Sunday, June 5, 2016

To my friends

I sat among a group of friends on Thursday night. We laughed and cried and really had a good time. But I couldn't help but feel like I was on the outs of the group. I felt my friends closeness around me yet didn't feel that to anyone around me. And I started to wonder why. I used to feel close with these people. I used to feel like I could be open and honest about what was going on in my life. So what changed? 
And that's when someone told me. People don't deal with loss well and the risk that they could lose me is scary. So they hold me at arms length to protect themselves. 

This is my response:
Dear friends,

I know this is scary for you. I know that being close to me is a risk. I have severe mental illness. I have a disability that puts me at risk of hurting myself. I won't deny that. But this is the reality of my illness. It's not something I have control over though I wish I did. My mind torments me day in and day out. 
What I need you to understand is that I need you. I need your support and your love. I don't have family support so friends are all I have. I know it's a risk for you but the closer you are to me, the less likely I am to do something serious to hurt myself. The closer I feel to people, the more likely I am to reach out and ask for help. The reason behind this is that when I don't feel close to people around me, I feel like a burden to people. This means I don't reach out when I need help and instead try to handle it on my own. That's when the risk of me hurting myself increases. 

Friends, I need you. The more I feel like I have support, the more stable I can be. The more stable I am, the more support I can offer in return. When I have you around, I know I'm loved and cared for and it would make a difference if I decided to check out and leave the planet. I don't feel like a burden as much. I still struggle, yes. I still have bad days, some really bad days. But when I have those bad days I know I can make it. Friends, when I don't have you around, when I don't feel close to anyone, I feel like I'm fighting this battle alone. And it takes all my energy. All my strength. All my mental capacity. I can only focus on trying to keep myself from drowning. It makes me seem like a selfish person when I don't intend to be one. When I can lean on others, I can let others lean on me. 

Friends, I can see how this is scary for you. I can see how this is a risk. I can see how this would be difficult for you. I know I'm not an easy person to be around sometimes or a lot of the time. It will take time for me to stabilize out with your support. But with your help, I can grow and in turn help you out. I need you. I love you. Please give me a chance.