It’s really easy to look at past events and point out how well you did – or didn’t – do something, but taking the advice you’re preaching isn’t always as easy.
As I’ve mentioned before, due to several “friends” of mine, my doctor thought I had Munchhausen’s, or was led to believe that I had Munchhausen’s.
A fact I know because my bridesmaid told me that not only did they tell everyone, but that she participated too.
It’s weird how she was angry at me because ‘she wanted to be neutral’, but neutral to her was bitching behind my back about how I definitely probably have Munchhausen’s, despite the absolute rarity of the illness.
Despite knowing me.
Despite living with me.
That kind of betrayal runs deep, down, into your bones.
When she first told me, I honestly thought I could forgive her. I even remember being excited, and I called my best friend, Jas, about it.
And then, as I relayed the conversation, she pointed out that I’d been the one apologising constantly.
See, I’d written this anonymous post during a depressive episode, where I felt I was losing my mind, because every single time I thought I’d escaped everything that happened in Emerald, something or someone would try and draw either Scott or me back in, and I felt like I could no longer trust my mind:
My bridesmaid saw this post and was, at the time (when I had no knowledge about the Munchhausen’s), understandably, pissed.
I apologised profusely. Even though I intended it to be entirely anonymous, under an account I had maybe used a handful of times before, and on an account not even my husband was really aware of, for whatever reason, she had seen it. A lot of my friends found it suspicious, and questioned how my Bridesmaid could even be aware of the account, but to me, it didn’t matter.
I’d hurt my friend’s feelings, and that had never been my intention. No matter what I thought or felt, I would never have chosen that as an option: I would have spoken to her about my problems. The only reason I didn’t, at that point, was at the suggestion of my therapist. My therapist was convinced that Belle was a terrible friend for me, and she regularly pointed out how infrequently Belle would make any adjustments for me. We’d discussed that Belle would see my articles I’d written, that had been printed by magazines, about the depression and agony I’d been facing, and seemed deliberately intent on not referencing those responsible, or giving me any opportunities whatsoever to talk about a situation I’d personally come to her before about. We talked about how hurt I was that she’d liked K’s page for selling MLM products, but hadn’t liked my Facebook page, that I’d created to help with my writing.
It wasn’t that it was about social media.
It was about that someone I considered close enough to ask to be my bridesmaid, someone who I lived with, was friends with, cared for, loved, couldn’t take 5 seconds to like the page invite request I’d sent her to show her support of me working towards my writing. Belle had seen me working on my novel; she’d known how much effort, how much blood, sweat and tears I put into it, and a “not friend” of “someone she didn’t really like” was somehow worth more to her when she was selling MLM products than something I’d been working toward my entire life.
I think my therapist wanted to be like, ‘Look, your friend isn’t a friend. She is clearly a shit person. She can’t even do basic, empathic things that support you’, but I also don’t think a therapist’s supposed to push an opinion on you, so she suggested that I write about it, because I always processed things better by writing about them. (She didn’t suggest I post it anywhere, just that I wrote it. I thought posting it under an anonymous name in a small, almost completely unused forum, would help. I wanted to know what strangers thought. Then I legitimately forgot I even wrote the post until Belle brought it to my attention.)
After Belle had told me angrily that she didn’t want me bringing up what had happened in Emerald anymore, even though it was still happening and on-going, I’d hoped that when she read my articles, and she realised the extent of bullying I’d been facing by multiple people while being extremely ill, she’d maybe realise that I hadn’t told her everything, that I hadn’t explained how bad it was, and that she’d apologise and say, ‘That’s so fucking awful’, like everyone else had that had learnt the actual truth in my life.
But she didn’t.
She’d continue to hang out with them and talk to them, and I’d try and be polite and ask questions and shit, but she’d get funny about it, so I stopped.
Hence, the above-aforementioned post.
But then, when I was talking to Jas, telling her how excited I was, because things would be like the way they were, I was getting my friend back, I was happy, she pointed out a lot of things.
She pointed out that Belle hadn’t really apologised: She’d sort of apologised, but not really.
What she’d done was actually ask if I could forgive her for what she’d done, which is not the same as an apology.
And any sorrys she’d uttered, Jasmine pointed out, weren’t her accepting or taking any real blame for anything that had happened to me, directly because of her behaviour, whether she intended for those consequences to happen or not.
