An unexpected side-effect of having depression would definitely have to be friendships ending. I’m not sure if people don’t know how to deal with mental illness or they just decide now, while you’re down and out, is the best time to part ways. I attended a group activity for over ten years, spending some time in voluntary leadership roles and I was a much loved member of our gathering, or so I thought. At first my friends would spend time with me and doing activities for me however they very quickly went away. I didn’t hear from them or see them when my depression became worse, I was acutely aware of this and I cried, tears of grief and loss, not tears of depression.
I was very unsure in the beginning of how to engage with people and I remember a very dear friend bursting into tears of relief when she saw me. She knew I had been hospitalised, but did not know the extent of my treatment requirements. She was just grateful to see me, to eyeball me, to just put her eyes on me and make sure that I was okay. I had other friends who would take me out to lunch locally or read stories to my young daughter just because they could. I consider my family to be my friends as well, and they were most certainly there for me. My mother travelled between states so that she could meet her work commitments and care for me at the same time. My sister visited as often as she could and would take my daughter to a play café so that I could get some rest. So you can see, while some reached out to me, there were others who backed away.
It was deeply hurtful to be in the worst place of your life and to lose friends. It’s a pain that I hope will dull over time. Fortunately my good friends speak to me very wisely about letting go and being able to move on from the pain. My dear friends are so damn cool and I appreciate them so very much. I will move on in time, but I think its going to take some working through in the counsellors office. The depth of my anger and hurt is of a magnitude I just can’t deal with myself. Not yet anyway. At the end of the day I always think good triumphs over all, so I have to believe that one day I will be able to make my peace with it. For now I am just going to live, I’m going to try give what energy I have into being a great person, a great mother, a great friend to those who have stayed in my life. That includes being a great friend in ‘real’ life and in my online community that I have created. I may have been ditched out of the so called ‘in’ crowd, but I ain’t looking back.