It probably wasn’t the best time to meet up with someone I haven’t spoken to since last December, and who doesn’t know anything about the journey I’ve been on this year. And it was a nice evening. But it has left me feeling a little sad, as though this is the end of something.
I’ve known this person for 13 years. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time getting drunk with them and talking about everything under the sun – although that’s stopped over the past few years as we both moved away and moved on. They used to be one of the few people I would actually talk to on the phone, and at one point we’d talk for a couple of hours most nights. But this is the first time that I’ve felt able to be myself with them. And I’m not sure they actually like who I am now I’m not wearing the mask any more.
It brought it home to me that I’m going to have to reassess and renegotiate most of the relationships I have with people. And that’s hard. I coped with my condition, before it was diagnosed, by trying to figure out how ‘normal’ people would react to things and trying to act in the same way. I learnt to suppress any emotions I felt because I don’t necessarily show emotions like people without my condition and this can a) make other people uncomfortable and b) lead to quite severe bullying. So to survive, emotionally, I’ve had to try not to feel. I can’t do that any more.
So today I may have lost another friend. Which is a real shame. But I need the people that I choose to spend time with to accept and like me for who I actually am, not for the act that I’ve been putting on for years. And if I could persuade my own brain to think the same, that would probably solve quite a few of my problems. I’m working on it…