I know I write a lot about my mental illness, Major Depression, but I am realizing so many new perspectives and life lessons came from my illness. I learned many lessons and I learned what it means to really suffer and struggle. I learned what agony and torture were like. I went through something which has irreconcilably changed me. The person I was before I can never be again. However, the person I am now is different version of the person I once was and from there I can grow and model myself into who i want to be now.
Before I came down with Depression, I was always kind of particular about my friends and to be honest I wasn’t use to relying on my friends for support. In high school, I was the girl that studied all the time and had numerous hobbies. Every once in a blue moon I would hang out with my friends outside of school, but it was rare. I was very much kind of a loner and wasn’t very interested in changing myself to make a lot of friends. The few close friends I did have I valued them intensely. I am very much an introvert and my friendships were a reflection of that. In course of recovering from my illness I began to really understand what friendship and love truly was. Most of all, I learned the hard way about what true friendship was.
A friend does not blame you for your condition, and they make sure they are there for you. A true friend is never too busy for you an they can see when you are trying to pull away because you are scared. A real friend will do everything they can to help you and will be honest with you.
There is some memes out there which have examples of the struggle and strain depression puts on your cheap friendships. Here are a few I found:
I found these at http://clinicallydepressedpug.tumblr.com/. A site like this really helps because I feel like there are people out there who really understood what I went through and had the same problems.
The thing with friends is if they really love you they will choose to stay with you through tough times. Love is a decision and you choose whether to abandon someone or stay with them or to avoid them. from my grapple with depression, i have come to not accept the excuse of them being overwhelmed because the truth is i was overwhelmed and I was the one suffering. Love is not word used for convenience. Love is steadfast and not self seeking, and leaving someone who is really struggling and is very sick is self-seeking.
During my episode of major Depression, I was very alone and only had one person who i could lean on and was very patient with me. This girl’s name was Courtney Sullivan. We were friends back in high school and one of the people I opened up to early on about developing some really bad issues. She has never left me, and she is still there for now when I get my bad days. My best friend tried to be there, but here boyfriend did not like her talking to me. It wasn’t until six or seven months later she was able to be there for me because she had broken up with her boyfriend. During this episode, I had gone off to university and was alone more than ever. However, being a theology and Jesus lover I ended up in a good crowd. In the christian activities I attended and through fellow theology majors I met some great people. Three of the people I met were great people and began noticing I wasn’t exactly well as they hung around me more. I fussed up to one and when i was officially diagnosed I fessed up to the other two. These three put up with me for about six months and they put up with me without my charade of being fine up. In the end, I sort of knew we wouldn’t last as close friends. They were great people and made me feel like i had a family at school and I could talk to them and be truthful and not have to hide. However, their love was not what it should be because they did not know me before, nor did they try to do research or seem to hear me out when I would try to explain my illness to them. I appreciate everything they did, but the major breaking point that caused distance was when i was engulfed in the symptoms of my illness and I ended up getting blamed for the symptoms by one of them. It was pinned on me like a symptoms of my mood disorder were character flaws, and it’s still something that haunts me to this day. I have dreams of this friend and how she must hate me, and I feel helpless because she seems to have no grasp at all of what my illness does to me. On a more positive note, two of friends from high school have been there for me. When they knew I was struggling they immediately demanded to help me and would not take no for an answer. Okay, I’ll stop there on my friend stories, but the ones mentioned here, and some not mentioned, are ones who I am very thankful for. There are a few more I can talk about, but you get the idea.
When I would reach out for help I learned quickly who was really my friend and I soon was able to kind of pick up on who were reliable. My illness taught me what a true friend is and how I can be good friend myself.