Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

losing friends

Another blogger in our mental health community is having a really hard time right now. I pray her depression lessens soon. She is an asset to our community, and when she's feeling well, there isn't another blogger who reads more blogs or leaves more supportive comments than she does. She's a friend to many.

I'm not sure she realizes how much she's loved by all of her cyber-friends. I realize cyber-friends cannot take the place of real, physically-present friends, but sometimes real people let us down. My blogging friend wrote a recent post about her disappointment with "no-return friends." No-return friends--the people with whom we were previously close, but who, for no apparent reason, no longer return our phone calls. Unfortunately, those of us with mental illness are all too familiar with this unique term.

Those of us with mental illness likely have too many examples of friends who have fallen out of our lives. I know I do. This phenomena seems to be unique to mental illness. It is one of the many reasons I have found depression so isolating. No hallmark cards, no pancake breakfasts, no hotdish, and friends who disappear. Ouch. It hurts. It's painful. It sucks.

Unfortunately, it's reality. When I speak to the public about my illness, I acknowledge this loss as one of the most difficult in an illness full of painful losses. There are probably multiple reasons for this reality, but one suggested reason stirred controversy over on my friend's blog. Perhaps, it was suggested, we aren't much fun to be around. That is, when my symptoms are raging, perhaps I'm not the brightest, happiest, most positive person to hang out with! I can't argue with that. It's another cruel reality of my illness.

Because the suggestion reflected one of my realities, I didn't find the comment controversial. Rather, having an explanation for the otherwise inexplicable loss of close friends relieves a bit of my pain. It's like acknowledging depression as an illness versus a character defect. The illness lets me off the hook. When my depression takes over, I may appear lazy, anti-social, irritable, and sad, but that's not me. It's the illness. I am an active, relatively social, pleasant person.

However, depression urges me to isolate. If I do get out, my illness makes socializing nearly impossible, especially if I can't separate myself from my symptoms. And when I am drowning in symptoms, I can't separate. Depression becomes me. I become depression. And I imagine, I'm not a whole lot of laughs to hang out with.

The following is an excerpt from the comment I left on my friend's blog post.

...most people cannot handle anything other than “shiny happy people.” It is a reflection on THEIR character, NOT YOURS. It sucks.

What worked for me when I lost friends...I shifted my focus to talking with people who could handle it–the professionals in my life. When that wasn’t enough, I connected with more professionals, the local NAMI organization, and did more writing.

I’m not suggesting you do any of the above–rather, just letting you know how I dealt with the pain of “friends” falling out of my life. Those “friends” originally caused me much pain with their ignorance and absence. Over time, the pain lessened–though it still stings if I allow myself to dwell on it too much.

This illness SUCKS. It steals everything we know and are comfortable with. It steals our soul. For me, once I accepted that fact and tried to focus on what I could do, and what I could control–vs. what I couldn’t do or control (i.e. other people)–my life got a little easier. Again, just letting you know what has worked for me–when I am able to do it!

There are a select few people with whom I confide what is “really” going on in my life. If I am around others outside that select few, I try to look at it as a time of distraction–a time to just be in that moment and a distraction from my internal strife. But I can only do that when I am in a slightly better space than the deep hole you seem to be in right now. When I’m feeling like super-duper, mega crap–I can’t handle much of anyone or anything. Everything I interpret, I interpret in the worst possible light. It’s a shitty place to be, and I hate it.

I am praying for you. ... Please, please take care of yourself. Be kind to you and to those around you, and hang on tight! ...

I hope this is helpful to others out their struggling with the cruel realities of depression and mental illness. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences, too.

To stay alive, I try to remember I have an illness. I have an illness which often sucks the life out of me, changes my character, and distorts my personality; but I don't have to let it define me. Keep fighting, folks. Don't let your illness define you.

Click here to read the post which inspired this post.


la said...

I can see where the comment comes from but I can also see why it would be an ouch. It may have been well-intentioned but it wasn't what M needed to hear. And it assumes that people who blog about depression etc. insist on talking endlessly about it to everyone IRL. I'm sure M knows that her friends aren't her therapists.

Personally, I only tend to talk at length about these things with my GOOD friends, and these are the friends I know will never fail to return a call or e-mail. We also talk about other things. As is my understanding, the friends M was referring to are not the kind you call up when you're upset about something but the kind you might meet for a coffee now and again and catch up on the gossip. And often that's as good for you as a long emotional discussion.

