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Why Putting My Mental Health First Meant Cutting Out Some Friendships

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In this two-year journey of dealing with depression and anxiety, I have had to learn to distance myself from some relationships in my life just because it wasn’t benefiting me or my health. I struggled so much with this because personally when I let someone in my life, they’re in for good. I value loyalty and once I’m close to someone, I tend to overlook a lot of things because I treasure who they are and their friendship. So when it came to my struggles with my mental health, I was shocked when I couldn’t count on some of my closest friends. I quickly realized this was not only a new territory for me but for them too, and some just couldn’t accept to the reality of my mental health and/or couldn’t understand it. And though it sucked to adjust some friendships, I learned that for my own benefit, I had to because their words and advice were causing more harm than help. Some people may see this as selfish and make you feel guilty for putting yourself first, but I’ve learned to see it as self-care and to know when to say enough is enough.

Because when your mental illness is winning, you don’t need someone else to make you feel guilty for taking a rest day. Because when you haven’t felt anything but numbness for so long, you don’t need extra voices telling you it’s wrong to schedule fun activities in your week. Because when you’re dealing with depression and anxiety, your mind is already letting you down, and you don’t need anyone else in your life to make you feel stress for feeling low. It doesn’t help you at all. So if you’re like me and struggle with ending relationships that aren’t unhelpful in this journey, I want to remind you of this:

1. Your health is important and sometimes it’s necessary to end things that aren’t helping you. You matter and it’s OK to put yourself first.

2. Choose the people you let in on your journey and struggles carefully. No matter how many times you try and give them the benefit of the doubt, some people just won’t get it and some just don’t care to get it. It sucks, but it’s the reality. So know your limits of chances you can give to a friend, and know when it’s time to stop.

3. Try and not let their words get to you. They are not you and don’t know what you’re dealing with. So be easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can and you yourself knows best on what you need.

4. Though they might not be the right person to do this season of your life with you, you can still be friends and acknowledge them when you see them. They’re just not your go-to safe person. Your safe people are meant to help you, encourage you and built you up. They are not meant to pull your down.

You deserve to get better, to take care of yourself, to get your mind to a better place, and you don’t need people adding unnecessary negativity to that. Put yourself first and fight for your own mental well-being.

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Unsplash photo via Maranatha Pizarras

Originally published: December 13, 2017
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