One thing depression and anxiety are good at is pushing people away and isolating you so it has its chance to make you feel worthless and alone. Before depression, I had a group of about six close friends that I spent time with. We were a close group of friends and enjoyed going on days out, camping trips and just having fun together. It seems like a really long time ago now and I miss the days of being able to enjoy days out and socialising with people. Socialising now brings feelings of fear, panic and general anxiety, and it’s just easier to avoid it, so that I avoid panicking and making myself worse.
After being diagnosed with depression, I hid it from my friends. It was easy to hide because I became a very good actress and almost became two people, the one I was with friends was happy and confident but once I was home I’d shrink into myself and become quiet and withdrawn. I began to avoid socialising, cancelling on my friends and making excuse after excuse to get out of plans. This was about the time I began to self harm because I hated myself, I hated that I was avoiding my friends and isolating myself but I couldn’t stop doing it, depression was in control and I was just left trailing behind doing whatever I could to bring some sense of peace. Self harm was my way of getting rid of the frustration I felt at losing control and it was away to take out my hatred of myself. I hated the way I looked, I thought I was fat and ugly so I wanted to rip apart my skin and cause pain and make my outside look as ugly and distressed as my inside felt.
As the months passed by, my friends stopped inviting me to go out and I’d see pictures on the internet of them enjoying themselves and going to events and out for meals, and it made me feel worse. Even though I was the one who pushed them away, it still felt horrible and I was angry at them for letting me push them away, why didn’t they try harder? why couldn’t they see I was struggling?
In my close group of friends, there was always one who I was closer to and I’d say we were more like sisters, we spent everyday together and she practically lived at my house. She came on my family holidays and was the one I always went to first for advice. During the time my depression got worse, she kept asking me about things, she was the one who carried on trying to get me to socialise and get out. Unfortunately I was too far gone and I refused again and again. Then I attempted suicide, a stupid and horrible decision I made which I regretted straight after, by that time though the pills and alcohol had started to kick in and I felt myself falling unconscious, this is when I called my friend for the first time in a while, luckily she came straight away, found me and called an ambulance which probably saved my life. I don’t remember a lot about the hospital, my heart had issues and I was out of it but I do remember she stayed with me all night, she slept in a chair and refused to leave my bedside. I think it was a shock for her to see me like that, with sliced up arms and practically unconscious, I regret that she had to go through that because of me.
After I got out of hospital I went through therapy and I got in touch with my old group of friends and told them what had happened to me, they were surprised and promised to be there if I needed anything and offered to talk anytime I needed it. It’s about four years on now and that group of friends became more and more distant as my depression flummoxed between manageable and not manageable. That one friend who stayed by my hospital bed though, she stuck by me through everything. I didn’t deserve it, depression made me an awful friend because that’s what it does, it makes you selfish and care less about the people around you. I pushed and pushed her away, I was distant and horrible but she kept coming through for me, she kept arranging to come and visit me.
In fact, I saw her today, while I’m going through a really awful time with my depression and CFS, and she really made me realise how lucky I am to have her in my life. She is the only one who stuck by me and pushed back and even though I don’t see her as much as I’d like, she is there when I need her. I did have a group of good friends and it was great but having that one best friend now surpasses that by far. I think it’s way more important to have one best friend than a group of friends who when it gets tough, fade into the distance. I owe a lot to my best friend, she probably saved my life the day I attempted suicide and she has continued to be there for me and make me feel loved when I haven’t deserved it. It takes a special kind of person to stand by someone with depression and she is my guardian angel. Depression is a horrible condition, it destroys who you are and makes life so hard, but the people that support you and love you make it a little bit easier to fight.
So thank you best friend, for never abandoning me and for always being there when I’ve needed you. I haven’t been a good friend in return and for that I am sorry but I will continue to fight and be there for you, the same way you have always been for me.