There are some friends who I know will find me weird and boring when I'm feeling low so I only tend to see them on my good days. I hope, though, that I have friends who understand and still enjoy eating pizza and watching TV with me even though I don't have much to say and my mind seems to be on the moon.

I do worry about boring and frustrating some friends and, well, being a downer. I hope I'm not. The response I always get though is that they're happy to talk to me about my problems because they know I'm happy to listen to theirs. We're friends so there is no need to apologise for treating each other like friends.

I guess it's all about finding a balance. Knowing which friends you can and can't get deep with.

etta said...

Well said, la. You are very fortunate to have those friends in your life. Hang onto them tight! I'm envious.

I certainly did not mean to imply that M. didn't have a right to feel the way she felt about the comment. I interpreted it differently, and I think in the way it may have been intended based on the follow-up discussion, and it got me thinking about the friends I have also lost due to this illness. I totally understand and relate to M. being hurt by the comment. I've been there, done that.
Friends are but one of the many losses I attribute to this illness. However, I've also met many wonderful people because of my illness. Like you said, it's a balance. We learn, sometimes the hard way, who we can talk with and who we can't.
Unfortunately for me, I learned I couldn't safely talk with some of my closest friends. They are no longer my closest friends, and that was a very painful transition to accept.
I'm glad to hear your story. It gives me hope that losing friends isn't universal. Thanks for sharing it.

justrenae said...

Thank you so much for this posting. I really felt so alone in my feelings. I have been physically and mentally hurt by so many people through out my life, but was still able to be positive. Some people before the illness hit would tell me that I was the most positive, happiest person they had ever met. It was because I did not hold onto the anger over what I had gone through in my life.

It all changed when my daughter was 17 (she is 21 now) and ran away for three months. I was so deeply hurt and lost all positiveness and stayed depressed non stop. I started having panic attacks at work. I took a couple of medical leaves and would try to come back to work and it would be the same thing. Not only did I lose almost every friend I had, I also encountered meanness from these same people that claimed to be my friends. I was just devistated. I was a systems analyst making close to triple digits and had to resign. I had been at this company for 20 years!

I took my retirement money and moved over an hour away from anyone I knew just to be able to go to the grocery store without having a panic attack.

I have been on medication for years now. My husband did not believe in such things as mental illness. His attitude was "rub some dirt on it and get over it". He would force me into social situations in which I would at time have a panic attack or fall to pieces. In the first week of June 2007, he said he was going "in town" to spend the night with a friend. He told me in the middle of the night he wanted a divorce, even though I paid off his truck with my retirement and several bills so we could live on one income, he said he would never give me another dime. I was in the middle of a SS Disability appeal that can take up to 3 years to get settled (I have still not received all of the back money they owe me). My family had to support me for a year before I received my first monthly check.

I have permanent custody of my precious granddaughter (now 2). Withought her needing me so desperately and her infectious smiles, I don't think I would have survived.

I am still suffering with it, I don't like to leave my home or have anyone new try to get close to me. I try to avoid all conversation that is not with my online friends I have met through digital scrapbooking. I don't think I could take anyone else hurting me.

This disease has completely erased the person I used to be. It feels good to know I am not the only one (even though I don't like for others to be in pain) who has had this happen to them.

Thank you so much for writing this! Before reading it I just felt unworthy to have friends since everyone left me except for my family.

Love and hugs to you!!


Asdquefty said...

I have to say that I know the "no-return friends" thing all too well, and can definitely relate. I think it comes from people not being able to deal with negativity all of the time, which I have definitely been guilty of when I have some of my particularly depressed moods.

In addition, it takes effort and energy for me to appear social while making sure I behave acceptably, and when I don't make the effort people find that the real me is pretty solitary and doesn't like to do anything too social. If I make the effort all the time it leaves me too drained to do anything useful.

I have too many people I've met, got along with well initially, then never heard from again. It's gotten to the point where I'm really hesitant to call anyone my friend, because I don't believe that we're still going to be talking in a few months, and I'm quick to assume that someone isn't my friend anymore.

etta said...

@ justrenae--we have similar stories. I'm glad the post was helpful for you. thanks for your comment, and peace to you.

