With a friend of mine, it’s difficult to have conversations about how I’m dealing with my mental illness. It’s not that he doesn’t care about me and want me to do well, it’s just that we’ve never really been the kind of friends that talk about feelings. And we don’t see each other as much as we’d like, so conversations are usually via text and things often get misconstrued.
I had a conversation with him the other night, and it was rather emotionally raw. I shed several tears – which is something I hate doing in front of other people. Words were said in anger, but he knew I didn’t truly mean what I had said. Comments, which cut deep, were made about where he was at my age. We grew up differently, and we’re very different people. It took some time – some in silence, some in conversation – for us to get to a point where we were able to calmly say what we meant and have the other understand. It was emotionally draining for me, and difficult for both of us. The end result of the conversation was realizing that there are things we both need to do more.
I have a tough time opening up and telling him when I’m having a bad day. So in turn, he doesn’t know how to interpret what I’m saying. That leads to misinterpretations and arguments. Someone usually winds up feeling hurt or offended. It’s just never a pretty ending.
I’ve asked him to make sure that I’ve taken my meds at night if it’s been a particularly bad day. I want him to kind of keep an eye on me and let me know if he’s noticing any changes that might point to a an episode creeping up. If I’m with him and he asks me if I’m ok, I say I’m fine (because I can’t stand the idea that people are worrying about me), and he can see right through it – I just want him to hold my hand, look me in the eye and tell me it’s gonna be ok, that he’s there for me.
It’s painfully difficult to reach out for help, to admit that this is too much for me to handle and battle on my own. I want to be an independent person, but my mental illness makes it incredibly challenging.
Asking for help makes me feel like I’m weak. But the reality is that asking for help actually proves that I’m stronger than I think – by admitting that it’s too much on my own and someone else’s assistance, however minimal it may be, will make it easier.