I screwed up last night…or this morning, whatever you want to call it.
Our sleep is messed up, so if I / we wake up in the night we have to get up and take our puppy for a big walk, because we usually fall asleep before doing his last walk of the night. We walk him at 6-7pmish and are supposed to give him a smaller walk around 10-11pmish then go to bed. Realistically we fall asleep around 8 / 9pm and have to take him out in the night 😀
Last night we both woke up at 3.30am so I got to have Anon with me for the walk too 🙂
Because it’s so quiet at that time we walked through the small town centre and looped about all over the place…good practice for teaching our puppy to walk on narrow pavements, cross roads, come away from litter etc.
On our way back there were people loudly talking, down at the end of the road near the square. I couldn’t see them because they were in a sheltered bus stop, but because it was so quiet they sounded very loud.
Anon paused when she heard the voices, then continued walking with a carefully blank face. I automatically turned to her and said “I hear them too.” She looked relieved, “Do you?” I nodded.
“Well, here’s a lesson!” She said, smiling a little, “That’s exactly what my auditory hallucinations are like, the ones where I hear voices. Echoey, loud, real. Sometimes I can hear what they’re saying, and sometimes I can’t.”
This is where I fucked up.
I should have thought about this. I should have realised how eerie that sounded even to me (who knew they were real) and how terrifying it must be to hear voices like that daily, and to always try battle yourself and tell yourself they’re not real.
Instead I said a blase “Oh, bless you,” and put my attention back to our puppy.
I have no real excuse: yes we do have to concentrate a lot on our puppy’s training when we’re walking him, but I still could have said something better…something along the lines of “Oh shit, that’s horrible. Thanks for telling me, that’s really helpful”. Or “Oh shit, that’s horrible. Remind me of this when we get home, and we can talk more about it.”
But I didn’t.
Anon was sad, angry and hurt for the rest of the walk. She felt she’d reached out to me and I hadn’t understood, or appreciated what that would really be like.
She desperately wants me to learn more about her experiences, to imagine how it feels. She seems very alone at the moment. She doesn’t think anyone understands how scary her life is, and to be fair I don’t think any of our friends / family / even me do.
I promise I’ll do better next time.