“Friendships”, when you are suffering the pain of a mental illness.

I was reading through some of the great accounts I follow on social media yesterday, and this subject popped up which i feel is very close to my heart. It’s a subject that, to this day, still touches a raw nerve. It’s something I feel very passionate about, because I experienced first hand exactly how you should never treat a friend who is suffering from a mental illness.

When I first started feeling the effects of my mental illness I isolated myself from all my friends and family. There’s no sugar coating any of this subject – I completely withdrew myself from any kind of social circle, that i had in my life.

This wasn’t because I wanted to do this, or because I was “boring” (a word i know my friends would use to describe me, because i wouldn’t come out anymore). It was because I really wasn’t very well at all.


 

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What really infuriates me, was that one of the last things my supposed “best friend” told me was :

“Don’t worry mate. I know exactly what you are going through, because my mum was agoraphobic. I totally get it.” 

That was probably 5 or 6 years ago now… I haven’t seen or heard from him since.

Another supposed “best mate” told me :

“I’ve had anxiety problems myself mate, so i know exactly what you’re going through.”

I haven’t seen him in about the same time period.


 

I don’t know how I am supposed to react to the way these “friends” have treated me.

These two in particular, were supposed to be my two best mates. I was best man at one of there weddings for goodness sake! I must have meant something to him at some point in our lives? Something must have changed? Maybe I was just boring, because I didn’t want to come out anymore and pretend like everything was all ok in my mind.

It’s still really fucking hard for me to say this but – I could have ended my life on more than one occasion. I desperately searched for help and answers – as to why I was suffering from this mental torment and pain?

I really sympathise with the people who decide that suicide is the only way to end the hell they are living in everyday. I came very close to taking the same route. I never thought I would feel this way – I certainly didn’t ask for myself to feel this way. But it did and I can acknowledge it now. I accept that it happened to me, and that I had these thoughts.

This may be a really bad way of describing it, and I apologise if it offends anyone but – I kind of fantasised about death, and how I would end this pain. What method would I chose to take, so that I didn’t have to carry on living in hell anymore? Would I jump off the nearby cliffs? I would hold a knife to my wrist and question if this was the best way out? To even have these thoughts is awful. I wouldn’t wish them upon anyone. Especially a friend!

If I had chosen to end my life, then none of these “so called friends” would have known anything about it! Because they didn’t keep in touch. It’s that simple… They did not keep in touch, so they would have been none the wiser!


 

I lost pretty much all of my friends due to my mental illness. None of them kept in touch. Over 6 years has passed by now and still not heard a peep from any of them. Surely if you hadn’t heard from your mate in even 6 weeks (6 days even), you would ping him a text message? Give him a quick call? Anything, just to check in and make sure everything is ok? Especially when they know you were suffering at the hands of a mental illness!

I constantly question myself and ask: “Is it my fault that I have no friends anymore? Is there something I could have done? Is this all my fault? Am I just boring?”

The answer to all of these questions is =     NO!         100% NO!


 

I know it’s not my fault deep down, but it doesn’t stop me doubting myself even more than I do already. Mix in with the doubt – a whole lot of anxiety and depression, and you have the recipe for a serious head fuck!
With that all being said – I don’t need friends like that, if this is how they treat you. Especially when they need you the most!

Shame, on every single one of you. You know who you are.

They probably won’t ever read this anyway. But if they do, I hope they feel guilty and ashamed of themselves.

You should have been there and supported your friend through the dark time.

Your friend was never asking you for the world.

Just a quick text message – to let them know you were there if they needed you.

It really is, as simple as that.

 


 

I know this was quite brutal and too the point, in places. As I mentioned at the start – I don’t think there is any way of sugar coating anything I have described. I really hope this doesn’t offend or upset too many people. I just felt so strongly about the whole “friendship” subject, that I wanted to share a little bit of my own life story.

Maybe my experiences, will help those who think of themselves as the friends I didn’t have…


 

This is the link I was reading yesterday :

https://themighty.com/2018/10/isolation-texts-support/?mc_cid=d2bec49e64&mc_eid=8d6d902309

8 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this. I’m currently fighting through depression and one of the reasons no one close to me knows is because I fear rejection so instead I go through this alone because I feel like I will have to either way

