Over the last five months, I have learnt a hell of a lot.
Mainly, I learnt a lot about the people around me, and which of those people I could truly rely on. The saying goes something like "weddings, illness and death bring out people's true colours". I didn't think much of it until M got sick.
I started a new job two months before M got sick, and I was still in my probationary period when everything went down. When the shit hit the fan, my new boss and colleagues, although they barely knew me, were absolutely amazing. From letting me take as much time off as I wanted - which honestly wasn't much, I subconsciously tried to keep my routine as close to normal as I could - to keeping me busy, to letting me sleep when I passed out at the lunch table from sheer exhaustion day after day, it was more than I expected. Even now, that support is still there. On Thursday afternoon, I had a meltdown while on my lunchbreak, and when I told my boss I needed to go home, she didn't bat an eyelid. She could just tell, and she didn't hold my moment of weakness against me. I am so incredibly lucky to have landed what now appears to be my dream job. Nothing but positive things are in store for the future, I just know it.
Last night, I caught up with a "new" friend. While I was doing her nails, she just let me bare my soul. She said that maybe I'm suffering from some form of PTSD. I won't jump to conclusions, I'll let the professionals decide, but it makes sense to me. I held it all together until M was released from hospital, and that was when I started my downward spiral. Towards the end of our catch up, she said that I had helped her through a really bad time. I was floored. Me? Help her? I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. And as she left, she gave me a bone-crushing hug and whispered in my ear to keep on going, because things will get better. My spirit soared; I don't know how to explain it. I just felt lighter.
Before M got sick, I thought I had an idea of who my true friends were. And then the Earth shifted on it's axis, my world fell apart, and the truth was revealed. Friends who I thought I could count on - people who I would have dropped everything for, if the situation were reversed - vanished; I reached out and was greeted with radio silence, or a delayed "oh, that sucks". In hindsight, I obviously had more invested in that friendship than the other person. And as much as I wanted them to be there for me, they weren't, and it appears that they didn't want to be.
And yet, there have been others, like my friend two paragraphs ago, who just caught me as I fell. People who I considered distant friends - not that far above acquaintances, really - who were just there. Like an old school friend who randomly invited me out to a night on the town, and when I said no because M was in surgery, picked up the phone while she was at work and just let me cry to her about how scared I was. And there have been others, too, more people who don't come to mind right now.
The majority of people still don't know how dire the situation was, or that there was even a situation at all; to be honest, that's the way I want it to be.
Now that there is some time between then and now, I've had some time to reflect. There was one person in particular who I'd wanted to be there and support me, and when they weren't, I was devastated; completely and utterly devastated. Then I realised that it's quality over quantity. Just because I've known someone longer than someone else doesn't make them a better or truer friend. Truth be told, when I think of it now, I have so many more valuable friendships than I thought I did. M does, too. I've let go of the ones who aren't willing to meet me/us halfway, because as this year from hell has shown us, life is just too short.
There is also one other fast & firm friend who deserves a special mention. She knows who she is. From waxing poetic about anxiety and depression to stupid, frivolous discussions about anything and everything for hours and days on end. Driving M insane when my phone is constantly going off with minion laughter. Sharing plans for her future, and for mine. I can't thank you enough, lady. I feel better knowing there's at least one other raving lunatic who just gets it. I'm super duper excited that you found someone just as awesome as you to share your life with, because you deserve it.
Until next time...