I'm not speaking to one of my best friends. She doesn't read this blog (because she "doesn't want to encourage me"), but her friends do, so I'm not even gonna use her usual pseudonym. She's a heart-on-her-sleeve, high maintenance, manic type who takes a lot of energy to deal with usually, but who would go to the ends of the earth for you if you say just one word.
But she's on the 'up' part of the manic cycle right now, and I'm clutching at defences to cope with her when she over-medicates and rings me on Christmas Day to shout "where's my PRESENT", or on New Year's Eve to yell "donkey!" (Christ only knows why), or to point out that all-my-friends-are-out-with-my-ex that night, and doesn't-that-feel-weird-for-me?
Last time I saw her, she cooked me a beautiful Christmas dinner, but then invited someone she knows I loathe to share it with us, and they spent all day chatting about how wonderful all their relationships had always been. One minute she was cooking in the kitchen, the next she was nowhere to be found - she'd run out of the house to 'do something' without thinking to tell us.
The time before that, we had a sugar products and videos evening (like you do); I spent #15 on Belgian choccies to take round. I left in a hurry for some reason - she rang me to tell me that I'd left the chocolates and she didn't want to get fat, so she'd thrown them in the bin.
She's caught up in a relationship triangle, too, that's hard work, because one of the guys she's seeing - the geriatric millionaire - is a homophobe, and doesn't like to think of me or her other gay friends being in her house, because it makes him feel unclean. Her other partner, a builder in his twenties, is lovely, but a bit hopeless, but she keeps ridiculing him to everyone: in his presence, on the phone, mid sentence, then calling him possessive. I did use to point out my objections, but I think it hurt her badly, and now I find that hard to bite my tongue about.
The medication she's on makes her belligerent and prone to exaggeration; largely because she drinks heavily on it, while asserting that she lives an ascetic lifestyle, and is avoiding the usual outre lawlessness of our previous social lives while trying for a baby. So when she tells me that she spent most of the holiday alone in bed being depressed, I'm not sure if she means a day, or a week.
I feel dreadful guilty about it, but she's too much for me to take right now. Dreadful guilty, because I know that she's the only person in the world who doesn't get bored when you ring in tears at three in the morning night after night after night. And because the only reason I didn't lose my mind entirely last autumn was because she let Wickedex move out of here to stay with her rent free. She's a thick and thin type of friend who's always always there for you. But with the other stuff that's going on right now, I just can't deal.
I know that long term friendships with people necessarily go through highs and lows, and points where you don't talk at all, then forgive each other for. But still, the man-triangle thing and the medication thing mean she needs support right now. Also, we had intended to go to South Africa together this summer - dunno what'll happen to that now. I was talking to JatB about this, and she pointed out that it's ten years to the day since the last time this friend got too much to deal with and I stopped speaking to her for six months.
I dunno. As a teenager, one of my friends was sectioned, and I couldn't deal with it. She developed a fixation with hating me because of that, sent me all sorts of weird stuff in the mail - copies of greek tragedies with all the lines that referred to killing people underlined in purple (she seemed to think purple represented me for some weird reason), and all the other pages scrawled with words like 'hate'. All my friends at the time (who weren't as close to her) thought I was a shit of the highest order for cutting her off at her lowest point - just one, much older friend, said that how we deal with mental illness is our prerogative, that others couldn't judge us for saying no. I never regretted making that decision, (despite her knocking me unconscious in the street three years later) - but I'm not sure if this, here, now, is a similar case. Or if brooding on my own problems is simply making me become more and more insular, and encourages me to make less and less effort with my friends.
Anyway, I'm not speaking to her. On the grapevine I found that neither are several of her other friends who've had a bit of an overdose of her mania of late. I might be right, I might be wrong.
I hope I'm not too wrong.