There have been times, since the New Year, that I have seen a new confident Emily. There have unfortunately, been a few times when I have seen an over confident Emily. This over confident version is rude, selfish and gives no thought to the feelings of others, her comments can be hurtful and unexpected. I guess this version is a standard teenager.
On one such occasion, when she had ridiculed me in front of my wider family, I asked her not to speak to me like that, she shrugged it off with a bit of a grin. Once at home I had to distance myself from her. The way she'd spoken to me, hurt more than I can say. Maybe my own dark thoughts were pushing through, but I went to my bedroom and I cried. I couldn't understand how a girl I had been through thick and thin with could talk to me like I was something stuck to the bottom of her shoe.
A positive to come out of the confidence is a new friend, or at least a renewal of an old friend. Mel and Emily were best friends in the early years of junior school. When the time came for Comprehensives, they went their separate ways. Emily to the local school full of bully's and no discipline, (obviously I didn't know this at the time) and Mel to the fantastic school my kids have now been transferred to.
It started with a Christmas card being sent via Emily's brother. Emily was surprised as she assumes no one really wants to be her friend, they must just pity her or being doing it for 'a laugh'.
I jumped on the opening and suggested she track Mel down on Facebook so that she could send a message to say thanks for the card. Reluctantly, Emily agreed. The friendship request was accepted and the message was, after more coaxing, finally sent.
A few more messages were exchanged, about presents received, and then Emily was reluctant to 'push it' any further. I suggested inviting Mel to our house, Emily said no, Mel already had friends.
A couple of days later I was considering trying to get in touch with Mel's mum. We'd also been friends during the junior school years and it was only when the kids no longer needed meeting at the school gate, that we fell out of touch.
Funny when you're thinking about someone and they actually contact you instead. I got a text from Mel's mum asking for Emily's mobile number. In the end us two Mums worked out a meet up, with the girls involved too. With Emily's permission I explained her illness and how it affected her, Mel and her Mum were shocked and very supportive. Emily was very anxious about starting up a friendship, which was why we'd arranged an activity, she worried she wouldn't know what to talk about.
The next day I took my kids and Mel out for a few hours and they seemed to have fun. Back at our house they danced on the Wii and watched a bit of TV together. Later Emily said it had been ok, it had been easier than she'd thought.
Last week saw a meeting with one of the Mental Health Workers and a number of people from school. We went through all the worries Emily has and what might help in particular situations. They had no problem with anything at all. They have been so accommodating. I thought when Emily asked to just do one lesson in the first week, that they would think it ridiculous. Far from it, it didn't matter, whatever it takes to get her back in school with as little anxiety as possible. I was amazed and immensely grateful. They also agreed to move Emily to the opposite side of the school year so that she can attend some lessons with Mel. Again, I thought it a long shot, but they agreed it was a good idea, it will give her a new chance at friendships away from the failed attempts last spring.
Emily has worked hard to get to where she is, and she will need to continue, but I have a much lighter heart knowing she will have a friend by her side. So it turns out, Facebook's not all bad.
- Mum of 2, suffering my own mental health issues, I began to write this blog as a way to release feelings and emotions. At 13 my daughter was terribly bullied which has led to her having serious mental health problems of her own. She is now 16. I wanted to document our journey and hopefully be able to look back and see how far we have come.