@ asdquefty--I totally understand that anxiety around making friends. I also understand the effort required to be social sometimes. our illnesses require that we keep a balance, don't they. thanks for your comment.

J said...

i totally identify with this post as i have lost many friends in the process of understanding my illness of severe depression. i have started blogging to help myself continue on, to help myself want to live even on days i feel like dying. what a wonderful role the internet plays in allowing us to encourage one another with our stories even if we never meet face to face...i am glad to know that others are fighting every single day to simply live even though they have depression looming in their lives...

thank you.

Jackal said...

This post brought my tears... tears of pain for the friends I've lost, through all the self-doubt and wondering what is so wrong with me... to realizing that this happens to other people.
I am not alone in this friendless life of mine... you and others have suffered this too.
Maybe I can begin to take the loss of my friends less personally and just accept that life is cruel.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

I had a great group of friends when I was in my 20s. There were about 10 of us that were like family. We had so many great times. When I turned 30, I had my first episode of depression, and suffered off and on through most of my 30s. I was diagnosed at 34 and struggled to understand and manage my symptoms for several years. With treatment I felt much better by the time I turned 40.

Although I feel much better now (at 45), my biggest regret is the damage that my illness caused to those friendships. I think I was subconsciously pushing them away because I didn't want them to see how messed up my life was. I was angry and defiant and argumentative.

The group is still very close, but I'm definitely on the fringe. They're all still cordial to me but the closeness is gone. I'm struggling to maintain the few connections I still have. It really hurts to have lost such close friends and it's hard not to take it personally. I think some may have suspected that I was depressed but I never told them and we never talked about it.

I saw the old gang yesterday at our annual Holiday Brunch and have been anguished ever since. This thread helped me to realize that losing friends and damaging relationships is often an unfortunate consequence of depression. It makes it a little easier to remind myself that it was the illness that was the culprit and that I'm not a terrible person who doesn't deserve their friendship.

Thank you.

etta said...

@ anonymous--I am so glad this post helped relieve some of your anquish. As the holidays roll around, I tend to think of and miss my formerly-close friends more than usual. I've actually been avoiding going to church so I don't have to run into them. I guess I am not strong enough to handle the loss right now.
This illness steals so much from us. Please hang in there, perhaps work on finding new friends, and know you are not alone.

C'est Moi said...

Hi everyone!
I found this blog via google and I just wanted to write in and say I can definitely relate to your experiences of no-return friends.

I just recently had my third episode of depression and lost my most important friend. Losing her caused me probably as much pain as the illness did but I am slowly recovering from both.

I think my friend couldn't cope because she is in fact a very sensitive person, and it would have been very hard to watch someone she cared about suffer, and not be able to do anything about it.

I'm not angry at her, but I do of course miss her terribly. I imagine she is feeling an enormous amount of guilt at not having been there to support me, and maybe some worry that she somehow caused it. I hope one day in the future we'll be able to be friends again, but I realise it might not be any time soon.

I think unfortunately you are right, a lot of people simply cannot cope with others' pain and suffering, and so in that sense depression is like cancer- it takes its toll on all your relationships, and you have to realise that it takes a special kind of person to support someone in that situation. Sometimes your closest friends cannot cope, but a random acquantaince will come out of the woodwork and be a real help.
I guess as the illness becomes more publicised it will eventually become something that people can cope more easily with, but in the meantime, yes, it stinks, but losing someone you love is an all too common consequence of the illness.

cher said...

Hi, came across ur blog while searching for answers on how to gain back my best friends.

I'm going thru major depression due to work stress. Diagnosed since Dec last yr, my best friends were always there for me, helping me in the initial stages.

But one of my best friends has been a little distant of late. Yesterday, he told me that things have changed & he feels he has to keep filtering what he says when with me coz I can't handle my own emotions, let alone his.

I'm afraid coz he has been the one consistent thing in my life till now. But now he doesn't seem to want to hang out with me much or take initiative to know what's going on in my life like in the past & he seems quiet when we meet, no more his crazy-fun self. We used to meet once a week to catch up, now we meet once a month if I'm lucky.

Meanwhile, he seems closer to another group of friends. This Halloween was the 1st time in yrs that we didn't spend it together, he spent it with that group of friends instead. He told me to spend it like how I used to yrs ago. I ended up staying in bed crying.

