Before you go judging your friends and/or family for not reacting to you the way you want them to, it might make sense to think of this little snippet from Laura Barton’s article (link below):
“Then a few years ago, another friend stopped talking to me because he said I was too negative. I’ve always thought of that as blatantly stigmatizing. But I’ve been thinking about it lately, especially knowing his own struggles. It’s got me wondering about this idea that maybe he wasn’t trying to be stigmatizing at all. Maybe he was doing it as an act of self-care and giving the negativity as a reason why he needed to pull back. “
I’ve talked before about the rather large number of friends who pretty much disappeared when I got really bad. What I haven’t talked about as much is why I don’t really place any blame on any of them as individuals.
It has a lot to do with what Laura talks about.
Looking back at my situation, I know three things:
1. I know I was unstable, anti-social, negative, and miserable. That’s going to wear on anyone.
2. I was going through a divorce, and most of my friends had to deal with being friends with both parties in a divorce, never the most comfortable of situations.
3. I have no idea what other “stuff” they were dealing with at the time.
Here’s the thing. When we are dealing with mental health issues, we need the space to deal with our stuff, so we need to be able to have boundaries, and be able to take care of ourselves. But, and this is massively important, we also need to allow everyone else around us to do the same thing.
Everyone needs the space and freedom to deal with their own stuff because we all have stuff. No one can perfectly support us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, because they would cease to be separate human beings at that point.
That’s not to say we can’t all do a better job supporting each other. Clearly, we can and should. But we need to also understand that they have stuff too.
They are, after all, just another person, like us.