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know so many people who suffer with depression. I’ve lost two cousins to suicide, one of my siblings has currently had six weeks of work while trying to cope with a breakdown, i’ve even suffered with post natal depression. Still i’m no expert and find myself struggling with depressed people. It can feel there selfish, because you don’t know the battles they go through as they don’t open up… my said sibling who has a lot of compassion, says it’s not selfishness, but depression can make you very insular. You only see your own problems and situation. I can’t help feeling extremely sorry for the two friends that you’ve mentioned, who didn’t slam the door in your face but admitted their own experiences. To lay that guilt on their door, when in the last six years they would have faced major milestones in their life that you don’t know about as mentally you shut yourself off from them… births, deaths, mental struggles, job and relationship stress. No person escapes traumatic times, despite how rosy it may seem. I applaud you for speaking out. seeing more men speak about mental health is key as we all know it’s the biggest killer in young men… my cousin included. However let’s not rip people apart, who have their own equally important struggles and might question where you’ve been? Did you honestly reach out to them, try and explain your black hole for a period of time? If your answer is ‘no, they should have contacted me’, because you’ve been depressed, perhaps it’s time to change and think how could I have handled this better. I guarantee they would have had dark times in this period too. There is always two sides to every story. After all you were best friends for years you say, you know they are not bad people and by their initial acknowledgement have had their own struggles. The #letsbekind surely extend past how we treat depressed people, it’s how we treat everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carla and thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I felt it would be only right for me to respond in as much effort as you put into your message to me.
      Firstly I’d like to say that I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your two cousins and also your own battle against post natal depression.

      I think we all suffer from mental illness in different ways to each other. We can share similar symptoms but in my opinion our pain and suffering is individual to ourselves.

      In regards to your comment about me “shutting myself off from them”. That’s not quite what happened. Let me explain a bit more just so you can understand my version of what actually happened.
      Leading up to my mental breakdown (for a few years), I slowly started to withdraw myself from social gatherings as I was experiencing overwhelming fear of public places. Being around people in general made me scared. Unless I was drinking I just didn’t have any confidence and just couldn’t face much. There were a few occasions when I was genuinely scared for my own life (thats not over exaggerating either!). At the moment of panic and extreme anxiety, I felt the only option I had was to literally make my excuses and get out of there because I felt like something awful was going to happen to me and maybe others around me! This even happened at a friends wedding! It was so scary and even thinking back now it gets my anxiety levels bubbling.

      When I was in the depths of depression and throughout my mental breakdown, I could not reach out to anyone. I couldn’t leave the house. I locked myself away from the world for months and months. I’d go days without sleeping. My diet and health was in tatters. I had parents who disowned me because they felt i was just “attention seeking”. I was terrified of the thought of even stepping foot outside my front door. So i’m sorry but reaching out to anyone was impossible at the time.

      The two friends in question were supposed to be my best friends. Ok maybe I am wrong to wish shame and guilt upon them. Maybe that was a little strong, but i am just writing as it comes from my heart and trying to express exactly how I feel.
      I haven’t named and shamed them and I am certain they will never even read my blog anyway. If they do then I hope they will reach out to me, because I really don’t feel as though I can reach out to them.

      I don’t think I “ripped them apart” but I am sorry if you think I did. That really wasn’t my intention. Like you say there is always two sides to a story.

      I will finish my reply with this : A few months ago I got chatting to an old work mate who had bumped into one of the best friends in question. They stopped and spoke for a bit and my work mate asked if he’d seen me. His response was “Na he just turned a bit weird and boring”.

      Maybe I am just sensitive, but that really hurt me and I really don’t need someone in my life who is going to label me “weird and boring” when they haven’t seen me in so long.

      The reason I decided to start blogging, was to share my experiences. Nothing I say will appeal to everyone. I may offend people. If I do then I am very sorry. I just wanted men to know that its ok to feel the way you do. It isn’t a weakness. You aren’t weird or boring. You have an illness and you can get help for it.

      Thank you again for commenting and I really hope I didn’t upset or offend you in any way. Please feel free to get in touch through my social media.
      Regards
      Mr F

      Like

      • Not offended at all and thank you for responding. As someone who lives everyday wondering if I could have done something to keep someone alive, I care for you and the people you mention… at the end of the day it’s about acceptance. Accepting you feel bad, accepting that others don’t always react the way you like, that maybe you didn’t handle it the best, that people don’t always handle things the way we like. For me, it’s accepting that I couldn’t have done anything, that person chose to end their life. We’re all on a journey and I wish you the best of luck with yours x

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the hard truth is nobody knows us like ourselves. It’s easy for us to say to people fighting mental illness “Oh you should have let me in, oh you should have opened up , etc.”
        But it isn’t that simple.
        I came very close on several occasions to ending my life. The pain and the torment going on inside my head was too much. I just wanted it to stop there and then.
        I didn’t want to put my troubles onto anyone else. It wasn’t because I was selfish. It was because I didn’t want anyone to have my pain and suffering. I wouldn’t wish it upon my own worst enemies.
        Hence why it becomes easier to bottle your emotions up. At least that way nobody else has to go through what you are going through. Does that make sense?
        I count my blessing every day that I didn’t take that option. I thank god that I didn’t give up and continued to fight through it.
        I sympathise even more now with the victims of suicide – I understand why they feel they have to take that option. But it also makes me understand exactly why they choose not to tell loved ones around them about what’s going on in their minds.
        This being said, there is nothing loved ones can do without knowing. It’s like a vicious circle but nobody is to blame. Nobody is selfish. It’s just a cruel illness that can take people unexpectedly.
        As I said before i’m always here if you need to chat or maybe even to just vent off. I get it. x

        Like

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