Living with Mental Health Issues: Friends

By Ella Thwaites | @ellathwaites_

Living with Mental Health Issues is a five-part written series which gives you an insight into life with mental health issues and how this affects different areas of your life.

Part 1: Living with Mental Health Issues: Education & Career
Part 2: Living with Mental Health Issues: Romance
Part 3: Living with Mental Health Issues: Friends
Part 4: Living with Mental Health Issues: Family
Part 5: Living with Mental Health Issues: Conclusion

Check out the previous posts:
Living with Mental Health Issues: Education & Career
Living with Mental Health Issues: Romance

Struggling with your mental health can be extremely isolating and it tends to affect even aspects of your life you thought were untouchable. Of all the things your mental health can affect, your relationships with the people around you are probably the hardest one to deal with.

A lot of being a teenager centres around your ability to be social. However, during my formative years, I was more concerned with recovering from an anxiety disorder than attending social gatherings which as you can imagine had an impact on my friendships. I dealt with a lot of confusion from my peers which were understandable. Nobody could seem to grasp that me cancelling plans or not making them in the first place was nothing to do with them and quite literally everything to do with me. As horrible as it is, people start to give up on you and you have to learn to be alright with that sometimes.

It was actually this shift in the fabric of my friendships that caused me to become more in tune with myself. When you move into a new situation that allows you to be yourself without judgement you start to learn things about yourself that had previously been repressed. Yes, I was still anxious and struggling but I knew who I was and I knew I had a support system that would help me through it.

The people that stick around are important and those are the friends you can rely on. I learned to notice the stark difference between those who didn’t care and those who did. I like to think of anxiety and depression as a ‘bad friend filter’. If there are people in your circle that are making you feel guilty for struggling then you shouldn’t consider them as friends, whether you’ve known them for 15 years or 15 minutes. It’s important to surround yourself with good energy when you’re going through something tough, and if that means cutting toxic people out of your life then so be it. It’ll be difficult but once you cut ties with people that are dragging you down you start to feel freer.

“Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

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