I have been really tired the last few weeks and then this past week my stomach really played up.
I know that when I am really stressed I get irritable bowel syndrome. It's been quite bad but on the plus side I lost 5lbs in in one week!
Looking back at it there were two reasons for the stress. Firstly, I broke down last Sunday on the motorway on the way to meet a friend for a dog walk. It was a beautiful sunny day and a long planned meet up. The last time I had seen this friend was just before lockdown. The car started to splutter and despite my desperation to carry on, I knew it wasn't safe to do so. The rescue service was very efficient, and I was towed home, but the worry about the cost of repair when everyone is faced with increasing bills has not helped.
Secondly, I have been reminded about boundaries. The reason for this is that my journey home in the tow truck was rather weird. The elderly driver proceeded to tell me a version of his life story. It was a difficult one. I didn't shut him down and didn't feel unsafe, but when I got home I did realise it was way beyond an appropriate conversation.
On top of that, I have two friends who have lent on me enormously. My instinct because I am a loyal friend is to listen and support. But at some point, I realised this went beyond normal friendship. It actually was not doing my own health good. The first friend had a legitimate health scare. She did not cope well. I do not resent giving her the support I did as she herself has supported me. The other friend continuously comes to me for advice and support post a marriage breakdown. Again, I am very sympathetic having been through the same myself 10 years ago. However, there are two things that are bugging me. One, the fact that the fun times with both of them are few and far between. What was a fun relationship now appears to be less fun. I appear to be the go-to friend when things are not going so well, but forgotten when things are going better. Secondly, with one friend, I feel like I am the repository of her negative thoughts.
Who is to blame for this? Well, it's me, isn't it? I have failed to make clear boundaries. I feel like a doormat. And maybe I underestimate the role I play in this. The gut is telling me it's not that fun anymore. I don't naïvely expect friendship to be fun all the time, but sadly I have to re-evaluate my friendships, and also my personal boundaries.
Maybe my own depression is partly a result of not navigating my boundaries and what makes me feel good?
I don't have the answers, dear Moodscoper. What do you think? And what is your own experience?
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