Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Please don't abandon your Negative Friends

There seems to be this thing about abolishing negative people from your life: that they bring you down and poison you, and you should cut them out of your life. I am here to give you a different perspective.

I went through a really bad bought of depression recently. It lasted for over a year which was much longer than I thought was necessary. I was hopeless and numb and went back and forth between wanting to disappear and desiring to become invisible. I mostly just wanted to cease to exist. I wished that I had never been born. It was really hard for me to get out of bed and do the laundry and cook and clean and go to work and take care of the daily. I struggled a lot. I hated going out in public and had a hard time facing people. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye because I was so empty inside. I felt like a zombie. It was physically exhausting going to a social event; I would suffer anxiety for days leading up to the event, it would take every ounce of my energy to suck it up and go, and afterwards I would be completely drained. Every menial daily task was a struggle. If it weren’t for DH, the boys, and Orso, it was very possible that I would have ended things, I was that depressed.

I was paralyzed. I couldn’t talk to people. I had no one to confide in. I was in a very dark, lonely place and I didn’t have anyone to whom I was close enough to let them know what was going on with me. I am very private when it comes to these things and it’s very hard for me to be honest with people when it comes to negative things. I’m fine, everything’s fine. I always tell this to people who ask because I know that eventually I will be fine. I have a hard time trusting people with hard things as I like to work out my own issues.

I can totally understand how being around a person like this would be a total drag. I wouldn’t want to be around such a bummer girl either. I know that I didn’t want to be around me, which is one of the reasons that I had such a hard time going out in public.

You guys, I was desperately in need of a friend. Someone who would drag me out someplace quiet and tell me that she was there for me whenever I was ready to come out of the hole I had fallen in; that if I needed someone to listen that they were there, or just have someone to sit beside me and not expect me to be ‘on’ for them. Someone who knew that I was struggling, but that I was figuring things out and I just needed time, someone who would just stand by me and not expect anything from me. I needed someone to say these words to me: “I can see that you’re struggling, but I know that you are the type of person who likes to figure things out for themselves. I know that you’re very private, so I just wanted to let you know that if you need to talk, or not talk, or if you need a hug, that I’m here for you.” I needed someone to pat my hand and say “there, there” and not offer any advice whatsoever. Someone who saw through my fa├žade, called me on it and loved me anyway.

I didn’t have that. I had people ask me how I was doing. I had people tell me to snap out of it because I was being a real drag. I had people tell me to suck it up. I had people tell me I needed therapy (I’m sure they were right). I had people tell me what to do when I wasn’t asking for their advice. I had people who didn’t believe that I could ever be depressed, that it just wasn’t in my nature because I am such a positive person. I had people tell me afterwards that they were glad I finally pulled myself out of my funk because they were about to cut me out of their lives and no longer associate with me because I was dragging them down. Sheesh, thanks, now I know who my real friends are and who I can trust. (No one)

The fact that people were abandoning me and not supporting me made things exponentially worse. The fact that I didn’t have anyone I trusted to go to made it even harder to come out of the darkness.

If you have someone like this in your life, please don’t abandon them. You will need to give them space to process what is going on with them, but you need to let them know that you are there when they need you. They may push you away, but know that they need to know that you are there. You need to exercise an enormous amount of patience, but if you love this person, this is the ultimate way to show love for them.

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