How to Handle Losing Friends Because of Your Mental Illness
“Sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey. They don't need to, it's not for them.”
― Joubert Botha
Having a relationship end because of your mental health condition is heartbreaking. It feels like you are being punished for someone else's actions, for choices that you had no control over. It is a very difficult thing to wrap your head around. How could mental illness be that powerful? How was it able to remove every good memory, every inside joke, every late night chat and overshadow it with mood swings, mental breakdowns, and suicide attempts?
Unfortunately, this is a common theme for people who have a mental illness. A kind of right of passage for those who have any type of mental health disorder. This past year I had a friend tell me that he could no longer be my friend because he couldn't handle my depressive episodes anymore. I was completely heartbroken. For a long time, I was angry at myself for allowing my mental illness to push my friend out of my life. I even got to the point where I hated myself for having a mental illness in general. After a long chat with my therapist about these issues she made several valid points and gave me tips on how to handle situations like this in the future. I am going to share these with you now so you can have peace of mind if you ever find yourself in this situation.
1. When you're hurting and struggling to keep it together, it is best to seek medical help from a trained professional.
It is important to not rely on your friends to fix things only a doctor can. It can be exhausting for someone to watch you repeatedly go through struggles and not see you trying to help yourself by seeking medical care. Even the most supportive people have their limits. So make sure you are getting help when you need it. Remember that friends are there to help raise you up in the process, not to be your entire life line.
2. Good friends will be there for you no matter what you are going through.
Good friends are not just there for the good times but also the difficult. They are there to cheer you on when life is going well and to help lift you up and remind you of your worth when life is bad.
3. Be open and honest with your friends about your mental health condition.
Answer any and all questions they may have and be transparent. If your friend understands your illness, it will be easier for them during times when you are struggling with it. You can even explain to your friends what your triggers and symptoms are so they have a clear idea of when you might be struggling or when an attack is going to come on.
4. Find a support group of people who know exactly what you are going through.
It is extremely helpful to have someone who knows exactly what you are going through. It will not only help you to realize you are not alone in your struggle, but it is also nice to be able to vent to someone who understands completely! You can reach out to a support group for your illness in your area or even connect with a group online.
5. Love Yourself!!!!
This is the most important thing you can do. At the end of the day, you need to be your biggest supporter. Be your own best friend. Love yourself through the good times and the bad. Be extremely forgiving and show yourself respect. Always. No matter the circumstances. Constantly remind yourself that your life's worth living. BECAUSE IT IS.
This wasn't the first time I have had to deal with losing a friend or family member due to my mental illness, and I am certain it will not be the last. But now I know how I should handle these situations. I will not allow myself to be upset over losing someone because they could not handle my illness. My illness, although annoying at times, is a part of me. A part I am learning to accept.
I want people in my life that will celebrate every aspect of my being and not just tolerate me. That's how you should feel too.
As the good old saying goes " If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best."