The thing with depression is that it affects the people in your life more than it should. And more than you would think it does.
Everyone thinks that depression, emotions, everything related to how we feel is personal and an issue that only relates to ourselves, unless we choose to speak out it. And it’s so easy to keep believing that’s the case. But it isn’t. At least not with the people who are close to us.
I have…well, probably about 1.5 friends who know me well enough to know what I’m dealing with. One I’d say knows as well as anyone could who isn’t living inside my head. The other knows about half the story but I think she’s of the doubtful kind who often still believe that you can choose to be depressed or not. I may not be fair to her here now, I don’t know. I just often get the vibe that she thinks I’m being too negative and a drama queen and anyway, my life isn’t nearly miserable enough to justify any kind of mental disorders.
But even when someone knows what’s up, that only means they know the background, can maybe relate to a certain extent and well give you the benefit of doubt when you’re doing something that’s pretty shitty to do in a friendship. It doesn’t mean they don’t get affected by you doing it in the first place. They may be less harsh with you than they would be with others in the same situation, but they’re probably still hurt and upset.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone but when I’m having a bad time, I tend to forget about that. I’m also blind to the fact that I’m being unfair.
One of my main issues has always been and probably will always be the fear of being abandoned. I’ve never had therapy and never talked to a professional about it all (which I should do, really, really, really soon) but just by thinking this over and over again, I’ve come to the conclusion that, as with so many issues in my life, my asshole father is the root of that evil. He was the first person to abandon me, but in a painfully slow way that involved twisting and turning the dagger inside the wound so much the damage became irreversible. Before the whole thing ended, he managed to make me feel inadequat so often I had started to believe it. Always comparing me to my step siblings, always telling me the things I liked were silly and wrong. I am not saying being homo- / bi- / trans- / whateversexual is wrong at all but most people who are would probably tell you that it was a huge issue coming out to their families, that it was hard for them to feel accepted, and so on. Well, when my ex-step sister, now-step brother came out, he was immediately accepted, everyone embraced his decision and was so proud of him (rightfully so!) while still telling me that it was weird and wrong that I was obsessed with a band, never liked to go clubbing and was an introvert. That’s about as much acceptance as I got with him and his new family. I was so happy for him when he came out, he was actually the only member of that family I liked. But it still crushed me because it was the ultimate proof that my father wasn’t just uptight and judgemental and didn’t like things that were different and didn’t seem to fit into his world. He simply didn’t like me. I didn’t fit into his world. I’d never been really self-confident but it does something to you when a parent won’t accept you. It fucked with my mind so much that I started to feel like I was wrong about everything. And I still do.
In the past couple years, I started working on that a little. I started trying to figure out what I want and like without it being tainted by what I think others expect from me. Which is hard because now it adds the feeling of disappointing others by insisting on things just because I want them. But before that, I bent to the point of breaking just to please everyone, just to find that pleasing everyone is impossible and anyway, people don’t even like you if you don’t have a backbone at all.
But what stuck with me is that fear. I’m not usually a jealous person. I wouldn’t say I’m a team player or particularly good at interacting within a group of people, but I’m okay. I won’t sit there and hate everyone simultaneously. But on bad days, I can’t handle the thought of my friends leaving me for someone else. These other friends grow on me. After a while, I don’t care anymore, or not so much, although there will still be situations when it’s tough for me. But when a new person comes along, I’m gripped by panic and stuck in a place where I won’t know what to do. Like it only takes that one, perfect, super cool person for my friends to realise that I’ve been a place holder all along, that they’d only been waiting for the perfect friend to come into their life. And the thing is it’s impossible to deal with this issue without the friend in question noticing. They may not know what’s going on but they will now that something is going on. I know that my friends can tell when I’m acting different, getting comfortable inside my shell again, not letting them in. And they can also tell that it’s upsetting me to the point where depression hits and I become lethargic again. But it’s such a vicious cycle because I want to tell them and I don’t want to tell them at the same time. I want people to know they’re hurting me as much as the next person does. But at the same time I know they’re not actually doing anything, at least not on purpose. And then I feel so silly that I cannot even tell anyone about this issue without feeling like I’m just sharing the biggest, lamest, most ridiculous First World Problem with them. Like I’m so full of myself that I even think I have a right to be upset about this. Like it should even matter to anyone how I feel when they’re leaving me for someone else (even if they were). And then I just shut up and say nothing and things spiral out of control. Every single time.
I don’t know how to fix this. There are other things that used to be way worse and that I got better at just by being more in touch with myself, so I can see things coming and prevent them. With some things, I’ve found that it actually works when I sit down and tell myself over and over again that it’s ok, things will be fine. With other things, a change of scenery, some retail therapy or another distraction helps. It’s become quite rare that I get seriously depressed for a whole day or longer and have no power over myself at all. I remember times when I couldn’t get myself to do anything for days. So in that aspect, I’ve gotten a lot better. But there are still things, like this fear of being abandoned, that just won’t leave me.
And I’m so, so sorry for my friends who have to put up with this broken side of me so much.