I have many friends who have mental health and many friends who do not. Some of those friendships are stronger than others, but I often wonder what it is like not to have mental health?
To wake up and have this horrible feeling that you cannot bring yourself to leave bed, brush your teeth or even shower. Not leaving the house for days or even weeks on end. Spending those days asleep or in bed.
I wonder what it would be like to never have those feelings of self doubt that ruin lots of things in your life. To be able to build a career and stick at a job long enough to reach milestones.
To not constantly overthink and ruin situations before they arise.
There are millions of people in this world who lead a “normal” life. To me I mean normal in a sense that is a different way to how I live.
How do people manage to hold down friendships and relationships long enough? How do they trust someone? How do they not feel burdened to others?
I mean I have had relationships that have worked through the dark days and friendships who have remained friends. However I can count on one hand the true REAL friends I would class as actual friends. The others were friends that then turned into people I share memories with.
I cherish the people who remain friends and who know me better than I know myself. Who know when I am ill before I do. Who drop everything should I need someone. Who encourage and support me no matter how little an achievement might be to others they know how big it is to me. Unfortunately I have lost a lot of friends along the way, but that is part of growing up. Peoples lives change and we grown in different directions.
I am such a social butterfly that it may come as a shock to hear I have a handful of people I call friends. I am the type of person who talks to anyone and makes friends wherever I go, but there is a HUGE difference in making “friends” on a night out in a toilet, to people who know you inside out.
As for relationships, I am always envious of those couples who have been together for years and still madly in love. Those couples who have bought their first home together or started a family together. This is not to say I haven’t had relationships long term, I have. They were different in different ways though.
My first one was just a first boyfriend and I didn’t really suffer mental health throughout that relationship. Insecurity’s yes but who wouldn’t if they got cheated on from them.
After that my mental health has affected every relationship since. Some have helped me through, others made it feel worse.
Although this all sounds like I can’t hold a friendship or relationship down, I can. I love nothing more than to have deep connections with people. I am a loyal and caring friend to have and will always have your back even when you don’t have mine.
Over the years I have looked back on the people who were part of my life and would have classed as family and have felt sad at times for the lost friendships, because at some points I made so many incredible memories.
I always felt I was to be blamed for not remaining friends when in REALITY it hasn’t always been the case. People stop trying even when you keep trying. People become un loyal to you. They make new friends and no longer prioritise you. So eventually any negativity needs to be removed from your life and you learn to grow from those experiences.
You begin to realise your worth over having a label in a relationship. You may think more erratically but it is always more clearer.
So I have some tips to how to build and maintain healthy relationships.
- Open up lines of communication.
- Have the talk.
- Try to be direct about your situation and needs.
Focus on positives
- Avoid negative relationships and behaviour.
- Surround yourself with a core group you can rely on.
- Be aware that others may not know or understand your illness.
- Know that you are NOT A BURDEN to others.
- Having goals to work toward will build trust and keep you motivated to move forwards.
- Create opportunities to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.
- Be committed to your self care.
- Use the resources available to you.
Know your worth. Know when to walk away from anything that no longer serves you happiness.