I am human. And yes, I have faults too. Yet, unlike my friends, my faults are obvious and up for discussion as I suffer from mental illness.
One of my toughest issues is learning how to navigate relationships. Friends are important to me, as mental illness can sometimes make me feel isolated and alone. Unfortunately, though, it is hard to be my friend. Trust me, I’ve tried.
My friends reading this will know what I mean. They will know, as they have continually been shut out. They have to deal with rejection every day. They have to listen to my fifteen minute rants a dozen times daily telling them why we shouldn’t be friends. This behavior is in direct contradiction to my statement above that friends are important to me. I know.
One of the toughest issues I battle is extreme fear of abandonment and rejection. Every time I suspect that I might be rejected, most of the time it’s based on irrational assumptions, I will begin a frantic effort to ensure that I am not being rejected. I will ramble about my horrible personality and how nobody will ever be there for me, until my friends will reassure me that I am not horrible and they’re glad to be here for me. Some of you might think of it as manipulative behavior; but it is not. At that moment in time, I am unable to clear my brain of those thoughts. My body enters a fight or flight mode as it has encountered danger; rejection. And the only response I know is to reassure myself that there is no danger.
The problem? Nobody wants to spend their days reassuring again and again. And yet again. It gets tiring, boring and burdensome. After hearing three times a day of what a horrible person their friend is, everybody starts getting fed up. And after being pushed away for too many times, everybody begins liking it and stays.
Now, my fear of abandonment renders destructive behavior which causes rejection. The fear of rejection is then intensified and the destructive behavior continues at an even more aggressive pace. See?
Being my friend is nearly impossible. My brain works on overdrive. Every statement a friend makes is dissected and analyzed a thousand times. I will sometimes respond to statements three days later when my friends have long forgotten what they’ve said.
Why am I writing this? First, as a note of gratitude to my friends for still being around. Thank you. Your efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and I appreciate it and it means so much to me. Also, I am writing this to explain to them where this behavior stems from. I am not trying to say that this behavior is excusable. All I am saying is that I am trying my best to work on changing my behavior. I am training my brain to shut those niggling thoughts out. I’m teaching myself coping skills and better ways to deal with my fear of rejection.
Thank you for bearing with me. Even with my faults. And a piece of advice, it’s ok to tell me when I’m too much.
Nobody is perfect. Not even me.