Wednesday, 21 January 2009

My best friend Claire and Anxiety

My best friend is called Claire. I met her when I was 11 and she was just 7. Her family had just moved into the house opposite where I lived with my parents. I remember being quite excited watching a removal van arrive at the house opposite with a family also getting out of a car in the drive. Two children got out. One was Claire and the other, her sister Racheal aged 4.

It was later that day I was riding my bike along the pavement outside my house just trying to be nosey. Then Claire and her sister came out on their bikes and started to ride around and around the lamppost. We were all quite shy and didn't speak. I decided to ride around the lamp post also. I guess we were playing the children's game follow the leader. We started to smile and giggle amongst ourselves. Then it went from there to following each other around the paths and lanes.

Since that day we have all been good friends.

We went to different schools so when we got home we were straight round each other's houses.
A few of my friends thought it was bizarre that one of my best friends was only 7 but this didn't stop me being friends with her.

At the age of 11 there was no sign of panic attacks or agoraphobia. Looking back I can see how free I was. Just taking playing with my best friend for granted. Having fun making dens, riding bikes, round the village, playing chase for hours. All this started to change at age 13 but as long as I was with someone I could still play.

We loved playing tennis but this is one game that was the hardest for me to play. We played it outside my house on the pavement. I must admit I was that good at tennis that when Claire served the ball I mostly missed hitting it and off it went down the road behind me. It was fine if the ball was about a few metres away from me but further than that Claire ended up running down the road for the ball each time I missed it. I can see how frustrating this must have been for her but she didn't show it.

One day I went over her house to play and she showed me what she had bought in town. It was a badminton set. She said that she bought it for us to play instead of tennis as the shuttle cock just lands if you miss it. We still giggle about our one-sided games of tennis. This is just one of the examples that Claire was a great friend.

Walking across the road to each other's houses started to get more difficult with the anxiety getting worse. It started off with me starting to get scared of the space between our two houses and I began to dread it. Claire started to walk me to and from her house so I did not get scared. But it got worse. I started to be scared walking with her sometimes.

I'm not sure if she understood how I was feeling but she never really asked. She just accepted that I had a fear and tried her best to help. As it got harder walking to and from our houses, we would leave our front doors and Claire held my hand and just said RUN!! and we both laughed and ran. This actually helped somehow.

This was all a small part of our friendship and how my anxiety started to effect what we could do.
I'm sure I will write more about Claire later in my blog.

Claire now is 26 and she works in a home for children with autism and other problems. She is one of the most caring and patient people I know. I'm glad that we are friends.


Lynn said...

Awww i liked this. Agoraphobia aside it is a sweet story. x

Ron said...

I agree with Lynn - what a great idea the badminton was - obviously superioe intellgence at work here.

Kaci said...

It is always so nice to have supportive friends and she sounds great. :)

rosiero said...

An understanding friend can make all the difference. She sounds a true friend for life.