Spent my bank holiday weekend in London with an old friend.
It was lovely, smack bang in the middle of Soho, loving life.
The friend I was accompanied with became my friend around New Years Eve 2018, so being with her brought up a lot of memories. If you’ve read some of my other pieces you’ll know that this time was pretty eventful for me, I went into a manic episode and didn’t go home for 4 months blah, blah, blah.
Obviously we referenced the past from time to time. It made me think about where everybody from our old group is now. Time has gone so quickly.
I’ve got something to say about an old friend. I need to tell you a story to get there, though.
It all started New Years Eve when we went out as a quartet.
A friend I had from work, 2 other girls that I’d briefly met before, and myself.
We were all in a bit of an odd place. We just decided to stick together and muddle through. When I say muddle through, I mean sack off every responsibility under the sun, form a sisterhood, and fuck about for the rest of time.
Innocent at first. Staying at each other’s houses, meeting families, staying in sheds. As time went on and mental health declined, we were squatting in flats, living out of a car, moving from one town in Suffolk to the next town in Suffolk (don’t get too adventurous, it costs too much). Scraping spare change off the carpets of each car we were in to fund the alcoholic corner shop piss we drank, and the other god awful things we infused our bodies with.
I don’t want this to sound romanticised, because let it be known, we were deeply unhappy.
During the following months we accumulated more and more people. Clubbing, afterparties, friends of friends, people we knew from the past coming back into our lives. We always needed a place to stay, a means of getting about, and safety is in numbers (so we thought).
Anyone was welcome. It was a mess.
From New Years Day onwards, I was best friends with one of the girls I met on New Years Eve.
This isn’t the friend I went to London with.
We were joined at the hip. Actual partners in crime, spent every day and night together, went on every adventure together.
We were the ones who invited everybody else in.
This individual was a bit of a whirlwind, I think we bounced off each other in a lot of respects. I have bipolar and was in the midst of an episode, she has bpd and is always fighting some sort of battle.
That being said, the friendship was good.
We clicked immediately, from 0 to inseparable. At first we were very destructive, nights out were very intense, we were always kind of up to no good.
After about a month or two we began to settle down because looking at each other was like looking in a mirror. We could see that it wasn’t fun anymore.
We began calming down and though we still weren’t going home, we were getting drunk less and we were up for more lowkey ways to spend our time.
We began to get better.
I began to get better.
But we were now in a very large group of people, and the people we met along the way were much like we were at that time. Self-destructive, a bit too hedonistic.
My friend was easier to influence than me.
I could see her being torn between these two worlds, one of recovery and one of a downwards spiral.
This was a concept all too familiar for me. Guardians of mine when I was a kid did the same thing. Something I learned early on in life is that people will choose the bottle over you. Every time. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
I wasn’t about to drag her along with me, and she knew that I was always going to fight for recovery whether she joined me or not. We are adults, broken or not. We make our own decisions.
It was sad to see her go back to what she knew. I couldn’t be angry.
As I pushed myself on the up I felt her being torn away. I let it happen.
In May, I was back at home trying to get my feet back on the ground. I had to stop now. My family were going through a lot of changes, I’m surrounded by a lot of children and I don’t want them to see me being a mess, there was a lot happening that made things real very quickly. I was fighting for a place to live. I was back at my part time job and I was committed to finding some sort of peace.
Now I was somewhat out of it, I could see the situation for what it was and I was taken back by just how dark it was.
I’d go to work and be reminded what it’s like to be a normal functioning member of society, I’d come back and see that there was no future here- just like- gradual death. Maybe prison.
Things got so messy in that group. Everybody was falling apart; everyone was fighting their own demons and it was just very dark. Everybody was so involved with everybody. I couldn’t keep dipping my toes in that water. We were going down different roads.
I just quit.
In one day, I confronted a few people and I blocked a lot of people and I drew a line under the last 4/5 months.
I did what I had to do even if it seemed cold, I was so adamant that I wouldn’t be sucked back in again. We’re all fighting out own battles.
My friend and I fell out. She wanted to go down a different road with people I couldn’t be around. She just expected me to go along with it. I had to let her go. I blocked her, and I blocked anyone else who was going down that path expecting me to just be there for them to fall on. I was committed to not looking back.
People don’t see how fucking hard I try. They just expect me to be their crutch and carry them because no one else will. Everyone does this. Fucking everyone. Always have done.
I could see so clearly what the future would hold. When I left this group, I told my friends how everything would play out. I said that everything would come to a head, I said that within a year people will have their lives put at risk, I said that everything would fall apart and the lies and demons would eat away at each one of them.
I didn’t say it to scare them, I said it because I wanted them to see. I knew that they wouldn’t see, but I wanted them to. I’ve grown enough to realise that keeping it to myself is usually the better option.
A year later, I’m at a 9-5 job and running my very small, very new business. Different mind, different life.
I’m no better than any of them, I just managed to get out of it and stay committed to that.
I get a message from an old friend that I’ve known and loved since I was 14. He was in this group back at the beginning of the year. There have never been hard feelings, but I was surprised to hear from him out of the blue.
He messaged me about my old ‘partner in crime’.
