Watching a dear buddy fade away before your eyes is one of the more distressing experiences a person can have. Not knowing how to help someone who clearly needs you, it’s debilitating.
This darling girlfriend of mine – one of my closest soul buddies – was really struggling about a year ago. She wasn’t eating properly, she was sleep-deprived and she was perpetually busy. She was truly zombie-like, wandering around her own life as if it were someone else’s.
But she had this eerie superpower and that was the power to make people believe she was completely fine when she wanted them to. She had this impenetrable professional armour that she wore to work every day, like nothing could touch her and everything was just dandy. So, for a really long time, anyone who came into contact with her professionally just thought she was breezy, strong and totally together.
She could juggle the many conflicting aspects of her life so deftly; other women would look to her for advice on how to get their lives together. She was untouchable, which is why it was so damn hard to broach the subject of how unsustainable her life was.
Even around acquaintances, she was vibrant and excitable and sweet. In front of certain friends, it was like she couldn’t help but project this sparkly, perfect persona. Maybe I have a superpower too, and it’s seeing through all her put-on sparkle. Or, you know, maybe I became mildly obsessed with monitoring her moods and checking how much she was eating, sleeping and looking after herself.
It wasn’t really until she stayed with me for a couple of weeks that I truly began to see chinks in her armour. I noticed that she would leave the house with no breakfast, go to the gym at dinner time and sleep for a maximum of four hours a night. She would pace the living room wringing her hands rather than sit in front of the TV and zone out like I did. She was constantly checking her mobile, not letting it out of her hands or her sight for a minute.