Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When a friend becomes an obstacle

On Monday I saw a friend who is a career woman, although approaching retirement is still willing to jump at any new and exciting opportunities. She is a vibrant hardworking person. I came home. I wrote. I made plans. I was focused.

I was pleased to see that my film review for Ted was published by the e-magazine The Motion Online
Although broke, I was having 'good' days.

Today I've been on a bit of a downer all day. I'm always very careful about saying I suffer from anxiety and depression because I think words are powerful. If you constantly state that you suffer from depression, talk about it all the time it becomes very real and solid. I try to remind myself that symptoms appear and then they go away again. But I am now at a stage when I can accurately predict if a situation is going to be challenging. I cling to what I know to be true - depression is not a fixed state.

Yesterday, just as I was leaving the house to walk the dog I had a phone call from a friend I've know for eighteen years. She is a bouncy helpful kind hearted person who can talk the ears of a donkey. We only talk about six times a year but I knew that was going to be a two hour phone call. I explained I was going out to walk the dog and then go to an appointment, but during my walk I felt bad. She sounded really down on the phone.

Due to my medical history I don't like the thought of anyone being depressed and alone but over the last ten years her phone calls have taken a very negative pattern. My friend is dissatisfied with her life and spends the entire call comparing her lot with other people she knows. She guesses how much she thinks others are earning which she always feels is more than her (and to be honest most of her guesses are ridiculously over estimations). But she is unwilling to think of others outgoings, doesn't think that they may have debts or a mortgage. She retrained as a teacher about twelve years ago and mainly teaches supply, she is woeful over the lack of a permanent appointment and is obviously disappointed. I don't know if you recall the government promises on television about salary for teachers. Supply teaching is hard and you don't get paid for the holidays. She puts so much effort into each role in the hope she will be taken on. It is very demoralising not to have a permanent role but the fact my husbands been made redundant twice in the last three years or the fact that my job search isn't going great, and the business is treading water in a time of a global depression does not pick up on her radar. No one has it harder than she does. She is comparing herself to people her age further up the career ladder. Everyone has better holidays, better cars and better houses. And if you do try and point out blessings, she's had a couple of great holidays over the last few years, that doesn't count. It is always answered in a 'yeah but...'

Counting your blessings is incredibly hard. I'm currently in a place were I think I have made a victory in getting out of bed in the morning. Each day I try to not focus on financial worries and try to be thankful for my health, my children, the time I share with my husband, the fabulous technology we have at our finger tips these days, the dog, anything. Maybe this will be the day when a new customer comes on board? Maybe today will be the day that the rejection letter is really a yes? Perhaps, maybe that unclaimed lottery ticket will be mine?

These calls end up in one of two ways, me massaging her ego, 'your right it's not fair, you're a great person, a great teacher...' While she actually puts me down, 'when I was your age I was slim, I my figure was like Barbie, my house was always spotless etc.' I usually end up feeling like s***. Or you get into this competing for who has it worse. Again I end up feeling really bad.

Last night I didn't sleep. What was the point of me and my hubby trying to make a go of things? I was beginning to think like my friend, I was comparing my life with what I thought others had. I could feel the bubbles of resentment.

And it's because you pick up habits of the people you spend time with. Lie with a dog get up with fleas spend time with upbeat positive people and you feel like you can touch the moon to.

I love my friend. I want her to be happy. Today I realised that she is not a good influence on me, that as long as she is comparing herself to others she will never be happy and sadly she needs to put others down to make herself feel better.

I don't know what to do. Once she starts work in September I won't hear from her until the next crisis. So perhaps I should just put the problem on hold? But I have finally woke up and smelt the coffee, the company you keep is important.

I started this blog because I turned forty I have spent my life up to now looking after other people and I wanted to be more focused on setting my own goals, dreams and aiming for that publishing deal.

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