He has a funny, light-hearted way of speaking but the general gist of the message was;
“If (your old pal) messages you wanting to meet up, it’s because she has no other friends anymore. Don’t go back it’s a bad idea”.
At this point, she had messaged me, but I didn’t go past the point of light and civilised conversation.
I asked what had happened, and basically everything that I said would happen did happen.
My friend was the ringleader most of the time. When things fell apart, it’s because she built it to fall. But it’s not all her fault.
I heard about the trouble that was caused, I heard about the lies she told everyone, I heard about the hurt that was caused for everyone.
I won’t go into it, obviously. But as you can imagine, the downfall was epic.
Everybody had dropped her completely within about a day. Things are very impulsive and fast paced in that group. Life catches up to you at the speed you live it, I guess.
One day she was on top of the world, little miss popular, little miss party girl- the next she was just some ‘crazy bitch’ that no one wants to talk to.
But she always had bpd.
And this is what I have to say about it.
BPD is by no means ANY excuse to cause the level of deceit and pain that was caused by this individual, but the warning signs were all there. It was always going to happen, and nobody did anything.
Her behaviour was not because she’s a malicious individual, or because she’s a wild party girl. It’s because she’s not coping with her bpd, she’s stubborn as fuck, and she’s not getting the help that she needs.
Her lies cause pain. Her behaviour causes pain. It causes her a lot more pain than it causes other people.
And I’m not saying people should excuse it, or appease it, or let her off lightly. I’m just saying that she needs help. Not a witch hunt.
Mental health has been capitalised to the point where people can’t fucking recognise when something isn’t fun and games anymore. It’s not talked about constructively.
All of this was always going to happen, because it wasn’t nipped it in the bud.
I left when I realised that I couldn’t help her. It looked cold, but I really did care.
My love is not cold. It’s real.
My friend and I had a really pure friendship because we could relate to each other. We had vaguely similar childhoods and we knew each other incredibly well. That being said, she lied to me. Bpd isn’t rational, but it feels rational to the person with bpd.
My friend was hospitalised several times for putting her health and her life in danger. She was put on bail by the police for the antics she got up to on her nights out. She always said things that didn’t have a backbone to it.
But she never had somebody to say ‘enough is enough’. Nobody ever stuck her in a car and made her go to hospital and actually stay for a length of time.
Most people would have an authority figure stop it- but she just had people who turned a blind eye to the sadness and encouraged her bad habits.
I did try for a little while, but it was a losing battle and I was really outnumbered.
She is responsible for her behaviour, so I walked away before it got too ugly.
How can the people who participated in the downfall now be surprised when it came to a head?
My friend would come out of hospital and would be invited out clubbing in the same night. Of course she went; she didn’t want to go home, she wasn’t thinking straight, and she wanted to forget. She has bpd, and she doesn’t have the means to help her manage it. It’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation.
It was ‘omg she’s so fun! She’s outrageous! She’s so entertaining! She’s always up for a night out, she’s always there to party with me, she’s not boring!’. It was never ‘she’s ill’, ‘she should slow down’, ‘she’s not in a good headspace’.
The whole time she was friends with these people, the fact that she has bpd was very clear, very apparent, and she was very vocal about it.
So why was it then a shock when her bpd flared up and it was revealed that she was a compulsive liar?
It was all fun and games, until it didn’t serve people’s entertainment. Then it’s burn the witch.
I’d be hurt too, but the signs were all there.
I do sometimes wonder if anybody is really aware of mental health after all. Regardless of whether they too suffer with it or not.
It’s just been capitalised. We know it’s there- we don’t know what to do about it. We don’t know how to use it for anything more than entertainment.
It’s like the fucking Jeremy kyle show.
I always hated that show.
For one, if anybody ever should have been on Jezza Kyle, it’s the man himself. It’s like he spoke to people in the most disgusting manner as a way to project and forget about his own issues.
To make a further point, it was like a modern day medieval mockery of people with mental health issues.
People would go on this programme, clearly not thinking straight/ in the right headspace/ aware of their humiliation.
Jeremy K would make it worse, speaking in a way that was completely malicious and out of order for the entertainment purposes of the audience, with no regard to these people’s obvious mental health issues.
Don’t bullshit me with these ‘checks’ and ‘debriefs’ that are apparently carried out. For one, it doesn’t excuse it, two, they clearly did not happen. It’s all been exposed that they never happened. You can’t just trust a debrief to ‘undo’ public humiliation done to a person who is vulnerable.
Then, boom, someone commits suicide and it’s like “omg what?!! Never saw that coming!”.
For the love of God why can’t we just take care of each other?
Why can’t we talk about mental health constructively?
There is so much pain and hurt caused from a lack of understanding and a lack of care.
I went on a tangent there, but this was a story I wanted to tell. I wanted to talk about mental health.
Doesn’t matter how much you care. Doesn’t matter how much you can see plain as day that it will all end in tears; all you can do is influence. I can only say ‘no, I’m not going to drink/ snort that with you- and quite frankly I think it’s a fucking stupid idea’. I can only say ‘That’s bullshit’. I can only walk away and show that I mean it when I say I won’t put up with her shit. All you can do is have your boundaries.
If you want less darkness in the world, stand your ground.