Friendship Reduction

My first hospitalisation seemed to cement my friendships. People knew how close they were to losing me and were genuinely concerned. I had visitors most days and I was keen to return to my old life.

My old life wasn’t good for me and as a result, many other hospitalisations occured. Friends stopped asking how I was, I recieved less visitors and I didn’t really fit in with my old social circle. When I was around and people asked where I had been I had vague replies along the lines of “under a rock” and left it at that. It didn’t help that I tended to date friends of my friends and when those relationships ended, I often disappeared from social occasions for fear of running into an ex.

I stopped caring too. The people I  used to hang out with were no longer interesting. My very close friends still saw them and spoke about them but I detached myself from those conversations.

After a particularly traumatic event I pushed all of my friends away. I didn’t answer calls or texts, I refused to see anyone and I told myself I was protecting them. They didn’t need to see me so messed up. Eventually pretty much everyone stopped trying and although I was lonely, I was glad I wouldn’t have to deal with making up excuses or flat out ignoring people.

It was my best friend who changed my opinion. Although I refused to see her I still answered the odd text message. After trying to explain my reasons for pushing her away she said, “But I needed you.” That really shook me up, I had been so selfish and hadn’t realised that by protecting her from my problems and from my life, I was also denying her a chance to vent and ask for help. We were so close before all of that.

Gradually I reintroduced her and a few others into my life and it was fine at first until I realised I had nothing in common with anyone anymore. I was stuck and everyone else was moving forward in life. I started to isolate again.

Recently one of my friends sent me an email. It was pretty much just small talk about his job,the weather and so on. I told him there was no need for him to continue with these emails as I no longer considered us friends. He didn’t understand why this was so and said he considered me to be one of his closest friends, then he asked “are you okay?”

Am I okay? Because there must be something really wrong with me if  I no longer require your friendship? I didn’t say that but came out with something slightly less scathing.

Anxiety and depression are like overprotective/controlling parents who monitor what you do and decide when, how often and who you can be in contact with. Lump them together and they’re like the worst partner ever. The type who reads your texts and deletes phone numbers; the type who takes you away from friends or makes you tell people you want nothing to do with them; the type who wants you all to themself.


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