being the world’s worst friend is one hell of a downward spiral

By p-a-t-r-i-c-k

to all of my friends, to all the people that at one time considered me a friend, to every person that i love: i am so so sorry for being such a lousy friend in the last seven years or so.

i have not returned your calls. i haven’t initiated calls or contact. i have canceled plans. i have been unreliable, a flake. you have every right to be upset with me.

i am truly sorry. i am crushed under the guilt and shame i feel about this.

i want to give you some context for you, but i don’t want to excuse myself. i just want to be sure that you know that it’s not because i don’t love you. i love all of you so much. it’s not because you aren’t important to me, or because i don’t value your friendship.

it’s because i’ve been sick–really sick. and it’s completely changed my life. you see, in June 2004, my world came crashing down around me. i’m not ready to talk about the specifics yet, but i had two really wretched, painful things happen to me. and i just broke. emotionally, mentally, psychologically i was shattered.

that shattering triggered the most intense flare of my mental illness (bipolar disorder, type II) that i have ever experienced. i knew i had issues before then, but this was like all the lights went out. there was no light for me. the things i trusted in were no longer trustworthy, with the exception of God. and even he was so incomprehensible to me. everything was spinning. i didn’t know which end was up.

i didn’t know how to explain to myself what was wrong, and i sure didn’t know how to explain it to anyone else, even my dearest friends. whenever i am feeling depressed, i tend to withdraw, and this time was no exception. i withdrew even more intensely than ever. it was like i imploded. i was trapped in my own head.

when you called, or sent emails, or otherwise reached out to me, i didn’t purposely blow you off. but i was so hurt that i didn’t want to be close to anyone. i didn’t know how to explain that i wanted to die, that i lived in blackness all the time.

when i didn’t return your call right away, i felt guilty and ashamed. and that made it harder to return that call, so i felt more guilt and shame, and on and on in a vicious cycle.

when i was supposed to hang out with you, i wanted to. but i also didn’t want to leave my house. i was so hurt i felt just raw, and if i stayed in my own little world, i thought i would be safer. plus, i was exhausted. depression makes you want to sleep, a lot. and just going to work and getting through the day was taking almost all of the energy i had.

and on top of all this, my thyroid stopped working, which made me more tired, fatigued and mentally miserable. it was the perfect storm of misery.

i have been so sick, and writing this is the first time i realized that it’s really been almost 8 years. wow. that’s awful. the good news is that i really feel like i might be on an upward trajectory and that it might last.

you might be wondering what prompted me to write this, today. well i’d been thinking about it for a while, but then i read this blog post.

the story she told was so sad and i felt such crushing guilt reading it. please forgive me.

though don’t have the right to ask you anything, i am going to ask anyway. if you can forgive me, if you still love me, if you still want to be my friend, please give me another chance. if you can, please reach out to me. the thought of reaching out to each of you is so overwhelming. it immobilizes me. especially because i am afraid that you all are angry with me and have written me off. but i am going to try.

if you can bring yourself to forgive me and reach out to me, please be patient with me and don’t give up on me too soon. i’m going to do my very best. but i’m rusty and still healing. have mercy on me.


5 thoughts on “being the world’s worst friend is one hell of a downward spiral

  1. I wish I lived near you, so I could give you a big hug. I can understand what you are saying, because I hear it all the time from Dude. He is lonely, but turns away those who reach out to him, and then they just stop trying. He does have a few who have stuck by him through it all anyway and I love them so much for being that kind of friend to him .
    And I pray that there will be people for you like that too. I know that it is scary and lonely to feel like you are losing your mind, and it is a helpless feeling to be on the out side watching someone you love go through that. I can understand those who can’t handle it, or who are afraid, or who just fade wearily away. But there are those who stay and love and let the bad stuff roll off and fall away, and focus on the love.
    I am so thankful for you too, for giving voice to things that I thought were singular to us and now i no longer feel so isolated alone and like “it is just us”.
    I hope that those for whom you intended this post will read it with soft and forgiving hearts and understand and come back to you. But I will be here, praying from a distance and hoping that you continue to be strong.

    • Thank you. For your prayers, for taking the time to reply and for letting me know you understand where I am coming from.

      I am so glad God used this to lighten the load of “we are all by ourselves in this; no one else is going through this.”

      I too feel for the friends of the ill; for my friends and Dude’s friends. They deserve more and better and they have every right to feel hurt and let down. My heart aches for them.

      This was so beautiful: “But there are those who stay and love and let the bad stuff roll off and fall away, and focus on the love.”

      More than having these kinds of friends, I want to be this kind of friend. I think you described perfectly the “friend that sticks closer than a brother.”

      I pray you and Dude feel God’s love and presence in a powerful way today.

  2. Beautiful friend….

    You are not. alone.

    I could have written these words: “when i didn’t return your call right away, i felt guilty and ashamed. and that made it harder to return that call, so i felt more guilt and shame, and on and on in a vicious cycle.”

    Praying with you, friend….
    So much love.

    • ann, thank you so much for taking the time to find my blog. i have no idea why you did, but i appreciate it.

      thank you for your prayers. your post was really good for me, because it finally got me to write this post, that i’d been thinking about for a long long time. i’m not sure it’s going to get the reaction i’d hoped, but getting it out is good for me.

      and thanks for letting me know i’m not alone.

  3. Dearest Rachel.

    I’ve thought of you often over the past few months, praying for you. Depression is hard. I can’t even imagine how being bipolar feels.

    The post you linked to sort of broke my heart – I have been on both sides of that equation many times. But maybe there are other people like me out there – assuming the friendship didn’t take a sour turn (and sometimes even if it did – I can be a pushover) I’m usually always waiting. I like to be able to pick friendships up where they left off, or continue them in a different capacity. I’m known for saying that even if someone doesn’t want to be my friend, I’ll still be their friend if they need me to be. Mostly because the older I get the more I realize that life happens and that sometimes friendships need to have a “hold” button while we work through things individually. And that’s okay.

    I hope that helps alleviate some guilt…I know how crushing it can be, to feel as if you’ve let people down. But honey, you’ve been trying to survive. And that’s okay. God bless you, dear.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s