This is not an easy situation; it is not one where I would suggest you find new friends. Quite the opposite, in fact. Keep these friends, but weed out the ones that completely shut down on you. I think your friends have never seen this side of you before and they are scared, or shocked or are so insecure they can only focus on their own problems (have you told them to write in to Ask Us Fort Collins?). These friends of yours obviously trust you and you trust them. This takes years of laying down a solid foundation in your relationship. You can’t just go out and find different friends to hang out with when you truly need that closeness that comes with good friendship.
You are probably one of those people who always seems bright and cheerful. You smile through the pain and wear masks in public so no one will really know that you are having a hard time. You may even be the life of the party. You are starting to break down and no one knows how to take it. How could they? It sounds like you are the strong one, the one with all the answers, so they think: “Why can’t she come up with her own answers?” You are suffering from depression, falling into a darker place and thinking you need someone there to help pick you up off the ground.
I agree you need a support system in your life and someone to call on when things get really bad, but, have you ever considered doing some things for yourself? Not calling your flaky friends when you need a smile? I have learned that the only person that can make you happy is you, and that in the end you can’t fully rely on others. It’s sad, but true. We live in a selfish world, so why not be a little selfish for a while? You have taken the right step by seeking professional help. I can’t tell you important that is, and how proud I am that you are already on the path to wellness.
Robyn’s Short Guide to Creating Your Own Happiness
Step One: Communication
It’s time to take a deep breath and talk to your friends one last time about the problems in your life. I am under the impression that they may not fully understand what is going on with you. Maybe you can’t explain it, but try. You will find out who sticks around for you and who doesn’t. Don’t ask them for advice (you have your therapist for that); but just say, “This is what is happening, this is why I feel this way, and this is why I can’t handle any other negativity in my life.” Then, just leave it. You have shared your feelings and now you can sit back and see how they react. I know there is a part of you that doesn’t want to do this. That part of you that says “maybe I can still handle their problems along with mine so I should just suck it up.” WRONG-O. This is part of the selfish step. Don’t help them right now. HELP YOURSELF. Tell them to write in to Ask Us Fort Collins, and we will help them. After this step, communicate with them casually. There will come a time where you feel like one of them is open to helping you. Then you know who your real, trustworthy friends are in your life.
Step Two: Pamper Yourself
What are the people, places, and things that make you the most happy in this world? A day trip to the mountains to see the fall leaves change? A night out on the town in LoDo? A luncheon with the ladies? Shopping on Pearl Street? A Mani/Pedi? A hike up to Horsetooth? I want you to find something you can look forward to at the end of the week (or middle or beginning) that is an activity that YOU want to do. This will provide you with something to brighten your mood, and motivate you to get out of bed. Plan an activity every week for yourself, or with others. I would bet that the friends in your life that are having their own problems would join you to get away from their own stress. Or, maybe its time to call on that friend that you haven’t been in touch with for a while. (You know the one: that person was someone you really liked, and still do, but didn’t reach “bestie” status. You message each other on FB and talk about getting together but you never do…that one.) I don’t want you to run away from your problems, I want you to remember that there is plenty in this world left to enjoy, and life really is too short. Get out of the house, go have fun, come home and take a relaxing bath (my own personal stress reliever), and find your own way to smile.
Step Three: Repeat Step Two As Many Times As Needed.
Become a “Yes” man (or woman). Accept invitations to parties, or for lunch, or coffee etc… And repeat step two as many times as your heart desires.
In the end, your friends are just adding to the stress and problems in your life. Take time for yourself and grow stronger from all the “shit” that is happening around you. Your friends will come around eventually. They probably feel like they can’t help you either; but, hopefully, they will realize how selfish they are acting. It’s time for you to take care of you.
Check in on Friday for Skippy’s response. What did you think about Robyn’s advice? Comment below!