It's tough. I don't want to lose him coz I need his support & I've seen how he could help me when he wanted to but I don't know where this is headed. We're meeting this sunday. I told him I want him to listen to me. I want to get all these off my chest but I'm not sure how he'll react.

Anonymous said...

The pain of losing "friends" is all the more painful around holidays. I have no family and I really thought my friends would pull through for me, but sadly this has not been the case. The awful part is the more pain and sadness one experiences, the worse the depression becomes. Today as Easter draws closer I realize just how very alone I am. I have been a very kind and caring person to many people during my life, but it seems often my relationships are very one sided. There are many takers in this world but not many givers. I often wonder if this is part of the reason I suffer from this awful illness.

Anonymous said...

When I am well, I am warm, engaging, witty and just a lot of fun to be with. When I am feeling like crap, I can be judgmental, petty, bitter, anger and say the cruelest things. I was friends with a woman for over 10 years. She is married with 3 kids. I am single. During a recent episode of depression, I was feeling extremely suicidal and did something I had never done before: told this friend the truth about how badly I was doing. Confessed that I felt suicidal and was having crazy thoughts. At first my friend was supportive; I got a little better, but was still sensitive. This friend made some offhand comment about how difficult and selfless it was to raise children and implied that those who aren't parents are selfish. There was an underlying implication also, that i was self absorbed and selfish. I responded by saying that parentlng was a choice and just because the job turns out to be harder then anticipated doesn't mean that those who chose not to be parents automatically are selfish. I implied that parenting was a kind of narcism: that most people go into it thinking of the benefits to themselves ( leaving legacy, more love, etc) so they shouldn't complain about something they voluntarily chose to do and be bitter toward those who don't have the same obligations. Well, that was the beginning of the end of the relationship. I never did hear from this friend again, though she had specifically told me that she cared about me, etc.. etc..
I'm sure I'm no angel. But had I been suffering from cancer or some other illness and in a moment of intense pain, said something not so delicate, it would more likely be forgiven. Mental Illness is rarely forgiven. In some ways those with mental illness become social liabilities: we can't be trusted to pleasant all the time, so better to cut us loose than to deal with our pain. So this friend of mine believes she is so selfless because she is a mother is clearly also selfish because she will only invest time in people whom she thinks will bring some reward. An maybe that's what hard about this illness: many people eventually conclude that the rewards for being are not worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

I was first diagnosed with depression in my early 20s, but had it since childhood. A year ago, the problem was compounded by severe anxiety brought about by a bad work situation. I decided to change my life for the better. I started applying for jobs interstate, got one quicker than expected and had 2 weeks to pack up (or throw away) 20 years of my life, relocate and start over in a new town. It all went well for the first few months,but then the novelty and excitement began to wear off and the realities of learning a new job, missing my friends, being in a town where I know no-one, unresolved feelings about the career & life I'd left behind &, I guess, the physical/mental effort of it all started to catch up with me. My depression & anxiety returned with a vengeance. I sank lower and lower over a period of about 3-4 months, finally ending up in hospital.
During this time, an old friend I'd reconnected with on FaceBook about 12 months ago, was constantly supportive and positive. He invited me to explain what the depression was like for me and so I opened up - I would never have done so had he not invited me to. In my extremely insecure, negative state I can't have been easy or pleasant to deal with. "Not fun" wouldn't even begin to cover it. In spite of this, my friend stayed steadfast-even I began to believe what he said: that he would in fact never judge me and would always be my friend. Then about 3 weeks ago, he just stopped being my FB friend & stopped replying to my messages.

I was horrified. I thought that I must have done something terrible and unforgiveable without being aware of it. I wrote begging him to explain- believing it must be truly awful for me to deserve so much pain. Eventually, he wrote back a single paragraph explaining that when he had a gambling problem, he lost all his money & was facing eviction. Desperate, he asked his father for a loan & his father turned him down. That was it: no further explanation, just a cryptic little parable that I suppose was meant to illustrate a lesson in "tough love".

