An honest blog sharing the ups and downs of my personal mental health journey

Friday, 19 October 2018

Why Falling Out Of Friendship Doesn't Have To Be Sad

I've been pondering this one for a while.

Everybody knows that you reach a certain point in your life when you grow up, maybe move away and inevitably stop speaking to people as much as you used to when you were younger and at school. 

This is just the way life goes.

I've always been quite a sensitive soul and take real pride in friendships that I have, so when this started happening in the last year or so it initially made me really quite sad, and definitely had an impact on my mental health. 

I started wondering if the reason these people had stopped making an effort with me was because I'd done something wrong, and maybe I did? This thought was pretty much on a loop for a while and started to make me feel really down. In reality, I should have just said something to these people and been honest about how I felt...but I didn't. I held out the hope that maybe if I didn't say anything it wouldn't be made into a big deal and when I eventually see them/speak to them again it'll be like nothing happened, despite the obvious lack of contact. 

After all, we once had a pretty solid friendship, so surely that's worth something?

Well, the reason I wanted to write about this subject is because when you're suffering from a mental illness you really, truly realise who your friends are. Sad, but true.

But does it have to be sad? 

Finding out who your real friends are is surely the best thing that could possibly come out of a horrible situation?

Since my depression started again in the summer, I've really had a wake up call in regards to who I consider my close friends. And I can definitely count them on one hand (okay, maybe one and a half hands?)

I tried to be as open and honest as possible with my friends about what I was experiencing, but naturally it was something that I didn't particularly want to speak about to start with. It's easier just to pretend it's not happening. 

What I've learnt is that a real friend is someone who knows you're struggling even when you're trying to hide it.

I'm so lucky and grateful that I've had, and continue to have, a really great support group of friends and family around me when times get really bad - which they definitely did. 

But I can't help think of the people I considered close friends that never even bothered to check in. 
Even when I spoke more openly, and even 'publicly', about how much I was struggling, I still didn't hear from certain people. Not even a text to say, "I hope you're okay". There is absolutely no excusing this. Of course people are busy, of course people have their own lives to contend with and of course people don't always know exactly what's going on or what to say, but how hard is it to send a text these days?

On World Mental Health Day I shared a post that touched on my Bipolar diagnosis, which happened to be the first time I'd openly spoken about it - you can view it here - which included the following: 

"If people aren’t supporting you, they are not the people you should be surrounding yourself with". 

I stand by this completely. Surround yourself with amazing people, people you love and people that love you. People that care about you and take time to ask you how you're doing or if you need a chat, however busy they are - because that is ultimately what a friend is there for. 

I do not claim to be a picture perfect friend, I have done wrong and will probably continue to do wrong sometimes myself, like every human being does, but going through this journey myself has made me realise how important it is to be there for someone and let them know that you care. I'm learning from it hugely. 

I don't want to end this post on a negative note, because that's not my aim. I don't h0ld any negativity towards anyone, regardless of what this post may come across like!

What I will say, is despite how sad it made me not hearing from certain people, I heard from lots of people from my past with messages of support and care after sharing something which ultimately was really quite difficult to share. Those messages will stick with me and completely overshadow the messages that I didn't receive - there is absolutely no point stressing over something that's not even been said. 

Some food for thought if you're going through something similar:

Have a rant about how you're feeling (exhibit A, this very blog post) and then move the hell on.

Don't hold grudges or negative feelings towards people - it won't help anything, and it definitely won't help yourself. The likelihood is people aren't even aware they've done something wrong!

Focus on the positives and the people you have around you - that's what truly matters.



Blogger Template Created by pipdig