So continuing with this story..
The morning of arrived. I booked my own room at the hotel and then went about my morning preparing for my friends to arrive. I started packing the SUV and got all my essentials together for a road trip: first aid kit, lots of bottled water, health snacks, my tea and tea cup..
At 11 my friends started showing up. First came my friend who was not experiencing any kind of crisis. She was 15 minutes early. We sat in my living room and caught up while waiting for the other two. Next came my friend that had been in crisis the night of the concert. She seemed good. Bright eyed, bushy tailed, excited for the trip. That was a sigh of relief. It’s not like expected her to show up and be a mess but I had not seen her in a while and that was a scary last interaction we had so I was just glad to put eyes on her and know she is okay.
While we waited for our last friend we all talked excitedly about graduation and our internships. I was starting to feel hopeful about the trip, maybe I was worrying for nothing.
Our third friend showed up and the energy shifted. The moment she showed up we wanted to get on the road. It was a long drive and we wanted to get there in enough time to get dinner and catch sunset by the pool.
She came into my house and sat down and held everyone hostage for 15-20 minutes talking about her mental health status. I was pacing around asking everyone if needed to use the bathroom, sending all the nonverbal cues that Okay, let’s go..
Finally I interrupted her and asked her if she was going to need to use the restroom because we needed to go. While she went to the bathroom the other two piled into the car.
The next four hours consisted of this friend giving everyone her entire families mental health history. I understand this is a big thing that is happening in her life right now and she needs to process it, it was the way she went about it that was brutal. It was a verbal explosion that just kept coming. She threw so much at us that my brain started to go numb. She was not breaking to take a breath. It was nonstop for four hours. Plus, it was TMI. We are all surface level friends. We know each other from school. The stuff she was sharing was way too personal and it was uncomfortable.
By the time we arrived I was so glad to be in my room. The room had already paid for itself in terms of saving my sanity.
I got into my room opened the curtains to look out on a beautiful view of the city and then flopped on the bed and called my husband.
After a little while we all left for dinner, had a nice meal, and returned to the hotel for sunset at the pool. It was a nice evening. We had an early night and I spent the rest of the evening skyping with my husband, reading my book, taking a nice long hot shower, and watching the goings on of the city at night from my window.
The next day had more ups and downs starting in the evening. The trip was planned as a relaxing end to our 3 year journey through the social work programs. It was also a trip related to school though. We were in the Capitol for advocacy day. One of the days we were in the Capitol we would be going to the Capitol building to sit in on committee meetings and meet with our elected officials to advocate for bills and policies relevant to the populations we serve. We went up early to make a vacation out of it but there still was some responsibilities we had to attend to as well on this trip.
The night before our big day at the Capitol we were at a store picking up a few snacks and a game to play at the hotel that night. We knew bad weather was heading our way and that we would be stuck at the hotel so we got what we needed to have a nice night in. For two of the girls this included booze. Myself and my friend who had never been in any kind of crisis before were not drinking and tried to gently remind our friends about how early we had to be up the next day for our day at the Capitol and that we had a long car ride home after. They were resolute in their decision saying things like “I can hold my alcohol” etc. I am sure you can, do you need a whole bottle to yourself though? I ended up telling them that they are adults and I am not their mother, they are responsible for themselves.
That was me setting my first boundary in regards to this particular situation. More boundaries had to be set from there.