When you think of a friend, what is the first thing that comes to mind? We all tend to use the term ‘friend’ as a rather loose depiction of another human being that we spend time with. It is a word that is used over and over again without anyone taking much consideration into what the term actually means.
Some of you may think of six particular Friends, (can you believe the final episode was shown over eleven years ago?!) and others may think of that one person they know will always be there, your anchor, your rock.
But what about actual ‘friendship’? To me, friendship is something completely different. Friendship is a little bit like a flower. It needs love and care and nourishment to make it grow. The funny thing is, you don’t get taught about this at school. This is something you have to learn for yourself.
Growing up I oozed confidence; I had no qualms about meeting new people and could talk to pretty much anyone about pretty much any thing. It all changed when I got encephalitis. All of a sudden I found interaction more difficult, just keeping up with conversations made me tired and I became a nervous wreck whenever I met someone new.
Another aspect of my illness that made making and keeping friends difficult was the psychiatric edge. When someone is living in a world of hallucinations and delusions it is difficult to make sense of what is real and what is not. Not only that, but as I slowly recovered my inhibitions were completely gone and I was more likely to react in a way that was inappropriate and hurtful. I have had to learn the hard way that this type of disinhibited behaviour does not help out when trying to form or maintain friendships.
It appears like quite a few aspects in my life, my friendships have come around full circle. Just last weekend, one of my oldest (not in age, but in the number of years I have known her) friend invited me to her house in Dorset for her Birthday. A house full to brim with twenty-four twenty-something year olds would have been my idea of hell just a year ago.
Not only would I be meeting new people, I would be seeing people that I knew in school, but more worryingly, people that knew me in school.
I could not have been more wrong.
I do not think I have ever felt more comfortable in such a setting.
I would go as far as to say that the weekend was practically perfect.
Here are some photos from the “practically perfect” weekend
I am not sure if it is the psychological affect of thinking that I am now NMDA negative, or the actual medical change that being NMDA negative brings, but whatever the reason, it has made me almost ooze confidence once more.
It has also made me realise something about friendship.
If friendship is like I flower, I am lucky enough to have a whole garden full of flowers, each different and beautiful in their own way, and for that I am truly grateful.