Invitations

I’ve spent time today replying to wedding invitations. I’d put it off for a while – I don’t like thinking about weddings. They remind me of my parents’ marriage, my own failings at relationships. Not just romantic relationships – friendships, too. In the invitations I replied to, I was “evening reception only”. Asked to travel half the length of England to be a second-rate friend. Again. Only once has that not been the case. I am a failure of a friend.

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I felt angry. Angry at the unfairness of the invitations – why invite to one and not the other, create divisions in friendship status? Now, I feel nothing. Like I am telling someone else’s story. Like it didn’t happen to me. I guess I should feel sad or disappointed- but I don’t feel either. Or at least, I don’t think I do.

I know I shouldn’t have felt angry. Weddings are budgeted. That’s the way it is. It’s not about me. But I’m so used to covering up my true feelings, or burying them, insisting all is OK when it’s not, that I don’t know what I genuinely feel.

And then I wonder if I am making all the emotions up. You can’t be sad, the voice in my head says. If you were sad, you’d be crying. I can’t cry. Or – you can’t really be disappointed over something like that. It’s too trivial. You’re in full-time employment, you have a PhD. How could you be doing all of that if you really were mentally ill?

Hours go by when I feel totally fine. Not ill at all. I feel competent and in control. Until something hits – that email, that comment, that stare. And inside I’m raging, and barely breathing, and I want to destroy myself – or better die. I self-harm. It never lasts long. Then I’m back in rational mind, unable to comprehend what came over me.

I’m unwell, I repeat. Not well. The consultant psychiatrist says so. She took four months to simply work out how to help me. Rubbish really did happen in the past, and I didn’t cope with it well, and now I have problems with emotion and relationships and rejection. And being “normal” for the sake of most people around me is exhausting, and it’s no wonder I get tired and tearful. Sometimes, like today, I can remember that God knows I’m not pretending. She knows I’m unwell. She holds me through it. Knowing this, makes cry with relief.

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