How a Fight With My Best Friend Led Me to Take Care of My Mental Health
For as long as I have been therapy, I always thought I was doing the right things to further my mental health. My best friend, who deals with some similar issues, has always been supportive of me. She is basically my sister and if I didn’t have her around, I feel like I would be lost. She is a constant when I am down and she is the person who understands me sometimes better than I do. But I never expected to have a fight that almost ended our almost 10-year friendship.
The end of last year I went through a difficult decision in my life and one that ultimately ended with me going on another downward spiral — though this spiral downward was worse than the last. This one ended with another diagnosis — thanks generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) — and with a mess of decisions that put me on the chopping block with my best friend. I could tell from the angry tones and implications through text she was mad and I truly screwed up. I knew I was screwing up but I was so desperate to relieve my anxiety that I avoided problems like nobody’s business. Just to relieve the constant anxiety I felt. It wasn’t until I finally faced the music and felt the true shame that I really truly hurt her did I realize if I didn’t change I would lose everything that was important to me.
From that long talk about how my behavior and distance hurt her, to my true and absolute commitment to really trying to get better, we agreed until I started to get better we should keep our distance so I could truly focus on the person I had been running from: me. As per her suggestion, I talked to both my therapist and my doctor about a medication, which I believe has helped me a lot. I also started to dig deeper into my issues of low self-esteem and tried to fix old wounds I hadn’t addressed yet. Both of which hit nerves I hadn’t touched in years. I also tried to incorporate new practices such as a sleep routine, makeup and outfit routine and a ban on basically all social media, except YouTube.
I tend to get so caught up in me that I forget about other people. This can make me look ungrateful and cold, both of which I know I am not. So, I also tried to work on being outside of myself and focusing on other people. I made sure I applied this to all aspects of my life. So, I tried to be more open and conversational to both my family and my friends so I could be a better friend to all of them. I also focused a lot more on making me happy and trying to make my thoughts more positive and happy instead of negative and sad. I found once I started to do that, I was getting better.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are still days when my anxiety can get the best of me. There are also certain things I avoid or don’t talk about because it flares my anxiety and I have to calm down before it gets really bad. But most days are pretty normal without any problems besides the occasional tiredness or hunger. But when I either sleep late or rush out the door, both of those problems are sometimes inevitable.
Sometimes there is part of me that wishes I had realized this a lot sooner than I did, but I can’t change the past. I could say things like “I could have prevented this” or “If I didn’t do X, Y or Z, then none of this would have ever happened and I wouldn’t be here.” I would be lying if I didn’t say I had those thoughts, but it happened and I have to live with what I have done and hope the future will be better. It’s all I really can do.
The other thing I can do is say this.
Thank you. Thank you for stopping me. Thank you for caring enough about me and about our friendship to say, “I can’t be around you unless you change.” Thank you for still loving me even with every mistake or stupid thing I do. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for hearing me and for preventing me from utter destruction. But most of all, thank you for being you and seeing my potential to get better because you know I can. You’ll never know how much I truly appreciate everything you do for me and for everyone else. You are truly a part of me. Forever.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via builmifotografia.