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What I Realized About My Mental Health After My Best Friend Left Me

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I have known my best friend for over six years. We met in high school and stuck together since then. We have been through a lot in those years. We both struggled with our health; she had a chronic illness while I was dealing with multiple mental illnesses.

But I wasn’t quite fair to her — she didn’t know about my conditions.

I was dealing with depression and anxiety back then. My depression was pretty severe, I had suicidal thoughts and I was giving up on myself. She saved me. She really did, even though she had no idea. I felt like someone was finally caring about me, that I was important for someone too. She gave me hope; hope that I could bear today and maybe even tomorrow. I finally had a reason to keep going.

Without her, I wouldn’t be here anymore.

She helped me get through my depression and suicidal thoughts. I don’t really know how; everything just stopped being so heavy. I was still struggling to wake up every day, but she lifted a part of the weight off my shoulders.

She was the light in my darkness.

But it couldn’t go on like this forever. I was naive to think that. I thought she would be by my side until I die, that she would help me until the end. But she couldn’t — no one can do that. She had to leave college because of her health.

And so we drifted apart.

I was angry because she left me even though I needed her. I was sad because I missed her. I was hopeless because no one was there to save me from my thoughts and myself anymore. I was stupid because I thought she would never leave me. And most of all, I was being egoistic because I took her for granted.

When she left, I realized how dependent I was. She had to take care of me. My whole life was structured around hers. Her friends were mine because I couldn’t make new ones on my own. I only left my room to go out if she asked me to do so. Most of the time, I only interacted and talked to her.

It became a toxic relationship; I was poisoning her and myself. I clung onto her so badly that she had to carry all my problems, and I became dependent on her, so much so that I couldn’t live without her. The thought of her leaving me behind terrified me. The thought of her dying before me nearly killed me; it was so bad that I would have jumped if she did.

If she had never left, I would never have realized how bad my mental health really was, how bad my anxiety and avoidant personality disorder were affecting me.

I was feeling so down when she left. It took me two years to get used to being alone again. Two years in which I finally understood what I was doing, how I was hurting myself, that it couldn’t go on like this and that I needed help. She made me understand that I can’t depend on people like that, because I’m doing more harm than good. I’m going to be alone at some point of my life; I need to understand that I can live by myself and that I can be me without someone else.

If I can’t solve my problems on my own, I will never be able to make my own decisions and live my life.

Dear friend, thank you for sticking with me all those years. And thank you for leaving me and putting yourself first, so that I could understand that I always have to put myself and my health first too.

You had to let go of my hand, so that I could learn to walk on my own again.

I get it now.

And I won’t disappoint you, I promise.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Getty image via Wavebreakmedia

Originally published: November 29, 2017
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