I wanted to take a moment to thank Adele for releasing her new song 'Hello' today. It's a beautiful song and of course her amazing talent shines through. If you've not listened to it yet, then I really urge you to go and do that now!
The main reason I wanted to say my thanks was because it's a song that seemed to reach inside of me and really take a bit of what I've been trying to say and put it into the most beautiful words. I love music and singing, but it's been a while since I really felt a song this much. According to a review by The Telegraph; Hello offers a glimpse into Adele's inner private sphere, singing of loss and regret, of loss and attempts to rekindle friendships that have drifted apart. As I sat listening in the car today, I felt myself going all goose-pimply and just thinking 'yes, that's exactly it'.
I've always wanted to write beautifully, in an inspiring and poetic kind of way. Moving people not only by the content of my words but with my own style. Perhaps the perfectionist, that never really feels content, within me feels like I currently settle for adequate! So in a way, it was wonderful that Adele put into words some of the ideas I've been trying to convey. I've written a little about friendship and mental health before; firstly when blogging about being incommunicado but still caring and more recently about my gratitude to friends who have stuck by me throughout my difficulties with my mental health.
Perhaps that's why I felt such a connection with 'Hello'. The song starts with the idea of getting back into contact with someone you've drifted apart from, with an idea that things maybe should be different but haven't quite got there yet... for me time made things more strained and challenging. A chasm of unsaid words, assumptions and anxiety made even the notion of that kind of phone call terrifying. Next, the idea of being a different person than you used to be, having a weird memory that's not totally there of the past but recognising that perhaps those similarities aren't there as much, the shared present is different now. You're then led into the powerful chorus- the missed calls and attempts to make contact that often don't happen. I found anxiety was a huge block for me, fear outweighing any positive that might come from getting back in touch. Then the idea of making that contact but somehow messing it up by saying the wrong thing or getting the balance right, something I was always completely terrified of! When mental health problems are getting you down and simple things like self care seem impossible, it can be so easy to lose touch with people. Having friends who stand by you and support you is something to be really thankful for, but when you come out the other side of your problems... trying to rebuild lost friendships can be such a challenge.
I saw an advert for the Bupa Cancer Survivorship Programme recently, it depicts someone who has completed their treatment and 'beaten' cancer returning to their lives pre-illness. Of course I am not saying my situation has been comparable to that of someone who has beaten cancer, but there were definitely some similarities. Being in hospital for ten months meant I was off work for the majority of that time. Finishing my treatment program and returning to the real world was surreal. It was all similar and yet very different. I was terrified of seeing people I knew and getting back to normal but equally terrified of not doing so. In the Bupa advert, the young man walks into his office to be greeted by a colleague with a bunch of balloons and big smiles. My first day back in the office passed me by like a big blur of hugs and excitement but also a tiny bit of hesitation and perhaps awkwardness of how to deal with the situation. I'm so glad to be back to normal with work now, but it was definitely a very odd situation to return to. More recently I've gone back to University, back to familiar surroundings but a different cohort of peers and a different mindset to being on my course.
I wish there was a manual to guide you through rekindling friendships and returning to a similar but admittedly different life after time when you have been unwell through mental illness or in hospital because of it. My eating disorder took a lot from me and really shut me away from a lot of people in my life, and it's only now that I feel robust and resilient enough to try and navigate the nerves and fears of getting back into contact with some of those people. You work hard to find a way through the darkness and back to the life you want and deserve to be living, to find that not everyone waited for you... a few drifted away but it doesn't mean they're gone for good. You never know, they might be waiting for you to come back to them.
So thank you Adele, for explaining it so much better than me!
See Kate's full blog here.