Depression · Family

Billy No-Mates

Alone in a CrowdWhen I was around 20, my whole life revolved around my friends. I was a social butterfly, to say the least, and my phone would be constantly abuzz with texts about nights out and things that I was doing that evening. My friend Jamillah and I used to joke and say that Tuesday was the new Friday because pretty much every night of the week was an excuse to be out, in the thick of it. I rarely paid to get into a club because I knew all of the door staff, or knew someone who knew someone who’d let us in for free, and there was more than one occasion that I’d go out with no money in my pocket at all, because I knew there’d be plenty of places where our money was no good anyway, and the drinks would still be flowing.

I won’t lie and say I was 100% happy, or that all of it was real, because I was definitely running away from reality and lots of the people I counted as ‘friends’ were nothing more than fellow party-goers, searching for the next buzz. I’m so grateful that I met Husband when I did because I think my burnout would have been far more spectacular, had I not. As it stands I met someone who cared about me a whole lot more than I cared about myself and it gave me the impetus to stop abusing my mind and body.

Skip forward a few years and even the friends who were real, the ones I have almost life-long memories with, are few and far between. I won’t lie to you, dear readers, it’s largely my fault. A heady mix of lack of confidence because of my weight, combined with social anxiety that was exacerbated by PTSD means that I’m flaky at best. I’m great at talking to people on Facebook, but actually mobilising myself and getting to a coffee shop or friends house sends me into a tailspin. Even when I do make plans, more often than not I’ll cop out and cancel at the last minute. For someone who used to thrive on being out and about, it’s quite a turnaround.

I’m lucky in the fact that I have a lot of friends that I’ve met through blogging and social networking, people who I genuinely class as proper friends (like that Mummy Barrow, who spent ages trying to phone round my local hospital when she found out I’d been taken ill last year!). And the immediate gratification of being able to pick up my phone or turn on my laptop at pretty much any time of the day and connect with someone makes it even easier for me to be a shut in.

I’m also lucky in that I’m very happy with my little family. Husband is the best friend I could possibly ask for; we have so much in common and even when we’re both working from home, we find new and interesting things to talk about – we connect really well, even after 8 years of marriage, which is a huge blessing. And then there’s my darling Sausage. She’s an absolute pleasure to spend time with and more often than not, I’d rather go for a hot chocolate with her than do anything else.

But…

I still have this weird feeling of loneliness sometimes. I see old school friends on Facebook going out and having fun and I do get a pang of jealousy. It’s no-ones fault but my own, no-one has stopped me from maintaining my friendships, no-one forces me to be a social failure. Someone asked me last week if I’d had a baby shower yet and I was forced to admit that not only had I not ever had a baby shower, but I probably couldn’t muster up enough friends to even go to one. Same goes for my 30th – having a party would be pointless as it’d be me, standing in a big hall, surrounded by about 20 people, most of whom would be family. I’m not saying I don’t have any friends at all, I do, but I feel totally displaced from just about everyone and it’s all a bit sad, really.

Maybe it’s just me being pregnant and hormonal, I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll join a mother and baby group once 2.1 comes along and see if I can find some equally lonely shut-ins, like me. Perhaps I need to just man the hell up and start actually leaving the house for longer than it takes to do the school run or wander round Waitrose.

9 thoughts on “Billy No-Mates

  1. I know how you feel. I felt exactly the same when my kids were small. We had moved from East London to Bas Vegas and I had no mates atall. It wasn’t until I started delivering Avon that I got to know all my neighbours, then when the boys started school they all recognised me and starting chatting to me at the school gate. Im still Friends with them all, although now I live out in the sticks I’ve become a hermit and I only enjoy being with Hubby…I must admit I like it that way. But in my 20s & 30s I needed friends and someone to have coffee mornings with xxx

  2. It is like you are talking to me, but have said it so much better than I ever could. I know exactly where you are coming from. As a result of the bullying I had I doubt whether or not people like me and so if I feel they are loosing interest in me I pull away. I assume that no-one likes me and no-one wants me there and so I don’t attend events.

    I was thinking but not decided on todays topic, but having read your post I know what I want to say today – thank you!

  3. I feel exactly the same hun, i try mother and baby groups but often find they have their own little bands of people they talk to, when your ready to be up and about with number two im all too happy to meet up and try a group together or just go for a coffee x

  4. Wow, scrub the being pregnant and the PTSD and this is me, to a tee! I recently found out my chief bridesmaid got married, I didn’t even know she was engaged never mind being invited to the event. It hurt like hell and made me realise just how small my world has become and how I’ve managed to let things slide on the friendship front. I’ve made it my goal this year to remedy this, even if I live in another country to all my old friends it doesn’t mean that I can’t make some effort, which I’d been sorely lacking. I know that I have to go way outside of my now comfort zone, but if I don’t I’m scared I’ll forget how to socialise at all.

  5. Oh Jayne, I felt like that for so long after I had Roo. I had no job to go back to, I was the youngest person by at least 10 years in my antenatal group, and I was horribly shunned by other mums in the area. One noticed my lack of wedding ring and asked if Roo was planned. Nice, huh?! Bitches.

    When we moved down to Southampton I was pretty much forced to look at it as a brand new start, as the only people I knew were my inlaws. I ended up being coaxed along to a craft group and I forced myself to go every week, and that is where I met my BFF down here. My shitty battle with depression really knocked all my confidence for six, but I am just forcing myself to go out now because I know I’ll feel like a fucking champion when I’ve done it. I’ve written on my blog about how I am scared of doing new things on my own, but in the last three months I scored myself a little job, and went to a new gym, without anyone holding my hand, and it felt great.

    Baby steps, I think, are the way forward. Go to Waitrose (and get your free cuppa whilst you’re there) and then do something else for you. There will definitely be likeminded new mums when 2.1 comes along, so maybe find a baby group to go to. I know they are generally hideous, but you can always be the sarcastic one in the corner.

    If you’re going to Britmums this year at all, it’s my 30th birthday just before yours, so we can have a little bash with the blogging pals we love xxx

  6. Just before my second was born I was in the same boat (although I’d never really been a social animal!). My anxiety kept me indoors and so I joined a popular parenting forum and put up an honest advert in the ‘meet new mums’ section explaining why I was part-hermit. I made a couple of fantastic friends and it helped get me out of the house and gave the kids new friends too.
    I still don’t have enough mates to throw a big party, but I now know a good group of peeps and feel much happier in myself.

  7. I read a “cliched” quote that said “Friends are like stars, you may not always see them but you know they are there” I know you are still friends with Jamillah and as we get older, I’ve found it is not always about the quantity but the quality.

    And those friends that are posting pictures of their crazy nights out …. maybe just maybe are feeling that same “running away from reality” that you did once upon a time.

    When baby No 2 arrives, I bet you will be surprised at the friends you have xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.