How do I cope with losing friends due to my mental illness?
We sufferers of mental illness are all too familiar with loss, and sadly, one of the most painful is the loss of friends. And what really sucks is the loss is because of the illness, and not because of who we are. And here’s the really sad reality: are we not as fun as we used to be because of our mental illness? Well…perhaps not.
There’s a myriad of reasons we lose friends. But when it’s because of an illness we suffer, the connotations are different, and a million questions arise. Did so-and-so stop talking to me because they are afraid of the stereotype of my disease, or because I am a truly different person? Am I not doing enough to combat my illness? Will they start speaking with me as soon as I am back to ‘normal’? None of these questions are easy to answer. I have a few suggested courses of action.
First, get together with your lost friends, or make an attempt to, so that you may explain what you are going through and why it is causing you to act in certain ways. Perhaps they’ll reveal what’s going on in their head and you can help them to understand why they mean so much to you.
Another thing you can do, which is very difficult, is to analyze your own behavior and see if you’re able to nail down why you have lost friends. Was it actually because of your disease? Are you in a position to make that judgment? If you realize you have changed, maybe you can start a conversation at that point with the one who feels wronged.
Little steps and apologies can go a long way, BUT it’s most important for you to feel that you’re in the process of getting better and healing the snapped relationships with those around you. In everyone’s life, people come and go; it’s a natural part of the human experience.