Depression: When Life Leaves You Behind

I got an email today from someone who used to be like my sister but then things went to shit and since then it’s just been a mass of apologies and of course, me trying to keep in touch, and her basically ignoring me. And to be honest, I don’t know how to reply to this email. Because obviously her life has moved on beyond our old chats about how much it sucked to battle depression and anxiety and yet…Mine has not. When we started talking she was a teenager. I’m pushing fifty now and she’s a woman in her 30’s. Whatever bond we had seems…gone. I don’t want it to be and I surely will reply when I come up with something non depressive related to say but…It just highlights my entire life as far as friendships go. One friend I thought I would always have ended up befriending R-through my introduction- and he still interacts with R to this day but can’t even text me. Because apparently, all I do is embrace my depression and anxiety and it bums people out.

My first instinct is to apologize for being a bummer and do the requisite, “It’s all my fault, I shouldn’t wallow in my depression so much…”

But that is utter bullshit. None of us chose this. And one of the biggest backstabs on Earth is friends you bonded with because they were struggling with mental issues same as you but then, their life got back on track when the bouts lifted and stayed gone and suddenly, all the times you were there when they needed you…cannot be reciprocated. Because your condition is chronic and runs in cycles of good, better, worse, face plant in the gutter, back up…And it’s too much work to maintain the friendship when one person is seeing the good in life and the other-me- can’t see the light of day because I am so far down the rabbit hole. For me, it’s never been about abandoning ship for struggling friends just because I have a mini-remission. This is not reciprocal in my experience and it’s just fucking sad. Fine, I bring you down, don’t expect me to want to go out and have a fun time, go with someone fun. But to just shut me out entirely is cruel.

But then that is me making it about myself. For all I know maybe these people have had their own shit going on, didn’t want to confide in me, and came to realize they were just jerks and knew I wouldn’t like them anymore. Or I am a jerk, depression or not, so they don’t like me.

It’s such a clusterfuck, trying to maintain friendships when you’re trapped on this bipolar coaster from hell. And worrying about the friendships when you can’t even keep yourself bathed and your house tidy because depression is devouring you, it does get to a point where you give up trying to live ‘out there’ and retire inside your own mind.

Let’s face it. It’s great when others get the right med combo, therapist, and land on their feet. We are happy for them. But also…we’re in the review mirror, waving, and they, and life, are passing us by and moving on. And we’re just stuck in place, every fiber of our being yearning to be free of this albatross that distorts our every thought and we never seem to be the ones moving on. That has been my experience, anyway.

With winter depression, it’s even harder because you know at least 4 months of the year, even with working meds, that your mind is going to wind up in ‘bummerland’. People tell you to get out, go have some fun, stop living in your own head, and the harder you try to do this..the worse it gets because depression isn’t some foul mood you just snap out of after watching a comedy or eating ice cream. It isn’t just a case of ‘the blues’ that you can fix by putting on some nice clothes and ‘going out’ with others. Try convincing others of this, though, and you find out fast who your true friends are. And ha ha ha, it seems I don’t have any IRL.

Which honestly once I discovered the internet and realized I could interact with others without actually having to worry about bathing and being a shiny happy people, this has been my happy place. Friends I have made on line have shown me more kindness, generosity, and compassion than any person in my actual life. That has to be some sad statement about the people I have in my life. And that statement is, they either don’t believe mental illness is real, or because their problems were situational and not chronic, they just can’t have my ‘toxicity’ in their lives.

I’ve got enough toxicity in my own, so I understand that too well. Difference is, I tell the people in my life when something they do is bothering me. (Like my dad telling me on the phone today all about watching someone kill and eat goat brains, um, STOP, it may have happened but it just upsets me, STOP!) The people in my life don’t tell me when I am bringing them down, so I carry on obliviously rather than try to be more upbeat or know it’s just time to keep to myself til this dark cycle passes. The inability for others to communicate is the bane of my existence. Just like my dark humor. If you don’t tell me it offends you, I don’t know to curb it in your presence, and yes, I am willing to do that because I’m not a fucking monster. Maybe it feels a little like not being accepted for who I am but then my dad’s racist slurs and confederate flag are who he is and I am constantly in cringe mode trying to accept he is just bigoted and redneck as fuck. He sure as hell does not try to tone it down for me. And I don’t want to be like him so…Yeah, if one on one my dark humor is too much, speak up and I will just save it for the people who appreciate it. Wasting brilliant dark humor on those who don’t get it is tragic.

I know I will spring back, at some point, out of my Fort Blankie depression of the last few days. Cold weather and snow and 24-7 lockdown with my child aren’t exactly bolstering my spirit, nor are my hormonal issues and physical pain brought on by those issues. The spring and summer will come and even if my meds aren’t working, I will be in a different mental space for awhile…So why does it still feel like life is passing me by and everyone is moving on without me? And why is it suddenly bugging me when for the most part I’ve made peace with it?

Oh, right, hormonal dysphoria. Right now, not even Baby Yoda could give me the warm fuzzies. Just angry feelings of WHY DIDN’T I GET A BABY YODA FOR MY BIRTHDAY?

So much of my life is spent cycling through bipolar, depression, anxiety, and hormonal issues, I need to focus on survival mode. Social butterfly was never in my genetic make up, depression or not. I’ve always been a loner and quite content with it.

Still…much as you want to be happy for when your friends are feeling good and moving on…

It sucks that you feel left behind.

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