Losing friends due to a mental illness just doesn't seem fair to me

Mental illness, looks like unmade beds, unwashed hair, personal hygiene that somehow gets lost in time… The energy and the will to have a shower, to brush your teeth, to eat something, has long but faded to the back of your thoughts. Time loses all meaning to you. Was that a minute that just passed by, or was it another year? The years are flying by now, with my main goal, in getting better; Feeling so incredibly far from my reach…
 
I used to catch glimmers of bright lights, dancing on the horizon. And I used to run. I would run, as fast and as hard as I could, towards this hopeful bright future. Never quite managing to catch these beautiful bright rays. But always promising myself; next time, I will… Now days, it’s pitch black, in every direction I turn and look. There is no light to be seen. As I trip and stumble my way around this nightmarish place, blinded by the darkness. The deep sinking feeling inside my heart, growing ever increasingly greedy to escape this hell in which I now exist.
 
People, used to say to me, “But you don’t look mentally ill. You don’t look like you are depressed.” Well then, I would think to myself, I’m a far better actor than I thought possible. Because for years and years, I have been able to paint a smile on my face, immerse myself in the other person; I find other people fascinating, and for a minute or so, I can belong in their world. You become a master of deception. Holding yourself together, but only just, at the seams.. You have to hold this secret, this torment which is part of your true identity; And you have to hide it from the sight of others, because it’s your shame, and your guilt, and it whispers foul, death things, into your ear.
 
You learn to say, “I’m fine” You learn how to push people you love, away… You do it, because you have to save them from the reality, of which is yourself. So to me, mental illness, can look any number of ways. It can be your laugh and your smile, as you talk to others, It can be the closed door, the self-induced isolation, the painful loneliness you have to endure. I do not live in a padded white cell, But in my mother’s white box room, at the back of the house. And here I lie, so lost, and so far from my goal… I just want to live, and be functional, again.
 
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Because no one should be made to feel worthless or ashamed, because of a mental health problem. Mental health problems affect us all, but still too many of us are losing friends, families and jobs because of them. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate, as I have such wonderful family and friends, who have stuck by me, and continue to help support me on my road to recovery and wellness. I feel extremely loved; and I know I am extremely lucky.
 
But however, I too have experienced this stigma. And I have to admit, it hurts. Losing friends and relatives because of a mental disorder - that I was born with, that I can't control, and that I will have to learn to live with for the rest of my life - it just doesn't seem fair to me. I don't understand what I've done wrong... I hate the thought that my actions or behaviour, might have caused the slightest bit of upset, offence, or hurt, to anyone I love and admire.
 
I don't want to cause any tension, or hatred, or for people to think that I am a danger to them. I want to get to the bottom of what causes this stigma. This fear of mentally ill people. And I think the best place to start, is to talk, and to listen to one another. Because no one should have to go through the pain and the misery of losing friends or family due to mental illness.
 

Comments

Another Superbly Written and Relevant Blog

Lily, thanks for sharing this! It is so relevant to what is happening to me at the moment. Once upon a time a new year briefly picked me up as I thought about it as a fresh canvas, yet year after year it was just a false dawn. However, the comment you made about losing friends is very true. I have some very close friends who never fail me when I descend into that dark place and more often than not they pull me through. Yet this current episode of depression is the first I have displayed in the work place. My anxiety, mood swings and withdrawn state have led to EVERY colleague walking away from me (people who were previously friendly and cooperative). I have been ostracised and my employer says that I am frightening them (all 20+ of them). They have successfully lobbied my employer to have me excluded from work because they can't understand what I am suffering from or how to help. I have been kicked outside like a puppy without house training by people who don't dealing with the mess! Yet, with just a bit of TLC and understanding I could be back at work. Meanwhile, I am terrified of losing my job, having my pay slashed and pushed towards eventual suicide. IT IS THAT SERIOUS! So you are right. It is unfair and you have done nothing wrong. It is a colossal injustice which is desperately in need of addressing.

My situation right now

Even as I sit here and type this in my office, I can feel the awkwardness from my work colleagues. For weeks, perhaps months, I've been feeling like something is off in my world. Like the world took on a dream like quality and nothing seems real. There's been a series of events centered around my isolating myself and being completely withdrawn from the world outside of work that has led me to believe I'm suffering from severe depression and possibly have developed a psychosis from it. All the signs are there, I have no interest in anything, the joy and pleasure I used to get from simple things has completely vanished, my head feels heavy and I concentrate on even the smallest tasks, my mind is mush and I feel like I'm fighting for my sanity. I have an appointment to see a psychiatrist in a few weeks, I hope and I pray he is able to assist. The emptiness needs to end.

