Dealing with mental illness is no easy feat. Not for the person who it afflicts nor for the people who love and care for said person. It is stressful, isolating, confusing, intense. The depths of one's depression can become impenetrable. Their Anxiety; uncomfortable and labyrinthine. But it is not yours to deal with. As someone who struggles with Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attacks, the only thing I can ask of the people who care for me is simply this: Be there. Be there to the point where you feel like you're being annoying, because no matter how many times I tell you I'm fine, or try to smile through it and tell you that I'm gonna be okay, I also don't want to be alone.
Not that I don't want to be alone, but because I CAN'T be alone. I can't be alone because that's when the chatter starts whispering. And the longer I'm alone, the louder those whispers become, until I'm enveloped by a looming shadow roaring an onslaught of all my insecurities at me. And trust me, It knows them well.
Be there. Stay there.
Stop by with a small pizza. If I'm in the midst of it's clutches, my appetite is probably nonexistent, so really, the pizza is for you because I don't want you to be uncomfortable around me and I want you to eat. So even though you're coming to take care of me, I'm still trying to take care of you. And if I DO attempt to eat, don't be surprised by how little I eat before I say I'm full. Don't comment about how skinny I've gotten. If I've lost a considerable amount of weight lately, it's either because I'm currently in Its clutches, or am emerging from it.
But to the friends who've stayed. Who've sent me private messages asking if I'm okay, or insisting that we hang out. I probably won't answer you or I most likely really don't feel like being out, but I go because I'm trying. I know that if I don't forge these connections, they'll sever. They won't be there the next time I need them. So if you could just bear with me and let me ramble about my cat, or whether we sit in silence, I appreciate it. I appreciate YOU. Don't think that I don't.
Staying there, even when you feel like you might be annoying let's me know that you're going to be there when I get better, and can socialize with you more. Where I don't mind going out in a group or doing something more involved. When we'll be able to eat a large pizza together instead.
Being a friend to a person with mental illness is probably one of the hardest, consuming things that you may ever do, but I promise it's also probably one of the most rewarding things you can be.
To the friends who've stayed, thank you.