One best friend is better than a bunch of alright friends.

One best friend is better than a bunch of alright friends.

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the one I was with friends was happy and confident but once I was home I’d shrink into myself and become quiet and withdrawn.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.

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Money can’t buy Happiness

Money can’t buy Happiness

At some point I’m sure everyone experiences financial difficulty and it’s a stressful place to be.  That gut wrenching feeling every time you have to spend money, knowing that it’s less in your bank account.  At the minute I’m dealing with money stress and it’s really been lowering my mood and letting my depression take over.  Which is why I wanted to write a post to remind myself and anyone else reading that money doesn’t buy happiness and there are more important things in life than money.

I’ve been with my Fiancé for over two years and in that time, we’ve never been well off.  I can’t work because of my health and he found it really hard after being in the Army to find a normal job.  We’ve struggled but always found the money to get, we had a good period where I got accepted for benefits and my fiancé was working full time, we could treat ourselves to little things.  Unfortunately I was turned down a few months ago for benefits and my Fiancé lost his job so now we’re back to stressing and trying to live on as little as possible.  It’s made me think though, some of my happiest memories with my Fiancé are when we had no money and we were struggling to provide.

My Fiancé lived in a bedsit after being homeless and I used to go over and he lived in this small room which was freezing, but I never had a bad time there.  In fact, the memories I have of that time are fond ones of having to put two duvets on the bed to keep warm and going to the shops with £5 and buying the cheapest thing we could find for dinner.  My Fiancé would make me beans on toast and we’d eat it on his bed because there was no where else to sit, and it was good.  He worried that he couldn’t afford a nice meal or little presents but I just loved spending time with him, we could have eaten beans on toast everyday in that freezing room, but I’d still laugh and smile because it wasn’t about the money, it was about being with the person who made me laugh and brought me happiness.

We couldn’t date like some people, neither of us had money to go out for meals or go to the cinema so we had to make do with other activities.  He’d come to mine and teach me how to play games on his Xbox, I would go to his and watch films and it never got boring. Neither of us could drive and when there was no money for a bus or taxi, he’d walk 6 miles to see me for a couple of hours and it was the most amazing thing anyone had ever done for me.  I’ve had money spend on me in other relationships but it never made me feel as good as knowing, someone would walk 6 miles to see me.

Moving in together finally, we got as much as we could second hand.  We couldn’t afford fancy furniture or expensive technology but we made a home for ourselves with what we could find and even though, the furniture didn’t match and colours clashed, it was the best feeling to wake up to the person I loved every morning.

Stress over money has been a big source of most of our arguments and at times, it frustrates us to the point we fall out and don’t talk to each other for hours.  It’s been hard and sad at times, seeing other people living so easily and spending money like it doesn’t matter. Having little or no money is a horrible place to be but it also makes you realise what’s important, it makes you appreciate the small things, it makes you thankful for everything you do have and stops you taking things for granted.  Money would make life easier and I’m sure buying myself things would make me happy but I’d rather be poor and have love than be rich and lonely.  It doesn’t matter that I can’t afford luxuries or treats because everyday, I have someone here who will make me laugh and make me forget about my worries.  I have love and acceptance, which to me is way more important than money.

Depression: The Jealous Friend

Depression: The Jealous Friend

Depression likes to sneak into your life and isolate you, which is why I refer to it as the Jealous Friend.  It’s like that friend who craves all your attention, the one who gets upset if you spend time with someone else and who does anything they can to turn other people against you so it’s just you and them.

Before my depression became bad, I had a good group of friends.  It was a small group of five or six but we were a team.  College was made so much better because I had people who I enjoyed seeing and with this group of friends, I made memories that will always be with me.  I enjoyed going on nights out with them, planning trips away, going camping and shopping.  When we finished college we all planned to do so much together and stay in touch, they were supposed to be my friends for life.

Then my Depression hit me hard and as I began to feel worse, the less messages I sent, the less I tried to stay in touch because Depression made me want to be alone, it made me feel like I didn’t want others around me.  My friends would invite me for meet up’s and days out and Depression would say “You don’t want to go out, just stay here in bed and make an excuse”.  I became the queen of excuses, to the point that my friends started to realise that I was lying.  I didn’t know I was depressed and I didn’t want to tell anyone how I was feeling so I let my friends believe I just didn’t want to see them.  Soon enough the invites stopped coming, I’d see photos on social media of their days out, see them smiling and having fun without me and you’d think it would make my depression happy, I was finally being left alone.  Instead my Depression made me feel angry “Why aren’t they inviting you?” “They seem to be having fun without you, I bet they don’t even notice you’re not there” “They don’t miss you”.  This for me was harder to take because I would see photos and status updates about all the things they were getting up to and I’d feel left out and forgotten which just fuelled my Depression.

One friend from college stuck with me, she realised what I was going through and she made sure that she stayed a part of my life which I’ll always be grateful for.  My family stuck even closer to me and supported me.

I still miss those days though when I could just call up my friends and go out.  The thing is I felt so horrible and miserable that I didn’t want people to see me like that, I didn’t want people to see how weak I was s I pushed them away however I could.  It’s still something that I do, something I can’t stop doing.  Depression doesn’t like me to have friends who make me feel better because then for just a moment I feel better, I feel good and that’s not allowed.  Depression will do whatever it has to do to isolate you, it will make you a liar, it will make you cold and mean, anything to push people out of your life, so it has you all too yourself.

So if you’re reading this and you know someone suffering with depression, please be patient.  Don’t let them push you away, even if it seems they don’t want you around, stick with them because it’s not nice to be alone with Depression.