Sunday, March 11, 2007

Friends are brilliant

Friday was a good day and a bad day. It started off as a bad day. Feeling very wobbly I set off for Uni. I was expecting a ten minute tutorial with the MA Unit lecturer, and ended up sat with everyone at a reading group. Tutorials were happening in the corner of the room, and running really late. Still feeling really fragile, I was consciously guarding myself against a sudden exposure of my emotions, (I know that worrying about losing control of my emotions in front of people, is destructive, and fuels anxiety, but I’m still not convinced that it’s not justified. I wouldn’t want anyone to see me as a gibbering wreck).

However I felt really comfortable being around friends, and really enjoyed reading extracts of their writing. People came in and out, and there were never too many people at a time, which felt really manageable. I’m not doing fiction, and all the work I read was 1st draft extracts of future novels. They all made me want to read on. When I first went in they had a copy of Vitality Matters, a free Cornish magazine on health and wellbeing, and I had an article in there. I’d written it before Christmas and was waiting for it to be put in. Fi another friend on the course also had an article in there, so it was a double celebration.

After talking through my MA proposal, I went to the course meeting, and then had a coffee with Christina, the course leader, to talk over my wobbles. Although feeling really fragile, as I talked I realised, I’ve only missed 1 ½ lectures, and kept up with all the work apart from one piece, and I’d done this whilst dealing with a bad patch. I left about three, still not registering what good the day had done me, as all day the main thing on my mind was the evening.

I’d arranged to go out and see a friend, Cyrus, doing his first gig at a local wine bar. I’d suggested it to some of my best mates and they were up for coming along. However the thought I couldn’t get rid of, was that I might see ‘the woman’. Her brother works at the bar, and as she has babysitter’s every weekend, so she could be there. Worries plagued my head. How would I cope if I saw her? Would the tears come? Would I lose control of my emotions? Would I have to leave? Would it ruin the evening?

I wanted to go out in town not only to see my friend playing, but also because I wanted to show all the people, who would have heard all the gossip, that I’m alright and strong (even if it wasn’t exactly true). I was also in danger of becoming agoraphobic when it comes to socialising, and needed to break that pattern.

I made an effort, put on some make up (I only wear make up on nights out), and picked out a nice top to wear instead of just a T shirt. Dee arrived with her boyfriend and cousin, and we had a quick glass of wine, and made our way down. As I walked in, Rach and Teresa had just got there, and there was no sign of ‘the woman’. After about half an hour I was having a lovely time, catching up with my friends. Cyrus played a variety of songs to suit all tastes, and the bar was soon buzzing, and singing along.

‘The woman’ did not come in all night, and even if she had, I felt I would probably deal with it fine. With my friends around me I felt stronger. Teresa said to me she thought doing this course, and being so motivated, (I had turned down some wild parties due to writing), showed I had a lot of strength. Thinking about the day, and coming out in the evening, I accepted I had.

The evening out really helped my confidence. I got merry, but not drunk, and I was home by 12.30 and was asleep by 1.00. Yesterday I had quite a productive day and didn’t wobble, although I still thought a lot. I always have to take one day at a time when I’m like this, but hopefully I’m on the up again. We’ll see.

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