I FEEL SAD FOR ALL THE TIMES MY MENTAL ILLNESSES MADE ME A BAD FRIEND

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By AVELINE

Recently, I have started being more open about my anxiety and depression. Since I started doing that, I have seen a lot of improvement in my friendships. I have noticed that there is more trust and openness. And because of that, it is possible to talk about and discuss anything.

But at the same time, that improvement has made me realize how bad it really was before. Not just because of those things I was dealing with, but also because I refused to tell anyone what I was going through. So when I was in a bad place, they had no way of knowing that. All they could think was that I was just a lousy person. And sometimes I was, but never on purpose.

I want to apologize for that. I want my friends to know I am sorry for all the times I ignored their attempts to reach out to me because I was too busy overanalyzing and overthinking. And I am sorry for deciding not to respond at all, convincing myself it was better like that anyway. It is better for them not having to worry about someone with as many issues as I have. I truly believed it would only make them hate me anyway.

I am sorry for all the times I cancelled plans made weeks earlier, just because my anxiety tricked me into giving up. For all those times I wouldn’t pick up the phone because unexpected phone calls horrify me. I am sorry for declining those offers to come visit, and covering it up with some hard to believe lie, because I didn’t want anyone to see I was still in my pajamas and in my bed, because I hadn’t left it for three days as the aftermath of my depression.

There are more things that really sadden me, like me constantly trying to push everyone away while trying to hide what’s going on. Or avoiding my friends so no one would notice how angry and easily triggered I was. I am sorry for choosing the distance over opening up about what was happening, because it was easier that way.

I feel bad about wandering off in my thoughts while my friends were talking to me, for obsessing over my crappy self instead of paying attention to them, thus actually making myself a crappy friend. And I feel bad about all the times I would zone out when being in a group with my friends. All those times I kept falling behind, not being able to keep up with them.

I felt embarrassed for being unable to do the simplest things, for being unable to share them with my friends. Embarrased that being inside my head was a very bad place to be. And I feel bad for thinking they would never understand if I tried to explain. I am sorry for being so distrusting, thinking I wouldn’t find support in them.

But that’s the thing with mental illnesses. They take over your life, taking away the person you were, and isolating you. You keep holding secrets that wind up chasing away anyone that cares about you.

It becomes your constant until it’s only you and your illness left. It strips you of your personality and makes you think you don’t deserve anything good anyway. Not even friends and people that care about you. It takes away all the things that used to bring you joy, and nothing excites you anymore.

You also never stop fearing rejection and how it would affect your already broken mind. So, you start being overly precautious and keep pushing everyone away, because you can’t get rejected if there is no one to reject you. Or you simply pretend everything is fine. You just do your best to focus on topics that you can discuss, topics that will take the attention off the fact that something is happening.

But that is how you become a really bad friend. Not letting people in is what destroys friendships. It can destroy families too, for all the same reasons, for trying to hide from your family what is happening to you. And being like that is one of my biggest regrets.

Now, I have finally started to realize that people I love, love me back. That they will not give up on me or judge me for feeling a certain way, for being afraid or sad. I have finally started to work on finding trust in people. On focusing on what they are telling me, instead of listening to the mean things my brain makes me believe.

Also, I finally see that if it was easy to push away those people from my life, they aren’t supposed to stay anyway. The ones that are meant to stay will be there to hear me out, but to open themselves up too, because they trust in me enough to know they can. And I would like to thank them for that, because that trust in me is what is keeping my mind above the water.

Even though I know there will be more apologizing for me to do, because my ignoring and canceling of plans will not just end because I have finally admitted I do it, but I have some more thank yous to say now. I want to thank all of my friends for not allowing me to chase them away. Even when I was the lousiest friend they could think of. I want to thank them for caring about me. I want to thank them for loving me unconditionally.

That unconditional love is what will save you when your brain starts working against you. That’s why I am grateful for having my friends and family by my side. They will be the reason behind my recovery. And while recovering, I know I will also learn to be better friend to all of them too. The friend they really deserve.

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