Saturday, 17 December 2016

Depression and Friends

A while ago I talked about my therapy and my medication. I got a lot of positive reactions from those blog entries. Loads of people telling my I'm strong and courageous for (publicly) speaking up about it. Or that they were there for me if need be, if I wanted to talk or something. This was heart warming, especially because I felt so alone before. A friend of mine told me she felt bad for not talking to me more. She pointed out that, even though she wished she could have helped me more in some ways, she did not know how to talk about it because she'd never been in my position. For her it was a difficult and uncomfortable subject because she didn't know what to say.  She ended with asking what she could have done (or do) for me. I realized that I talked about what happened, how I solved it and my ongoing journey to a better version of Alyssa. But I have not pointed out what it is I needed from the people around me.

In my blog entry called Life Lessons & Therapy, I pointed out that I had a lot of things going on, one of which was the fact that my social contacts were fading and breaking due to my issues and feelings. This was a problem, because I hoped the people around me would notice I wasn't doing so good without having to actually tell them. I realise now that, even though it was what I thought I needed, it was a crazy expectation, one no one would ever have been able to figure out. Simply because everyone has their own things going on and I was doing my very best to hide what was really going on. Whenever I had one of those days in which I felt like crap, I would just avoid people. Not necessarily ignore them but just cancel appointments with little lies so nobody would see how weak and pathetic I was (my own thoughts at the time, nobody actually said this), even if I secretly just wished they would come over anyways and hug me.

I remember lonely days and nights, with loads of crying and just wondering why I was alone. Why didn't anybody notice? Doesn't anybody care? But how could they if I did my very best to never show them scars, tears, or bad days? I wasn't explaining it to anyone so how could they know? How could they help me if I didn't want them to know? Well.. they couldn't. That does not mean that there weren't things that would have helped, or things that did the exact opposite of helping. What didn't help was not being invited. That may seem like another impossible expectation because nobody gets invited for everything. Also, who wants a gloomy person on a fun night out? Nobody I guess. But I remember, especially when I just started my meds, people wouldn't invite me because I wouldn't be able to come (or wouldn't want to) anyways. But you see the thing is, I'm not a mind reader. 

If my friends have a fun night out and (together) did not think to invite me, I assumed they didn't want me there. If they wanted me there, I would have been invited, right? Especially when they would tell me all about it afterwards. Aside from all this, what I really needed was just hugs and shoulders. I did not need great advice, or life lessons, or "hey, it'll be okay". I just needed company. The best days were the days when Fabian would just show up and hug me while I cried. We'd watch Disney films of Friends or whatever I felt like. In my case that could have been the best thing ever. Or when he listened on to me crying over the phone, just being there. I never expected anyone to solve my problems or to have all the answers. I just needed people around me, I needed love. I needed phone calls and text of people who told me they wanted to hang out with me. Or responses to the texts I send to people when I was lonely. My sadness may have made people uncomfortable. Especially if you don't know what to say. But I just felt so lonely most of the time. After I moved to Utrecht, I was living on my own for the first time in my life. And it was horrible. I didn't know how to do that. I would just sit in my room, looking at my walls and wondering why it was so quiet. I was so alone and vulnerable. 

Whenever I see a picture on the internet that says 'depressed people don't need pills, they need a good walk in nature', (example on the right) or something. It really pisses me off for two reasons. First of all, everyone has a different way of dealing with problems and sadness. Now it may be true that a good walk never hurt anyone, but in some cases the big and wide environment of nature (especially when alone) made me feel so vulnerable and small. Two: it makes it seem as if the person saying that your problems aren't problems. It has absolutely no regard for whatever someone is going through. That's the thing I hate most I think. People who don't know what's going, who have never experienced therapy or whatever themselves, telling me what it is I need. Saying: 'just go out and exercise, you'll feel better', without realising that their 'just' is really difficult for someone who has a difficult time (this is an understatement) getting up in the morning, let alone getting out of the house.

It's difficult to really pin-point what it is I needed, because I don't feel like I did a year (or even a few months) ago. I couldn't keep up with my social-contacts for a while (next to therapy and uni and everything) which means that I have 'lost' a number of friends. All I have to say about that is that it's okay. I remember freaking out after primary school because I was so scared of losing my friends, but I moved onto high school and made new friends. Same thing happened when I went to the HU. And again when I went to from the HU to UU. It's just what happens. It doesn't mean people get replaced, it just means it's okay to move on. It does not take away from the amazing times you had before. It just means that people get out of touch. It's why I adore Facebook sometimes. I love seeing how people are doing. Who's travelling where or who has graduated from college. It shows me that those people I once talked to every day are okay too.

I hope this cleared some things up. I hope this may help anyone with maybe helping and connecting with friends who are struggling. Of course it doesn't mean that they need the same thing.. but I think showing someone you care, or that you're there for them, really helps. I know it helped/helps me, which is why the responses I got are so amazing and heart warming :) Thank you!

Lots of Love,
Alyssa 

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