BiPolar Disease

I lost my last job because of my BiPolar Disease. I have recently been hospitalized three times. I am so blessed to have loving, caring family and friends. I also have 2 fabulous psychiatrists and a wonderful therapist. Currently, I'm undergoing ECT therapy. It is playing havoc with my brain. I have been hospitalized three times. I' m

Striking a chord

Your blog really struck a chord with me - your description of depression and anxiety is very vivid, and reminds me very closely of my own situation. You write very well. Just lately, this past week, I seem to have made a break-through, and am functioning much more closely to what I imagine of myself. It is possible. You can do it. Just continue to have faith and persevere in your struggle. Peace & blessings.

Brilliant

Wonderful, insightful piece, well done, fantastic, keep on writing !!

Losing friends

I have lost a number of friends through having a misdiagnosed mental health problem which was only picked up when I got into trouble with the police. The reason for me getting into trouble was because someone who thought I was a freak for having a mental health issue lied to the police and told them I was harassing them which is untrue. Check out the Looneychickblog to read the ups and downs of a bipolar sufferer!

Reflection of my life

When I read this blog.I felt like when did I write this post.like blogger have stolen my story..........love this bog

It is my story.......

I am too suffering from the same problem.Can you please help me to solve it.Can i contact u.

Solidarity

Thanks for writing this beautifully written artical. Your words brought splice to me - the gap of isolation reduced through shared experience. Mental health can be such an isolating experience. Ironic as it is Re one thing that unites us all. My hope is for people like you and me and all others to bravely share their story and reduce stigma. If you write a book sign me up for a preorder, I love your writing : )

Thank you

Thank you for sharing this! I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and this blog really spoke to me. I am at odds with my husband, pushing him away and it is ruining our marriage. I'm trying to find a reputable counselor to help me so that I can help us. Thank you for putting into words what some cannot say.

This is me!!

Thank you for writing this. Reading this was like looking into my life. I feel so ashamed of myself sometimes after an episode. But recently I am trying to learn more about my bipolar disorder so that I can prevent an episode if possible. I am also trying to involve and communicate with my husband instead of holding it all in. Hopefully he can help with this also. Thank you so much for posting this. It was good to hear I am not alone.

Inability to maintain relationship's

I was diagnosed about ten years ago And my symptoms have progressively gotten worse I'm a rapid cycling type 1 I have ruined every relationship And am Alone I'm a surgeon by trade but have retired due to my illness I feel scared it's never going to get better I'm on medications and involved in therapy but it's not helping much Also trying to find a support group to help me get through this Tim

Reply to Tim

Tim, I have a lot of sympathy for your situation. I too lost all of my friendships because of my depression. I now am very lonely and find it hard to ask the people who I rejected to be friends with me again - so I remain alone and depressed. Maybe if you could find the courage somewhere to approach your former acquaintances again, they might be sympathetic to you. Many people can be very kind especially if they see that you are in need of human kindness. I hope that you stay strong and that you become well again

Losing friends.

I have a Bipolar Disorder and I have not lost any friends because of this. This disorder causes excruciating pain, but I have been lucky about my friends. Hope you recover fast and go back to a very happy life. I am an Indian and here also there is a lot of taboo of Mental diseases. But i have never felt ashamed of my illness, nor have i tried to hide it. The ones who have discarded you are not really your friends. Therefore good riddance!

Bipolar

Being alone is crippling I have a hard time making friends and have not found any support groups in my area. My mood had been stable lately Seeing a therapist and my meds are helping But still feeling lonely Frustrated Tim

Thank you

I'm there stumbling around in the darkness and all that. You described it extremely well. My 'friends' are fed up with my mental illness. They've said I'm being stupid, because I'm usually quite intelligent. But it's all deteriating. Basic things I can't even do anymore and I can't remember how to do them if I try which leads to serious stress. 29 and it feels like dementia. Buy it's psychosis and I can't cope with reality anymore. But I'm slowly, very slowly making progress on recovery and to be honest. I'd be better returning to society with no baggage. Which previously dragged me down into this dark pit. They helped me get here, but they're not going to help me bet out of here.

Keeping your job

Yes I can relate because I have lost several jobs due to episodes of mania - until now. I have had my current job for 14 years and have had 3 episodes (lower magnitude due to better medication and a great Therapist and Psychiatrist)The first time I got sick with this employer, just like you, 5-10 people backed a letter trying to get me removed. It was heartbreaking to read the letter because there was little compassion. But my Boss was behind me. HR asked what they should do if it happens again. The last time this happened I told them the actual diagnosis (Bipolar I) and we talked for an hour with my Boss (a new one) and HR. I am lucky that they were not only willing to give me another chance, but were trying to make some accommodations if needed. This is how it is suppose to be. It is difficult enough to have these mental illnesses and then to deal with the stigma and the loss of our ability to make a living. We need more people to back or be like Patrick Kennedy who is pushing legislation on mental illness so that we are treated equally with compassion and consideration.

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