Why did you leave? Why did you leave me? What did I do?
Oftentimes, I feel like I have lost everyone. It seems like everyone around me is just gone. My friends, my family, even strangers seem to turn their heads the other direction.
I know this isn’t always true though. I have had people stick by me. I have had great friends. I have found lots of support when I have told my closest friends about having bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder.
I did lose friends too though. They would say they supported me. They understood. They would be there for me, hang out with me, but they were distant. Soon enough, they were gone. I know living with someone with mental illness isn’t easy. I wasn’t living with these people though. I know being friends with someone with mental illness isn’t easy either. The problem was – I was the same person I was before I had told them — nothing had changed about me, my behavior hadn’t drastically changed over night, I didn’t suddenly start calling them all the time to vent about my problems, I simply let them know that I had mental health problems.
I guess I did expect support – but I wasn’t outright asking for it at that point. I wasn’t calling. I wasn’t crying to them. I wasn’t divulging my problems on them. So why did they leave me?
I will never know for sure why people leave. Of course, there is the stigma. There is just the fact that people might feel pressured or be scared. I don’t carry a grudge against any of them. I just feel sad. I feel sad that I lost friendships that I truly enjoyed. People that I liked to be around, people that I thought I would still be talking to today and in 20 years — we no longer talk. It sucks. Plain and simple – it sucks.
It isn’t always easy to be friends with someone who has mental illness, but it is possible. In fact, we are really good friends, we add a lot to friendships. We are extremely empathetic because we know what pain is like. We tend to be good listeners because we know how important it is to be listened to. For the same reason, we are there for others when they need help, even when we feel like the world is crashing on us because of our own problems. And yes, I know we can be difficult at times, but there are some things you can do to help us too and there is a tip on there that will make your life easier (hint – boundaries!), which I wrote about here.
There are people that won’t leave though. There are people that are here for me and will be there for you too. There are people that care and listen and pay attention. There are people that I have known since I was 5, that I didn’t talk to thought out high school and much of college – but then we got back in touch – and now, we talk again. They accept me! They are ok with me having problems.
Those are the people I want. I want someone who is ok with me being me. I want someone who will be there for me. Someone who will support me. I understand that perhaps the people who left me felt uncomfortable or pressured or didn’t know what to do or say. I don’t think it is necessarily excuse – I think talking to me and educating themselves or something would be better, but I understand. I miss those that left, but I am thankful for those that have stuck with me.