When Mental Illness Convinces Me My Friends Hate Me
Hello/Hi/How are you?
You tell me we’re friends. You tell me you love me — that you enjoy my company. You tell me you like talking to me. We’ve been friends for a numbers of years, and we’ve shared countless memories. But my head says different. My head says you feel sorry for me. My head says you don’t love me, you pity me instead. It says you don’t enjoy my company, you actually despise it. My head tells me you can’t stand our conversations, and although we have all these memories, they don’t have any value. It’s not because I don’t love you — because I do. I love our friendship, I love all our times together. But my head does this because deep down I don’t find myself worthy of your friendship. That’s because my head doesn’t allow me to love myself.
Call it anxiety, call it depression. I know it’s stemming from an issue with my mental health. I know these thoughts and fears of you not loving me are deceitful. It would be ridiculous to think you’d go through everything with me just because you hate me. You have proven your worth to me. I see you, I respect you. But I can’t fight these thoughts the second you miss my call, you ignore my text, you screen me. I can’t stop feeling this way when you don’t laugh at my jokes or want to see me. You can’t be there for me all the time, and that’s reasonable. When my head gets like this though, in full on panic/paranoid mode, I can’t stop thinking it’s because you don’t love me.
Still, despite my fears and doubts, I know you love me. I know if you knew I felt this way it would make you sad, it would make you want to help me. You’ll reassure me a hundred times, but I’ll need reassurance one hundred and one times. You’ll tell me it’s OK, but I need to hear it’s great. When I get this way, I feel needy. I need you to tell me we’re fine. I may even act different around you. It will be aggravating, to try to get me to come out of my shell again and again. Sometimes these feelings may get repetitive and annoying. But your reassurance fills me with optimism. Every promise you make is attacking these negative thoughts I’m having.
Having a mental illness sucks, I’ll put that in simple terms. But one of the most challenging parts of having a mental illness is doubting my friendship with you. I recognize what we have, and I don’t want to lose you. I want to take selfies, and go exploring. I want to go on friend dates and have craft days. I can be an amazing friend — just remember sometimes I need a little extra TLC to get through my gray days, and I promise eventually I’ll come shinning right back.
With hope and love,
Your Friend With a Mental Illness
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Thinkstock photo via marzacz.