So I’ve mentioned Cookie a lot on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually explained who she is. Cookie is Vicky, my flatmate. But with both of us being Vicky, it got a bit weird. We became friends about 8 years ago on the Kick Asthma message boards, which was the kids version of the AUK boards. We chatted for years online but nothing ever came of it until I moved to England in 2009. The first time we met, I came up to Manchester to go to a dentist appointment with her. At the time she was terrified of the dentist and had a root canal due. We were sat talking about it at 11pm the night before, and I decided that night that I’d get on a train the next day and come to the dentist with her.
The second time we met, was when I was flying home from Belfast after a close friends funeral. Cookie had been really struggling with her mental health and not much was being done about it. I told her to book a doctors appointment and I would fly back into Manchester and go to the doctors with her about her depression. That was the first time she had confronted it and actually gone to get help about it. Scary to think that’s over 5 years ago. It was Friday 6th March 2009 that I finally realised how bad things were, and to see how far things have come since then is a massive eye opener. I often wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t come up that day. This is one of those times where I believe in fate.
Anyway, when I moved back to England after my exams and had split up with Chris, we got talking a lot again. She was having a really rough time with her mental health, and a lot of the medication she was taking for different problems were interacting and causing her to get really sick and she wasn’t keeping food down. Her GP knew they needed to stop all her meds and restart them one by one to find out which one it was that was causing all the problems. But with her MH being the way it was, it wasn’t the safest of options to have her alone during this period. Her GP wanted her admitted to the psych ward, but if you’re physically ill, which she was with the vomiting, then the psych ward won’t take her. But the medical wards considered it psych’s problems. At the time I was sleeping on my friend’s floor in Loughborough, and was stuck in a bit of a hole. It was rubbish and my head wasn’t in the best place. I said that as there wasn’t any use me sitting looking at the same four walls in Bobby’s flat, that I may as well come up and stay with Cookie while she was going through all that. I was meant to stay for a week, and I never really left.
The thing is, a lot of people have said that I made the wrong decision in coming up to stay. And this is something I’ve thought about a lot since I made that decision in Oct 2011. I have a best friend called Vicky. My best friend was in trouble, and I was in a position to help. I’ve been the person who has needed someone to be there and there’s been nobody, and I know how alone I felt at that time. I’ve lost count of the nights that we’ve sat up playing card games because she’s struggling to sleep and her head’s misbehaving, or the times I’ve put her back together because of Self Harm accidents. I’ve spent many a night with her in A&E after an overdose and a lot of other nights sitting worrying about her because she’s my best friend and we worry about best friends. In 5 years, I’ve sat with my best friend as the doctors told me she’d been deprived of oxygen and may not wake up, I’ve held her hand as she’s sat rocking back and forwards because the voices in her head were shouting things I can’t even comprehend coming out of anyone’s mouth. I’ve had to restrain her as she’s tried to escape from a ward when she’s been under a psych hold, and been the one to get the blame when she legged it off the ward regardless. But at the same time, I’ve been the one who has ended up having an asthma attack because I’ve laughed so much at something random we’ve been talking about, the one who has learned patience, empathy and a hell of a lot of compassion. I make it sound like it’s been horrific. And yea, at times it was. But when she was sectioned in 2012-2013, I had to make a decision. Would I abandon my friend in the biggest hour of need? Or would I stick around, make sure she got better and that she had a home to come back to when she got out? Needless to say that I chose option 2. Since she was discharged on the 9th April last year, the difference I see in her is unreal. She has become so much better at dealing with her symptoms, and recognising when there’s problems. She is a much better friend to me and most people have seen a complete change in her attitude to life.
From reading this blog, you all know a fair bit about me. About my health, mental stuff and problems with my stepdad. Cookie was there for me throughout it all. She sat up all night with me when James was drunk and yelling through a locked door at me, trying to kick it down to get in. Back in the days of MSN she would keep me talking all night about absolutely everything and anything to try and keep my mind off what was going on, despite the fact that we would both have school the next day at 9am. Since I moved in with her, she has become my carer, cook, sister and best friend I could ask for. I’ve been bed bound for pretty much the past 18months because of my hip. During that time she’s cooked for me, taken care of the bills and things arising with the flat, helped me with the showers, gone shopping with me and generally been at my beckoning call, and not once did she complain. She makes me laugh on my shittest days, and knows exactly when to give me a hug. She motivates me in the gym and makes sure I take care of myself and eat right. She says that she’s done nothing special, but so many people would’ve run a mile when they first met someone like me. But we look out for each other. If you ever find this and read it Cookie, then please remember that you’re special. You’re my best friend and have stood by me throughout absolutely everything that’s happened. I know you say that I’ve done the same, but you had a lot more going on in your life than I did in mine. And it was a lot more to take on when I moved in looking after me. You’re awesome, and I love you to bits.
Cookie is more than a friend to me. She’s my big sister, my confidante, my non-lesbian lover and all round good egg and I couldn’t ask for a better friend. Everyone has friends, but best friends like this are few and far between, and you should make the most of them and treasure them.