At this point, I'm still deeply saddened by the loss of my friend & feel all the associated pain, shame & regret. Right up until the day before he cut me dead, he was asking about my medication etc, so I had NO indication that it was all too much for him. (Depression, unfortunately, doesn't make you clairvoyant.)
I also feel foolish & disappointed - I BELIEVED him when he said he wouldn't judge me, but now I feel that he's judged me heavily & unfairly - as if he's completely ignored the fact that depression is an illness, not a lifestyle choice; that he thinks I woke up one morning & decided to give depression a try because I thought the experience might be interesting or all my friends were doing it...& then I just couldn't stop. But it's not like drugs or gambling - I never had the luxury of choice, any more than someone has a choice to be born deaf or to be stricken with leukaemia.
And to be honest, I'm angry. Angry that he'd try to kid me, or himself, that withdrawing his support without explanation is somehow for my benefit. If he wanted me to back off, why not just say so? I UNDERSTAND that - I've had to have that conversation with people myself at times. I'm depressed, not stupid.
The irony is that over the past week or so, I've begun to feel the depression lifting. I have a professional support network - a psychiatrist and psychotherapist - so I'm not without help. It was just nice to have a friend as well. My therapist & others say "Oh well, he wasn't much of a friend then!", but that simply isn't true. He could be secretive, flippant, frustrating, sarcastic - but he could also be incredibly kind, funny & understanding. He wasn't perfect, but that suited me fine, because I'm far from perfect myself. He was no better or worse than anyone else. He was just My Friend and I'm sorry I lost him.

Anonymous said...

I had so many wonderful friends who are gone for good and I don't blame them. Depressed people suck the oxygen out of the air, it is more that anyone but a doctor can handle.

This Thanksgiving I spent alone in my apartment, Christmas will be the same.

But being all alone makes me realize that I do have a choice on whether I want to continue living or not. I can decide if there is a point to living or not.

Most of all I know that if I decide I don't want to go on living it won't impact anyone's life negatively.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having this forum and allowing others to share: I have always felt terrible that I lost friends because of my depression; but now I know I am not alone.

Sympathy Flowers said...

Wow what an amazing story. You are full of courage and determination! You are an inspiration to people who suffer from a mental illness. Thank you for sharing your journey!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to have found this blog. I can relate to so many of these comments. I recently lost a very close friend due to this illness. He supported me through seven months of my illness and went through some difficult periods with me. Suddenly when i started to feel better he stopped returning my emails. Very strange. I thought this was what he was waiting for. I'm sad because I feel like I'll never get to show him the "real me". Maybe I just wore him out. I don't know and maybe I'll never know.

M said...

I understand how hard it must be to lose friends due to your depression, but you haven't said anything about the friends of the people who have depression. My best friend (we have been very close for over ten years) has depression, and I will call her every second night to check how she is (something she has told me she likes, because she feel isolated since moving away), I love my friend but nine out of ten times she is not feeling 'up' to taking the call, but if I do not call she feels like I don't care, when I try to visit she doesn't come to see me, she avoids me and her other friends, when we talk it is all about her (even though I myself have suffered from a mental illness), she never calls us or messages us first- our friendship is entirely onesided but we love her and she has told me that her depression makes her feel bad and like she doesn't deserve her friends. I (and her other friends) have been doing this for 5 years, we have been endlessly understanding, but we are going to university now, and she dropped out of school quite young, she feels like she is left behind. What can we do? We still try to keep contact but we have to get on with our lifes as well, does that make us 'no return friends' or not 'real' friends. We have tried hard to keep in contact for the last five years, but its hard when she makes no effort. We don't know what to do, we can't relate to her anymore, she says she misses us but avoids us and to be honest we all love her but there is only so much one person can do in a friendship.

etta said...

Thank you for your comment, M. It is nice to hear the other side of things, too.
Having said that, I have to say, it sounds like the "no-return-friend" in your relationship is YOUR FRIEND, not you. It sounds like your friend has let her illness define her, and if that is the case, there is nothing you can do. Her behavior also sounds a bit manipulative--i.e. not answering the phone but then complaining if you don't call. That may sound rough, and this may sound rougher, but sometimes it is okay to move on.
I think it is all about the effort. My friends, when I feel bad, appreciate that I make an effort to be out and socialize, despite my difficulties. I think that helps them hang in there when I'm at my lowest. It doesn't sound like your friend is making any effort to connect, nor taking any responsibility for maintaining the relationship. Unfortunately, a friendship cannot be maintained in those circumstances. Even though we are ill, we still have to take responsibility for ourselves. Perhaps it is time for you to focus on maintaining relationships with people from whom you not only give, but from whom you receive as well.

