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21 Things People With Mood Disorders Wish Their Friends Understood

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Good friends are with you through the ups and downs of life — which can be complicated and a little more frequent when you live with a mood disorder. That’s why we teamed up with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, as part of its “I’m Here” campaign, and asked people who lived with mood disorders to tell us one thing they wish their friends understood.

Here’s what they had to say:  

1. “It takes a lot of energy to live life. And I don’t mean to go and do amazing, spectacular things. It takes so much energy just to get up out of bed every day. When I say I’m tired and it looks like I’ve done nothing, my mind has ran several marathons. So, I’m not making excuses not to see you. I’m truly exhausted.” — Holli Orgeron

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2. “Every time I get angry it is not always my bipolar. Sometimes I disagree and am justified in saying what I mean.” — Pamela Jackson

3. “My love for you is still there and strong, but sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough. Having someone in your life who loves you and loving them in return isn’t enough to ‘fix’ the problem.” — Becky Bonecutter

4. “It’s a part of me, always. When I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m successful or unsuccessful, it is and will always be a part of me. I think it’s easy to remember a friend is suffering when they’re sad, angry, irritable, etc… it’s not easy to remember that someone with a mood disorder is always dealing with it. But as difficult as it can be at times, it’s not all bad. I credit a lot of my successes, not just my failures, to my manic depression. It is a part of me, but it does not define me. I am not ashamed.” — Kayleah Marie

5. “I fight hard to be ‘myself,’ and at times I just can’t. Always remember who I really am. It’s a lot to ask, but it’s necessary to the relationship.” — Billie Sue Braun

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6. “When I say I’m tired or I don’t feel well, I mean it. And, when you leave me out of things because you think I’ll say I don’t want to go, it hurts. Don’t assume every day is going to be a no.” — Michelle Roy

7. “I miss ‘old me,’ too. ” — Katie Morgan

8. “It takes a lot of hard work mentally and emotionally just to step out of the front door with a smile on your face.” — Jo Dando

9. “When something’s wrong, it’s always about the anxiety or depression… I could just be having a rough day at work or feeling self-conscious. You don’t need to treat me with kid-gloves just because I may struggle more than others. I’m still a person who’s just trying her best to get through life!” — Eva Bizio

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10. “I wish they knew my disorder doesn’t define me as a person. My disorder may be a part of me, but I am not my disorder. They don’t understand how much I feel like a robot around them because I’m just going through the motions a lot of the time. I wish they could see the pain beneath my smile.” — Kayla Richardson

11. “It is so mentally exhausting dealing with everything that goes on inside my head. It’s like a war zone in there, and it becomes physically exhausting. And as bad as they want me to think rational, or be happy, or be ‘normal,’ I want it so much more!” — Heather May

12. “I want people to know when I snap at them out of irritability, I lose sleep over it. I don’t want to be out of control of my emotions. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or be unpleasant to be around. Despite all my apologies once my mood has ‘settled’, I still feel guilty you have to put up with me being so grumpy all the time.” — Cameron Tonkin

13. “Keep checking on me and inviting me. One day I will go, but some days just brushing my teeth is an accomplishment.” — Amie Hodges

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14. “The symptoms are not an excuse. They’re an explanation.” — Andrea Miklasz

15. “It’s best for my friends and family to just be themselves, to act normally, express themselves as they generally would, and not be distracted or feel personally challenged by my silences or melancholy. By being themselves, my loved ones reassure me that the well I may fall into every now and then is not the entirety of my world; that there is still something grand and beautiful beyond my sometimes-eternal-hell: like that of good-hearted laughter, a well-intentioned joke or the stabilizing, confident and diverse, genuine personalities of my good friends and family. They are my anchors. I wish they would understand how much it means to me for them to remain as such.” — Brianne Coleman

16. “Best friend, if you don’t hear from me every day, please don’t think I’m mad at you or ignoring you. I love you but can’t leave the house or take care of myself, let alone be a friend. I will try to keep in touch and as soon as I’m able, our friendship will return to normal.” — Judy Adams Goodman

17. “I need my friends support to hold me together.” — Russell Wilson

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18. “Sometimes when I say I’m OK, I’m really not and I just want a hug.” — Kayleigh John

19. “Just because I can do something today and smile, doesn’t mean I’m lazy tomorrow if I have to stay in bed.” — M Christine Wildman

20. “Please believe what I say. Sometimes it’s easier for me to say nothing, so when I do please take notice.” — Majella Cahill

21. “Don’t judge. Show some empathy. Listen.” — Thomas Murphy

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*Some responses have been edited and shortened for brevity

To learn more about DBSA’s “I’m Here” campaign, click here.

I’m here… is a program brought to you by DBSA made possible through the support of Rebecca’s Dream® Foundation.

Originally published: April 23, 2016
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