It had been a horrible few weeks. A situation related to my brother had driven me almost to the edge of destruction with worry, not just for him, but the impact he was having on his daughter of almost a year, his partner, her daughter, my parents and, most of all, us as a family unit; a unit that had always been so strong.
The torment in my head that it was my fault and my doing (even if physically impossible) had driven me to push away those who were there to support me, my friends, and, even more importantly, my best friend.
She had just graduated from university, a big chapter in her life, and there was me complaining to her about my problems, being a miserable friend who never wanted to do much, and when I did it was never for long.
Who would have blamed her for saying she was bored of being back after 3 years of having the time of her life, coming back to a mundane town, with an anxiety filled best friend who rarely enjoyed a coffee shop visit these days.
She needed to know that I had good days and bad
It took me a couple of months to build up the courage to let her truly into my world. She knew I had odd ways, but I needed her to understand me thoroughly. She needed to know that I had good days and bad, that being down and often on the verge of tears was part of my daily life, at least for that summer anyway.
We went for a drive in my car, an activity I often found relieved the worries and stresses of my day. It was also something I planned. It meant I didn’t have to give eye contact while revealing the dark depths of myself. It was information I had not shared with anyone but my parents before, and that was only the previous week.
It felt like a huge weight had lifted from my shoulders
I told her how I worry about the safe keeping and health of those I care about most, a worry she said she shared. I explained how the fear of losing those close to me leads me to over think every possible outcome of any given trip. I mentioned that the worries make me feel nervous on the inside, often giving me palpitations, which I can only liken to a panic attack. I spoke about my OCD of even numbers, of having to touch all 4 corners of doors, doorways, walls and of rituals I say every night.
It felt like a huge weight had lifted from my shoulders. I couldn’t be sure if she understood fully. I doubt anyone ever will. But the fact that she now knew, that I wasn’t being portentous and that I wasn’t being miserable or off with just her, was enough. She reassured me that she’d always be there to listen, even if she didn’t understand how it felt, and I knew that every word she spoke was true. I didn’t feel as if I was burdening her, I felt as if I was unlocking the secret as to why our friendship had been different of late. It was as if the ‘secret’ itself had gone.
I missed out on a lot that summer
I missed out on a lot that summer because of worries I had of events that may occur in my absence. The more I thought about my missed opportunities, the more it wound me up. Why did I let life get me down? Why did I not take the events of my brother as an opportunity to learn that, no matter how many times I turn the light switch on and off before bed, or how many times I take the charger in and out of my phone to make sure it connects an even minute within the hour, that life does in fact happen and there is absolutely nothing I can do, no amount of worrying or obsessiveness, to change that.