Anonymous said...

I also have an experience from the other side of things. And I foolishly did it twice with a brother and sister - at different times. They both have depression, but the sister was medicated, and she said she went to therapy. She seemed to function better, so I thought it might be ok. The weird thing is that they were both really nice for several months. But eventually they both lash out when their depression flares up, and they would both say such mean and unpleasant things. I'm not an overly sensitive person, but it just started to wear on me after a while. I would try and listen, and then it was like I was too quiet. I would give advice, and then they would get angry at me for saying the wrong thing. They both didn't seem to understand they were doing it. They had miserable childhoods. Their father is severely depressed. The mother has never understood. She moved out of state as soon as they both were 18. I'm pretty sure it's not just genes, but a lack of nurturing as children, and watching the parents fight. I try to be supportive, but many times I did not feel like picking up the phone to call. Things cooled with the brother a long time ago. Now there's anger from the sister because I'm not putting forth enough effort in the friendship. She was in a relationship for a while, and didn't notice, but now she's single and she needs friends. I've already apologized on FB - yes, it's a copout, but I know if I have to apologize again I'll receive an onslaught of anger. If there is any way to make things up with her without having to face that, I would do it. She has lost many friends. I wish I could help her. Any advice is appreciated.

cher said...

I posted above abt my best friend being distant to me then. That was 2 years ago.

Since that time, we became much closer and we had understanding. We both believed our friendship was stronger than any other. I never took him for granted and I always told him how appreciative I was of him. Whenever I had opportunity, I always tried to make up for it in different ways.

Times had been tough but the good times made up for all the bad. He was a constant light in my darkness and he supported me in my fight against depression. He always assured me that he would never leave me and would stay to help me fight this.

Recently, we took a 2-week break to Australia and met up with other friends too. He was moody a lot and he picked on me and my bad habits often. The trip seemed different from other trips. I assumed it was because of his recent breakup so I tried to be tolerant and patient. I suppressed my depression at all costs, choosing to break down in the toilet away from him. I only broke down twice in front of him. I tried to give him what he wanted (eg. he wanted shopping on the last day and I squeezed it in, despite the little time we had before our flight) so that he would be happy.

He surprised me with a gift on the way back from the airport. I thought that though the trip was rocky in parts, we managed to survive it and had some good times together. I felt it was his way of saying he enjoyed the trip.

2 days later, we met up with other friends for clubbing. We got drunk and he broke down, at one point, over his breakup. I held him as he wept in my arms. But later, we left the club and a small situation ended up in a screaming match. My anxiety kicked in and I got hysterical. Eventually we went home. I asked for his assurance abt our friendship on the way back and he just told me to rest.

The next morning, I woke up and discovered that he deleted me from all social networks accts. I called him repeatedly and sent him msgs. Finally he replied saying that he had enough and wanted to end our friendship. He said he didn't wanna be part of my journey to fight depression anymore. He told friends that he didn't wanna be tied down by me anymore.

I was devastated. I can't imagine how he could make up his mind overnight. I can't imagine that a drunken fight can lead to this.

Yet I blame myself every minute of every day that I caused him to leave my life. He decided to leave me because I have an illness. If I had cancer, he probably wouldn't have left. But I have depression. It's not worth the trouble staying, isn't it?

I want him back in my life and have decided to wait a few days to try talking to him again. A friend told me that it seems he has already made up his mind and I should just accept it. Other friends told me not to give up because they know what we have is special and irreplaceable. I don't want to give this friendship up. If there is one thing good I've done throughout my depression, it is that I have given my all to him and to our friendship.

What should I do now? I feel so lost. I feel like I'm grieving over the death of a best friend and I feel like just giving up because if I couldn't hold on to him, I can't hold on to anything or succeed in any other thing at all.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. Finding this marathon blog has really helped me, so maybe if you continue reading other people's stories, it will help you.

I lost my best friend last week and it was my fault for reacting the way I did to a comment she made. I told her our friendship was over, but I realize now, that I really didnt want that. I can't help but cry, especially when listening to Christmas music, which I have turned off.

