Reminder: Check On Your Strong Friends
Posted February 9, 2021 by Prairie Wife - 3 comments
“Check on your strong friends so they can lie to you and tell you everything is okay.”
I shared a quote like this in my Instagram stories last week, and as I posted it I laughed.
Because I have 100% been there.
And then…as the responses of “this is SO me” and “gurl, same” came rolling in, I found myself feeling sad.
You see, I am genuinely a happy positive person.
But, a few years ago during one of my struggles with depression, I found myself in a seriously harmful funk.
I was tired of no one asking how I was, sick of being the only one that reached out and made plans, and I felt completely abandoned by my “friends.”
I found myself sitting on the couch lamenting the fact that in two days not a single person had noticed I hadn’t texted them or posted on social media.
And, because when I go low I like to go REALLY low, I began to scroll through my texts and count how many times I was the one that had initiated conversations, or how many of my paragraphs of news or chit-chatty texts were answered with one or two words or even worse (gasp) a simple “K.”
Trust me when I say this was not a helpful exercise.
For the sake of honesty (because we’ve already gone this far) I also counted how many times someone else initiated a get together instead of me.
The number was so low (as in nonexistent) that I ended up crying, like ugly sobbing crying, and thinking to myself.
“No one gives a shit about me. If I stopped reaching out I bet it would be weeks before anyone thought at all to message me.”
Which, of course, is what I decided to do, cause you know I was being so mature and everything.
And wouldn’t you know it…about two days into this experiment not a single person had noticed.
So there I was.
Still sitting on the couch crying and feeling lonely and miserable.
And I hated it, and I knew I was cutting off my nose to spite my face.
But, it hurt so much to realize that the mean nasty voice in my head was true after all.
If I wasn’t the one communicating and asking, I didn’t have any friends.
Thankfully, this all went down at a time when I had a professional I could reach out to.
And I was surprised when he delicately pointed out that I had trained people to treat me this way with my actions.
He pointed out that yes I WAS always the one that planned everything, and since that was what ALWAYS happened why would my friends think it needed to be any different?
After all, they were always up to hang out…it wasn’t like they were ghosting me when I asked them to do stuff.
Then (in true form) he took it one step further and asked if I had let anyone know I was feeling lonely and unloved.
Well when he put it that way, I of course had to answer no.
Guru Joe pointed out that since my normal state of mind was happy and handling all the things with #gritandgrace, that perhaps my friends couldn’t be blamed for not knowing that I needed some extra support.
That maybe they weren’t at fault for not knowing that I needed them in a different way than usual…since you know…I hadn’t said a single thing about my struggle to anyone.
Lame…and totally accurate.
After our session, I took some time to calm down and picked a friend I knew had the ability to handle my crisis mode (because let’s face it sometimes it’s not kind to unload on someone that is in the middle of dealing with their own shit) and CALLED them.
Not text, where it’s too hard for them to really get the TRUE emotion.
A real live voice call.
And they answered.
And they soothed me.
And I cried.
And they gave me some advice and support.
And then we laughed and I felt better.
Another thing I began to do, which is a very small thing, but has been life-changing for me…Is to authentically answer when people ask me “How are you doing?”
I don’t automatically respond with good (unless I really am good).
Instead, I pause and give an authentic (but still socially acceptable) answer.
“Overwhelmed but this too shall pass.”
“You know what? I have an amazing day planned, so I’m feeling great.”
“Work is crazy!”
“The kids are busy with sports and we haven’t eaten a real meal in 4 months, but how about all those memories we’re making?!”
You get the idea…and I encourage you to try it.
Also, if you have some strong friends that popped into your mind when you read this, call them.
Or, if you felt this in your soul.
If you have tears in your eyes as you read this because you right now are the lonely woman crying on the couch.
Share this post and type “help me.”
Call someone and tell them the truth about how you feel.
People love you.
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