Jasmine eloquently pointed out how each of Belle’s sorrys had come at the fault of someone else – ‘Well, you were just so sick, with so many different things. And sometimes you’d sound like a robot when you were talking about it, like you weren’t emotional. It was easy to believe’ – which indicated that she wasn’t even willing to accept responsibility for her part.
It meant that, even in that conversation, she was desperately separating herself from what she’d done, because she didn’t want to accept the fact that she’d been gaslighting me the entire time. I’d known something was off – I’d written about it, and I was even more right than I could ever have expected – and she’d denied it, and on top of denying it, she’d deliberately tried to make sure I felt responsible, and that I had been the horrible person, not her.
She told me, over and over and over again, how she would come to me if there was a problem.
But she didn’t.
Jasmine pointed out that when we’d had our brief falling out, we’d both owned up to shit we’d done. We talked about how we’d said shit about each other behind the other’s backs, and what. We made a clear, conscious effort to repair the damage that’d been done, and to make sure that we were re-starting our friendship with honesty.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s many people I trust more than Jas. I definitely trust Jas more than Scott.
Jas … she just is. Sometimes, people just are things you can’t explain.
Jas is one of them.
She’d pointed out that while I’d been trying to do that, Belle wasn’t. She was literally doing anything but.
And then, Jas brought up, ‘She’s still trying to convince you that she doesn’t like them, yet she couldn’t once say that to you during your actual friendship, and on top of that, she told you she’d invited them to her wedding. She’s willing to make no adjustments, and continue on as if none of this happened, and expects you to just deal and accept.’
Like always, Jasmine was right.
I was so desperate to regain Belle’s friendship, I didn’t stop to consider the fact that she wasn’t offering friendship.
Probably another stab in the back, but not friendship.
She would never be willing to stand up for me, to admit what she’d done, to admit that she’d been a mean girl, to admit that what she and the others did have very real, life-altering consequences on Scott and I.
His family still won’t talk to him, so no one better fill the comment section of ‘Leave it all behind! Forget it!’, when we can’t, because remember these people spread the rumours of me having Munchhausen’s to Adelaide, to my husband’s home state, among all of his friends, and his parents, so when I say it’s still fucking happening for us, it’s because I mean that it’s still fucking happening for us.
So I wrote her a letter, explaining that I was sorry, but no, I couldn’t forgive her, before deleting and blocking her from my life.
Where is all of this going, you’re probably thinking, because my tangents don’t usually go off this much, but that’s where you’re wrong, because it wasn’t a tangent, but thanks for playing Karen.
I mentioned, recently, the severity of how my endometriosis had progressed in a report I didn’t receive, because during that time my doctor was making me see a psychologist, because my friends told everyone I had Munchhausen’s.
When they do that, and your doctor starts thinking you’re making yourself sick, you get sent to a psychologist.
Like I’ve said before, I don’t know what happened, and don’t fucking at me about that shit, because I’ve already explained it.
Well, here’s where the mindfulness starts coming in to play:
Because my health had been deteriorating, I started requesting more medical records, and combing through everything and anything, seeing if anything was missed, anything that could give any of the doctors any kind of clue as to what was causing all of my symptoms.
And that’s when I found the report. If you want to read about the report, click here.
And the endometriosis, on a pelvis that could only partially move, has made my pelvis pretty fucking stationary now.
The moment I saw that report, I knew what it meant. I knew it wasn’t good news.
I knew it meant I’d be lined up for a surgery, and because of my allergic reaction to the DEPO, and I couldn’t have the Mirena, and I can no longer take the pill, a tubal ligation would need to be a real consideration.
But the damage is extensive.
The endometriosis has spread.
And there’s a very, very good chance I’ll be having a hysterectomy in the next few months.
Part of me wants to be angry by this. In some ways, I am, because Belle will never understand the trauma she so wilfully caused, and K, who’s a therapist, is capable of inflicting this type of trauma and damage on someone, and I’m angry because they get to walk away and be the loved ones. The perfect ones.
They didn’t suffer any consequences, and I’ll probably have to have a hysterectomy.
But that’s what I want to get at: While I did feel angry, and while I can get bitchy/upset/mad about what happened at times, like every fucking normal person on the planet, I took a step back.