I don't know if I will get our friendship back because this isnt the first time she has put up with this. I have a wonderful family to be with over the holidays, but my bestfriend was part of our family and now I won't see her.

Until I read this blog, I didn't realize depression had so much to do with losing friends. I guess they can only take so much.

tinktastic said...

I have just read exactly how I feel. I have been struggling with this illness since I was 13 and am now 37. I don't have any good friends only acquaintances that would run the other way if I spilled my guts to them. So thank god for my husband, whom I am suprised is still around. I have always felt 'different' from everyone else and it sucks to feel that way. And I just discovered that I do push people away because I assume they won't ever want to understand me anyway. I also panic when I have to meet new people and try too hard to make sure I am saying the right things and my body language is perfect because this might be my new best friend...who am i kidding. Today was a bad day and this blog saved me. Oh man, I could go on forever about this but you hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

love love yr site. I'll keep popping in - would love to talk to others about their issues.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found this website. I am going through a very hard time right now. I am 63 and my friends just don't understand my depression. THEY feel I "allow" myself to be depressed, or I wish it upon myself, don't eat enough organic food, or worse, than I am imagining it. Depression is horrible. I just lost the ability to talk to my younger sister, who also suffers from depression. She had to turn her back on me to help her son. I understand, but I deeply miss someone to talk to. Losing my sister's closeness, even though it's just for a year, felt like a knife through my heart. Now, after reading comments here, I know I'm not crazy (thank God!) and not alone. I will try to make it through fall & winter alone but may have to go back to counseling just to have someone to talk to. Thanks to all of you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I think the loss of friendships is the hardest part for me. I'm still in the process of recovering from that dark little hole that I was trapped in for 3 years.

And I think starting off high school didn't help either. Some friends going to other schools, some in different classes, ect. But all generally not wanting to be around because I didn't feel good.

Even my childhood friend who I've known since kindergarden, best friends practically connected at the hip. He stayed around the longest, for the first year of the depression. Soon enough he just left too (ironically, right when he gave up, I was willing to swallow my pride and ask for help.)

When alone you have to focus on improvement, and realize you won't be who you were before this. Just strive to be a happy and healthy person. And when doing so, some people will pick up on that confidence.

Giasiris Carrasquillo said...

Your blog help me feel better. I've been depressed for three years and now that I lost my partner. My friends are going away. It's like they want to be cyber friends but they once were friends who I could talk too. Their life change and mine too. But I try to be the best I could be so they could still be with me. I loved them as family and now they don't even want to call me once a month or hang out. All they do is texting! I feel like I lost my best friend and love (we we're together for 7 years) and then they gone too. I'm angry cause I always tough I was a good friend that help others and now I am so alone. Anyways great blog. Hope I can get out of this hole like you. Take Care.

Anonymous said...

The thing is...when I'm depressed I don't like myself and I don't expect other to like me either. They leave because I'm a drag, become very self obsessed and I chase them away. I don't blame them for it - they want to help but they can't fix it and I'm sure it gets old very fast. I know it does for me.

Cerani W said...

Wow... This is exactly what I needed to read today. I found your blog via google and wanted to say thank you. I'm right in the middle of the "no return friend" crisis. I ran out of my meds a few months ago and missed two days. It threw me all the way back to the beginning and it's taken months to fully recover and get back to a really good place. Now the few friends I had won't return my calls. They refuse to just come out and tell me I suck as a friend or they are done and instead let me hang on and hope and pray that we are still friends. Honestly, that sucks worse than someone flat out telling me they don't want to be my friend anymore. People really suck sometimes. I know I suck too but it's not me... It's my illness. I try so hard to be there for my friends when I am well but sometimes, I'm not well and I get flaky and reclusive. I try really hard but I just can't force myself to leave my house when I am feeling so low. Why can't people understand that? Why can't they just give me the benefit of the doubt? Why can't they ask me if I'm okay when I start doing these things? When I get like that, I am most certainly not okay. I feel like I'm drowning and I can barely catch a breath. My kids suffer, my husband suffers and yes, my friends suffer too but none of them suffer as much as I. I hate HATE that people refuse to talk about depression, that it is so taboo and nobody knows anything about it unless they actually suffer from it. I wish people would educate themselves so they are better able to cope when their depressed friends start to struggle.