Before reading this post I want to state that there could be a possible trigger warning to some people, I will not be including numbers or images surrounding triggering subjects - just the topic in general may be triggering to some readers. Furthermore before I start I have spoken to my best friend about this post I would never go against her wishes of posting a post something so personal to both of us. I really hope this post resonates with someone somewhere.
I want to give you a little bit of a back story to this post and the best friend mentioned in this post - Milly. This girl has been a MASSIVE part of my life for a very long while now from the first days of high school to this day. I met this girl on the first day of high school due to her being in my form, we stuck together throughout high school. 5 years. We were joined at the hip.
There will be some incredibly old and cringey photos on this post so please have a giggle and a smile at some old photos of the both of us. During high school everything was 'fine and dandy' we laughed, we loved and we had photoshoots every single time we saw each other. I absolutely adored this girl from the day I met her and still am now. We have shared so many incredible memories together from going to Bude, Barcelona, Santa Ponsa and so many more. We've been to so many places and had so much fun together when we didn't even realise it. We didn't need to have millions of pounds to have a great time together all we needed was each other. I'll never forget when my Mum came upstairs with crisps and snacks for us and you forced yourself to eat one because you felt so bad even though you DESPISED potato. From that to you being so out of it on the flight to Barcelona with your calms tweets and so much more. It's hilarious the amount of things we have to speak about and more. I absolutely adore you girl.
We then went to college, I was doing my three A Levels and Mill was doing everything under the sun. So we only saw each other during lunch time because we didn't do the same A Levels / Different Classes. Mill was the girl who would go to Sainsbury's and pick a packet of two buns and eat the two with no shame and I adored that about her. Then I noticed things were changing 'I've already eaten' 'I'm not too hungry' and statements like this and I never wanted to go up to her and be like hey wait, something's going wrong here. And she was wearing this massive puffa jacket she never took off in lunch time because she was cold and as I never saw her in lesson time so I never saw her with her blooming coat off. I knew something was up, I knew something was going wrong. It then all clicked because she had gone from a beautiful, eyes bright bubbly smiley girl to a 'shell' because I knew her like the back of my hand, it wasn't her. (Not saying she wasn't beautiful she of course was but she's not the girl I met and fell in love with).
One thing lead to another and she got taken into hospital. This was the most devastating thing for me because even though we had separated slightly we still meant everything to each other and still do. I will never forget the first time I ever visited Mill in hospital. It took a while for us both to plan this with visiting hours with my parents working and so on. We got to the night and turned up to the hospital and I was TERRIFIED. I hadn't seen my best friend in so long I was worried about what I was going to see. My mum and dad came in with me of course because Milly is a 'second daughter' to them. I think we only had an hour and a half / 2 hours. To us this was the shortest time ever. We had the loveliest time speaking about hospital about ourselves about everything else and all of a sudden it was a knock on the door to 'you're going to have to leave' I walked out in the corridor and a patient looked at me and said 'aww milly you're going home with your sister' and it was SO hard not to break down, I gave her the biggest cuddle and said how much I loved her and the door got locked behind me. I walked downstairs and got into the car park with my parents and I looked at my dad and I broke down into tears (don't think she knows this) but I broke. I genuinely thought that time was going to be the last time i'd ever see her. I don't think there was a time where I visited and I didn't leave crying until of late within the past year.
Months passed, the woman got released and I was the happiest girl in the world, then it was another hospitalisation. So it was a massive load of emotions for me because I was getting my best friend back then getting her taken away from me. I won't go into the nitty gritty but it was a long 2/3 years a VERY long 2/3 years. It was a lot of us seeing each other as much as possible, her sneaking on the wifi, hospital visits on the weekends and so much more.
This girl was and still is my best friend the last 2/3 years have been incredibly hard and incredibly testing for us. Due to her being in hospital, me 'getting on with my life' and then now me being at uni, it was incredibly hard for the both of us. Milly was/is dealing with her things and as was I. And we've grown up we've grown up through it we may not see each other as much as we used to and spend as much time together however we are still bestest friends and when we do get time to see each other - it feels the exact same as the house photoshoots we used to do in half an hour before we left each other because we wanted all the memories.
I know this process for my best friend has been hell and no doubt still will be hell - but as i've seen her at her worst I know now she's slowly becoming the girl I know and love. Not saying I didn't love her when she was at her lowest, I adored her, it was just hard for me to see this person i'd known for so many years so hurt. I think during this week I've seen so many empowering posts about eating disorders from the sufferers perspective and i've not really seen any from an 'outsiders' point of view yet. When Mill first got ill and I visited her in hospital and was speaking about her illness diagnosis' and so on I took the initiative to research the illness read peoples blogs, watch videos and more because before then I didn't understand it at all. I was incredibly naive to it. So I made it my effort to understand and just be there. I didn't want to interfere or be in her face all I wanted her to know was - I'm here. Always. No matter what time of day. I know with mental health it can be overwhelming when people are all over you and in your face, which is the complete opposite of what I ever wanted to be. During this process with certain friends said the comment 'She doesn't listen to me, so I never know what to say'. The second I heard this I lost respect for the person and thought you have NO idea of the illness and don't ever have the capacity to ever put themselves in her shoes. Which I despised. I know whenever I spoke to Mill about recovery and what we'd do after recovery it went straight through one ear and out of the other - but I knew one day it will sink in and the penny will drop - and here we are now.
This post has mainly be about me and milly and the process of the two of us but what I really wanted to show is my perspective on this 'experience'. Going through a mental illness is hard enough, never mind seeing a loved one going through it. The only piece of 'advice' I can give is, be patient. Recovery will not last 3 months it may even never end. But throughout that time just be there. The only thing I can ever say is, just be there for that person - you may be that person keeping them going. Keeping them sane. I have had a few people speak to me 'about' Mill saying how much they adored that I was there throughout her illness and will continue to be and it means a lot to me because it has been an incredibly long process but I wouldn't have wanted it any different because she's my best friend I was never going to leave her over something 'in her mind' she was still the same beautiful girl inside and out who made me DIE with laughter and still does. I could never think of leaving anyone over a Mental Health issue never mind leaving her. Milly has been my best friend from day one.
You are magical Mill inside and out.
Her illness did not define her it never has and never will. Same to anyone else reading this, if you are struggling with mental health currently it doesn't define you, you are you and you are perfect and you will get through this. Even if it takes many years, you will get through it.
Love, Ellie x
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