Friendships are quintessential to one’s existence. Life just seems to go by in more of a positive whirlwind if you have someone to talk to and identify with. Supportive and patient friendships are especially crucial for someone who is unstable, and is susceptible to swallowing any of the six bottles of pills on her counter spontaneously one day in a fit of craze, or maybe too much confusion over actually living. There are days where pills pretty much act for me like the glowing needle on the spindle for Sleeping Beauty. I experienced that feeling this week, but I moved too slowly for anything to really materialize. Rather, my brain put me in a chokehold to message someone who ended up stopping everything. I did not end up back at St. Mike’s again, but my head is in a mess right now. I asked that person what someone who actually goes through with dying is thinking in their absolute last moments. I felt like I was feeling those moments on Wednesday. I was ready to go, but for the umpteenth time, my brain stopped me. I feel like I will not be able to sustain myself much longer. I guess we will see how this plays out.
I have been thinking a lot lately about friendships…the real stand-by-you friendships. I love my best friends and they know who they are. I have had my ups and downs with them especially over the past three years, and trying most days (frustratingly at times) to make them understand how fucked up I am, and that looking at a message that says “how are you” is pretty much redundant from my perspective. Right now though, I am not going to write about them because I think we are at peace with each other. I want to instead think about all the friends I have lost, and how even introspecting now, how unhappy I am to not have some of them in my life anymore.
Z and I were friends for over a decade. We bonded mostly over our broken families – fucked up family situations of which we could cry and talk about with each other for hours. For that decade, until everything kind of spiraled, Z was one of very, very few people in my life who really understood what it was like to experience the weirdest of broken family situations…and to experience these situations at adulthood, a time in which you can really absorb pain to the point that it becomes depression. There were days where I thought I really only could talk to Z, and when we spoke about everything that hurt in our lives in the most honest and genuine of ways, it was just the two of us caught up in our own worlds, trying to sustain and push each other up. Z never knew me as a person diagnosed as bi-polar. I had impulsively ended our friendship around the time I think I was starting to become repressively depressed. This was about six months before I had my first two real breakdowns (i.e. the reality show and walking away from my chance at working in Singapore). I sometimes wish she knew me now, but sometimes I don’t.
Z knew how to connect deeply with me in the most positive ways. But Z also knew how to bring out the worst in me. There were times where I never felt like much of a human being next to Z. I created these demons in my mind that Z wanted to push me down. At the root of it all, and as I have always introspected, we both had insecurities because of everything that broke us, and what we felt had done us wrong in life. I will never know, but I think Z might have had anxieties or even a mental illness of her own. In some ways, if we were still friends, I think Z would understand me at my worst breakdowns like not many others would. Sometimes, when I have had horrific breakdowns, I have wished that I could call Z. I know a little bit from others that Z has found happiness. Though I miss Z at times, I am glad that Z has finally found her peace.
Q and V
Q and V were friends first. I met them both through a mutual acquaintance. For a couple of years, in the midst of the pressures of school and deadlines, they threw me into an intense rush of weekend trips, nights out, and staying up all night talking. Our friendship was surface-level at first, but all the long conversations and time spent together turned into something deeper. I was never as close with V, but I think at times we filled a loneliness gap for each other. She was in Canada on her own. I was in denial of my home life. It was fun to spend time together in almost a ‘bubble away from reality’. She treated me like a little sister – taught me to dress a little prettier, be a more ‘confident’ woman, and live life like every day is the last. Hanging out with her made me automatically happy because she was such a positive person.
Q was very intense, and rightfully so, she was bi-polar. Back then, I never really understood what she was going through. In many ways I acted the way I think my friends now acted towards me in the beginning – lost, cautious, and unsure of what to do. Unrightfully so, I was sometimes insensitively impatient, which resulted in an often tumultuous relationship. Q, like me, came from a broken home, so once again like with Z, we identified with each other on a number of levels. We could talk about our situations for hours and time would disappear away from us. I loved talking to Q. We could be intensely positive, and then become intensely sad, but together in these feelings almost in sync. I would never know until almost eight years later that I was just like her. We were both bi-polar. It is a sad feeling because the most impactful moments in my life this past year have involved encountering people who have been going through the same experiences as I have. In sad retrospect now, I could have experienced and fought through some of the worst moments of my life with a best friend who truly understood being suicidal, being manic, and being utterly and completely broken.
Q and I ended our friendship in the most volatile and regretful of ways. To this day, I regret that moment. I said the worst things I could say to another person because she was selfish in that moment and that made my temper implode. From that point, I had no choice though but to move on. It does not mean I do not miss her. I worry about her sometimes still. I wish I could talk about being bi-polar with her. V stuck by her, so I lost both of them as friends. Every now and then I will look at our old pictures and wonder for a wistful moment, how they are.