I don’t want children.
I’ve never wanted children.
If I ever wanted children, I never wanted to carry my own.
I knew my endometriosis was getting worse, and I don’t want a uterus – that fucker has been nothing but a pain in my fucking vagina since the moment I’ve been born (ha, I did a pun for real this time).
So yeah, sometimes I’m angry, because I don’t know why anyone would screw with anyone’s health the way those people did.
Sometimes I’m angry because people dismiss it as being “so long ago”, except that’s not the truth.
The truth is, the bullying went on far longer, and was far more deliberate, and far more cruel, than I’ve ever written.
The truth is, some (not many) of Scott’s Adelaide friends did believe the rumours. Most didn’t, and a large portion of that was credited to the fact that one of the people who did it isn’t exactly known for being nice, and as Scott has always been decent, and most of his friends had no reason to think I’d realistically poison myself for reasons no one has yet explained to me, it didn’t do quite as much damage as the original group of people did.
But do you know what that does do?
It makes you trust people less.
The people I trust the most? They came forward whenever Scott or I asked questions. One of Scott’s best friends immediately, after Belle had told me about the Munchhausen’s, said yes, he’d heard it, but he didn’t buy into that bullshit, and then he answered any questions Scott had.
Like I’ve said before, Scott has been devastated by this process, but the people I’m referring to, sometimes I think they’re Scott’s saving grace.
They’ve definitely been mine, more than once. Scott’s close friend’s wife is one of the most beautiful, sweet, kind and patient people I’ve ever known.
But, when you learn the depth some people have gone to betray and hurt you, that fundamentally changes who you are.
It doesn’t just stop.
Just like, when that person contacted my husband’s parents to tell them I had Munchhausen’s, they haven’t spoken to Scott for over a year.
That isn’t over for us.
At times, these things can be overwhelming. I don’t want Scott to not be in communication with his family; but I also can’t have anything to do with his family, because his parents are the most horrible, abusive, toxic people I’ve met.
What disturbs me is that a few people caught the drop in their façade, before the wedding, including both my aunts who walked in on one of Scott’s parents trying to go through what we’d received, and trying to open up everything, before my aunt was like, ‘Uhhh, you don’t get to decide what you like and don’t like. It’s not for you’, but so many people – including me – missed so many red flags.
But, it is what it is.
His parents prefer their image to the health and happiness of their son.
His parents prefer and care more for money than they do about their son.
Just like my friends didn’t care about the long-term consequences any of their bullshit had on me.
And it sucks.
Pretending it doesn’t suck doesn’t change the fact that it really fucking sucks.
Just like I’m sure getting a hysterectomy will suck a little, even if getting rid of my uterus is the best thing that’s ever happened, it’s not exactly a minor surgery. Recovering from surgery tends to be really rather crappy, unless they give you a lot of nice drugs.
Oooh, I really do hope for that. Now that is some silver-lining I can get behind.
Sometimes situations really fucking suck.
Sometimes there’s history behind it, so it’s never as simple as ‘just bad endometriosis’.
Sometimes there’ll be triggers to your past, making whatever is happening in the present just that much more painful and hard to manage.
The point isn’t about trying to find the bright side.
The point is about looking at a really fucked-up situation, taking some time out – whatever mindfulness practice has worked for you so far – and thinking about it, while asking yourself these questions:
- How does it affect me?
- Can I fix it? And if so, how?
- Will worrying about it solve anything?
- Will it affect me tomorrow? Or the week after? Or even ten minutes from now?
- Is my behaviour or mental attitude adding to the problem?
- Is there someone with me that is contributing to the problem?
- If it is a problem with another person, is there some way I could compromise to solve the problem?
- Is the problem my fault? If it isn’t, whose fault is it? And does it matter? Does it change anything?
And then remembering that while your situation is all kinds of fucked up, you’re going to survive it, because you have before.
Mindfulness isn’t meant to be about being positive all the damn time – it’s about letting yourself feel what you feel, know what you need, and practicing self-care.
And right now, as crappy as all the feelings are that surround my situation, it doesn’t change the fact that my endometriosis is worse now, and my uterus will be removed.
And I’m okay with that, because asking all the “What ifs?” in the world isn’t going to change those facts.