Communication is a tricky thing. It especially hurts when I disclose information to friends and they “give me space” so I can heal on my own or they give unsolicited advice— advice I already get from my parents who are way more concerned about my future than about my well-being.
I know you have good intentions, but when I share what I’m going through, please don’t tell me the problems you have with my decision. I can see your perspective, how it may seem from an outsider looking in. I must seem like a naïve, lost child who needs to be pushed into the reality of the world.
But that’s not why I chose to bare my latest, innermost torment to you. I chose to do so because I trust you. I trust that you care for me enough that you will support me. I don’t need a “yes-man”, nor do I need another parental-like lecture– I need a hug. I need some sympathy and compassion. I need to hear the words, “Whatever you have decided, I will love and support you to the end. I believe in you, and you will be alright once this phase passes because you are capable and you will always have people by your side.”
I do not need to re-live the consequences of my decision. It was a very painful one to make in the first place; for the first time in my life, I was finally putting my health before school, before my career, before my future. I do not need to be questioned after making such a difficult decision. I should not have to feel like I need to justify my actions.. above all — I should not have to justify why I chose my health over my uni graduation to my dear friends. Although I appreciate your concern and your honesty, I did not ask for your opinion.
I cannot plan ahead, not right now. I’m barely making it through the week without an anxiety attack. Being challenged about my life choices is a huge trigger for my anxiety attacks since I’ve had to do that my whole life to my family. I don’t want or need another person in my life that slams the way I live my life when I’ve already made my peace with the fact that I cannot go on living the way I was living. I cannot continue living under everyone else’s expectations for me. It was too much pressure (and it still is) that I keep relapsing into these depressed and anxious episodes. I want to stop feeling numbingly sad. But I can’t do that if I’m surrounded by people who cannot differ between the moments when I need a friend and times when I need a parent.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is:
“Please… for the sake of similarly vulnerable friends who disclose information to you about their mental health, do not belittle their feelings, thoughts, or choices. They are doing their best to cope. They are re-learning how to live life and they have enough on their plates — please do not force feed your opinions or (what you may think is helpful) advice down their throats. However, unless they ask for it, it’s not what they want to hear in that terribly, emotionally naked moment. You did not live through it, so you will never truly understand the state of exhaustion they are in. People like me, cannot simply “snap out of it” or “get better soon”. People like me undergoing a depressive episode, are fighting off their suicidal ideations. Ask questions if you’re curious about what they are going through and if they are already opening up to you about their invisible illnesses, it’s likely they will answer you because they — like all other human beings– just want to be understood.
It’s the daily hustle, and it would be nice to receive a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold when the walls come down, that’s all.