In my mid and late twenties, I wasn’t in a good place. A combination of bad decisions and bad luck landed me in emotional and financial ruin.
And yet in that time when I was hardly equipped to make meaningful connections, I met two people who are today very dear friends. They met me at my worst. One was the girlfriend of a friend, and the other I met while taking prerequisite classes to get into nursing school, and they have taken two very different paths.
D was a successful office manager who fell in love with a man, had a child with him and seemed well on her way to a nice middle class Canadian life when the cracks in their relationship and within her led to am emerging manic depression. She says now she thinks she was depressed her entire life and did not recognize it. She fought for years to try and hold on to her version of a “normal” life and now exists on a small disability pension. Her teenage daughter has chosen to live with her father, a bitter alcoholic, her daughter is behaving in ways that make us think she might head down a similar path as D. D was one of two friends who really reached out to me when I went home to visit my mother and grandmother and knew things with my grandmother weren’t going well because she lives in the same apartment building and speaks to her all the time. d is currently going into another manic phase. She is compliant with her medications. She is moving in with a man who I met and seems quite nice. But I wonder if he will really be able to support her in her peaks and valleys. I have a hard time with it and I have plenty of experience. When she is truly manic, she just cannot listen to anybody. She feels good and is frustrated when those around her express concerns.
P is a vivacious, charming, and hilarious woman. She works as a counselor at a community college helping students with various disabilities/challenges cope and navigate college life. Until recently, her obvious intelligence helped her get several jobs, but they were always on “contract” and at age 45 for the first time in her life she has a decent paying, permanent, union job and has bought a house. P has a tendency to try and “fix” people and has been taken advantage of many. She got quite angry with me years ago when I told her that there are some people with whom you have to cut your losses with and move on, because she firmly and deeply believes people have the capacity to transform their lives. She abhors fatalism and is a committed atheist.
The world is a better place when I am hanging with P. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, the world is a better, more interesting place. She is endlessly curious and inspires that in others. She can walk into any place and make a new friend.
When I am with D, I am amazed by her capacity to reach out to others when she herself carries so many burdens.
This is for friends I have drifted from, friends I have lost, and friends I perhaps did not recognize…..
Please don’t rec pony party, hang out, chit chat and then go read some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.