or invalidate you.
I was lucky this year to make a special friend at the dog park one day. Lots of people you may connect to promise to get in touch but never do, but this friend of mine did. Because I suffer from anxiety and depression at times I find it hard to reach out. I am trying to get better at it. On the very tough days that I didn’t see a soul it was my blog that was my primary source of reaching out. Since I moved back to my home town 6 years ago I have found it hard to make deep connections and so a lot of what I feel and think goes into my blog or is shared with my therapist, Kat. But having this beautiful friend now is just such a source of peace and comfort. I often get pulled up by my Mum or sister if I express anger or a valid passionate response to something. It feels like being cut off at the knees, or I offer some genuine help at times only to be told no and then find out they got together to do the thing, which makes me question and feel hurt so its now getting to the point where I am not offering to help as much as when I do there is always some kind of backlash.
Anyway yesterday my friend and I went out to lunch and she was saying that when she expresses annoyance her own brother often shuts it down. Then at times her sister in law makes unnecessary comments on her appearance. We were just saying how much of a relief it is to be with someone who you can really express your truth with and be told “yeah, I really get it.” And when you are down its lovely to have a friend who will just say “I am coming over” instead of someone who offers you platitudes or quick fixes. With this behaviour the person reaches right into your heart and you feel known.
However having this kind of friendship does bring up some of my own limitations. As an intuitive empathic introvert I am nourished by my quiet time. I need that time to recharge, to get in touch with my deeper feelings and thoughts and to write. As an intuitive empath I do pick up on other people’s feelings quiet easily and can be drained. In the last relationship I was with a guy who was quiet extroverted and lacking in empathy. He viewed my introversion as a kind of illness. We had so many clashes as he was continually trying to pull me out of where I get nourished, often to support him with a family with unresolved addiction issues. As a person in recovery that was not my kind of scene, events where there is a lot of drinking going on with buried emotions lying around everywhere.
I consented to go to one wedding where they were telling jokes about how someone got hurt after having too much to drink and I just left the room. I then ‘got in trouble’ for being a ‘wet blanket’ and not ‘being able to have a laugh about it’. I don’t want to apologise for the fact that while drinking I have been hurt so many times when drunk or blackouts that I don’t find that really very funny at all. I can see it has a funny side to some but such things are ‘off’ to me. A caring partner would have got that, but then as I think about it this is the kind of behaviour that happened all the time to me growing up, my boundaries were often overrun, challenged or not respected and so I began to come to second guess them.
I am glad now that relationship is behind me, but I see how much I struggled thinking there was something wrong with me when I just was being my self and reacting as I did. In the end he accused me of lacking empathy and of other things where I was just judged for things I loved like reading to educate myself and caring too deeply for others. Its kind of sad that I lost a lot of time trying to win this person back when he threw me out four times. I see how isolated I became when all my unresolved grief began to open up about 10 years into sobriety and my marriage ended as my husband didn’t want me to go there, so when I met this person I was starving and deeply hurting as I was unthawing and becoming less numb after years of addiction. I had retreated completely for some years and then in some way saw my own retreat as a kind of pathology.
Now that I am finding friends who are more on my wavelength I am beginning to see the value in my introversion. As someone who has known a major trauma that took me out of so called ‘normal life’ I was never going to fit into the mainstream and only hurt myself further by trying to. Since I started my blog in 2013 I have been able to explore some of the things I love such a emotional recovery, writing and astrology. I feel connected to people here on a similar wavelength.
When we struggle with so called ‘mental health issues’ the value of good friends can not be underestimated. I feel the people we surround ourselves with can either make or break us. We as humans are wired for connection and our deepest souls need to be seen and known initially for us to see and know who we REALLY are. When we are able to feel that and connect to what feels good and nourishes we get fed in a positive way and develop our own deeper connection to ‘source’. It is source in the end that will sustain us in and through the hardest and harshest of times. Those who want us to deny our source or cut us off from it are not good for us, for in being cut off from our source we suffer and hunger, often without even knowing why. The value of a good friend is that they connect to our source and we to theirs. The simple fact of sharing peaceful happy time nourishes us in the most essential ways. We leave the encounter nourished rather than drained, full up instead of empty, hungry, disturbed or wanting.