It was 1999, and X somehow found his way onto my ICQ. I had no idea who he was in person (until two days later), but high school was all about meeting new people. We talked for hours every day – from everything like emo rock bands, Catholicism and faith, our crazy families, to wild dreams of what we would grow up to be (he did become a doctor, while I never became a lawyer who did fashion design / short-story writing on the side – literal – laugh out loud). He called my house every single day. My mom hated him. She thought he was my boyfriend. I thought he was my boyfriend, but he ended up dating my friend. I ended up dating someone else. Yes, I miss high school because it was that uncomplicated.
X to this day is probably the most intense individual I have ever met. It certainly makes sense since I found out he became a psychiatrist (and scarily enough, a psychiatrist at my hospital and re-hab centre – we have never crossed paths yet). He was intensely happy, and then suddenly intensely sad. Whenever he was angry at me, the friendship was immediately over, and he would stare at me with the most murderous eyes. A few days later, a middle friend would deliver me a letter telling me everything that I had done wrong. It would always end with the fact that I was not that friend who would “stand by him” through it all. When we were friends, our song was “We’re in This Together” by Nine Inch Nails. We would listen to it together on loop thinking we were going to be friends forever. To this day, it is still my favourite song (well, other than – Hurt, but that doesn’t help me with being suicidal).
Somewhere along the way, I did something wrong. I had family issues, and confided in everyone but him. I got caught up in other people in my life, and when he was experiencing issues, I was not there for him in the capacity that I should have. We distanced ourselves, and barely talked. The final letter came, and for someone who was only in his teens, he wrote eloquently in a way that would literally break someone in pieces inside. It was literally to this day still one of the hardest letters I have ever had to read. I threw it away at one point when I moved out of my dad’s house. There was no point going back to read a letter that told me everything that was so head-crushing wrong with me, and how much I could disappoint another person. He psychoanalyzed me before he even became a psychiatrist. He psychoanalyzed me in a way perhaps nobody ever could because he understood me that much.
Sometimes, I wonder how it would be if after one of my suicide attempts, he would be the doctor to show up in the white room and ask me what’s wrong. It would certainly be ironic.
W and I were partnered in some assignments together. We had a good team dynamic and this lead to friendship. We would end up, in between getting things done, taking walks and talking for hours. W is wildly intelligent, and I always felt like I was learning from him. He inspired me, and I loved our conversations. Whether I was pissed or sad, he brought me back to positivity. Similar to X, I kind of felt alive when I talked to W. Similar to X actually, W was just as intense in conversation, and even in silence.
W had been through a lot in life, and so I always felt like I could identify with him in the things that he would share (or the things that I could bring myself to share). There were some times I felt extremely guarded with him, because I did not want to lose his friendship like I lost X’s. I knew somewhere in my head that intense friendships always have a harder chance at surviving. But when I shared, I felt he really listened. W also started listening to me, gaining my trust and pulling uneasy things out of me in the shortest amount of time. I sometimes wonder if we had known each other for 10 – 15 years, how incredible our friendship could have been. Sometimes, I am not sure if anyone has ever listened to me in my life as much as W has, with maybe the exception of X. As far as I could remember, finding a friendship with the intensity of X’s was just impossible. I was a teenager though when I was friends with X, so my memory could be flawed. Then again, I was only a little bit older with W.
Long story short, and with circumstances in between, W and I drifted apart, and we just stopped talking. There are some days where I think I can just call him again and things will be like they were. I miss W, but I don’t think we will ever be friends again. I just hope, wherever W is, he is happy.
I know it’s kind of ironic that I wish all of my past friends happiness, but I honestly really do. If I cannot be happy, at least I have solace in knowing that the people who have made me happy in the past are happy themselves. I am not sure exactly what I intended to accomplish by thinking about people this week from my past. It was kind of torturous but at the same time cathartic. I miss these people in my life, and I miss them even more as I became depressed. It is not at all that my friends, JH or my family cannot fill the void, but sometimes you need different people in your life for different reasons. Sometimes I think that this particular set of individuals would have been beneficial in carrying me through adjusting to becoming bi-polar. I sometimes wonder how these people would feel if they found out I had killed myself today. Would they be sad? It’s kind of twisted to think that way, but I still wonder.
Okay, it’s Thanksgiving soon. Here’s a recipe and some ‘pretty’ photos. I am a bit exhausted from the above, so I am going to literally stop talking now.
The Not-So-Secret Secrets:
Pumpkin Shortbread Tart
- Pâte Sucrée – from my previous recipe linked here.
- Pumpkin filling – recipe below.
- Spiced whipped topping – recipe below.
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
Spiced Whipped Topping
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- The evening before (or a few hours before), line a lightly greased fluted tart pan with the pâte sucrée. Allow the dough to rest overnight.
- Slowly whisk all the pumpkin filling necessities in a stand mixer until just combined.
- Pour into the lined tart pan.
- Bake for 425 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F, and cook for approximately 38 minutes more.
- Allow the pie to cool and sink slightly. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, prepare the whipping topping. Combine the cream, spices and sugar in a stand mixer, and whip until light peaks form. Messily cover the tart with the topping.