Am I being ridiculous?

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Am I being ridiculous?

Postby AliceNutter » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:14 pm

First post, so I'm feeling a bit nervous. My closest friend has had a tough time lately. She's experienced bereavement and marital separation in the last couple of years, events which have understandably had a huge effect on her. I too have had a difficult time. My young children have both been diagnosed with a serious, rare genetic disorder, I've been threatened and harassed by an abusive ex partner and I've had serious problems with my mental health. We have always supported one another during difficult life events and these things were no exception.

My friend recently decided she needed a bit of time away from her usual commitments - including me. I was given no explanation, I was just told it was happening, it wasn't up for discussion. I felt I had no option but to accept it - doing anything else would have seemed unreasonable, so even though I felt rejected, I went along with it. She told me it wasn't personal, that she loves me and would be back.

Whilst my friend was away, I had a major relapse of my bipolar disorder. When I'm very unwell, I experience bipolar psychosis and my symptoms include paranoia and delusions. My friend choosing to distance herself was a fertile ground for paranoia - I began thinking that my friend was using the situation as a way to exit our friendship, that it was her way of letting me down gently. I began to think she was punishing me for a trivial disagreement we'd had (but quickly resolved). I contacted her for reassurance but it wasn't forthcoming, which fuelled my paranoia all the more. I then behaved really badly and had a bit of an email tantrum, accusing her of being selfish and letting me down when I need her most. I turned a situation that was not really about me into an 'all about me' thing. She rightly pulled me up on this and told me to leave her be while she got her head together. I spent several days feeling absolutely awful.

I then saw my psychiatrist, had my medication adjusted and gradually my anxiety and paranoia started to settle. I'm not "well" yet but I'm coping much better. I sent my friend a short but completely rational email, apologising for everything I'd said and telling her she has every right to take some time away from the rest of her life and she doesn't have to apologise for it. This went down well and she sent back a nice, supportive text saying she missed me and would try and come back soon.

This was a couple of weeks ago and still I've heard nothing. I'm starting to feel anxious all over again. Because I'm unwell, I can't work out whether my expectations are unreasonable or whether she's being unfair. I feel sad that I'm such a low priority at the moment. My friend knows how unwell I've been, yet she has offered no kind words. But then I think perhaps she is simply doing what she needs to do for her own wellbeing and it's nothing to do with me, just a case of unfortunate timing. (My husband believes this to be the case.) However, she appears to be blind to the impact of her choice on me. Her actions have (unknowingly, I think) actively contributed to my paranoia and that really hurts.

The bottom line is, I would love to have my friend back. Not just for selfish reasons (ie what she can do for me) but because I genuinely miss HER as a person. I miss being involved in her life and the many enjoyable things about our friendship. I told her this and it went down well. Part of my confusion is that she doesn't have to miss me; I'm right here!

I already have problems with trust and this really hasn't helped. Am I being unreasonable in being so upset by this? When I feel unwell, I think the fact she's still able to work etc 'proves' that she could, if she wanted, remain in contact with me. When I'm in that mode, I'm tempted to walk away from the friendship altogether as it feels as though there would be nothing for her to come back to. My rational mind tells me that's a terrible idea, which would only hurt us both. Can anyone offer any objective advice please? I'm so confused about it all and it's getting in the way of me getting better! Thanks xxxx
AliceNutter
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Re: Am I being ridiculous?

Postby reckoner » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:19 pm

Welcome!

From what you've described of what's happened to her lately, she might either not want to burden you with her problems, or not be able to deal with yours. My guess is she doesn't have the strength or energy to 'be' your friend, perhaps anyone's friend, and that's why she has cut herself off and couldn't give you the reassurance you wanted.

I completely understand why you feel upset by your friend's absence, but you have described how your mental state affects your response to the situation. When you had your medication adjusted and felt better, you sent a message she appreciated, but when you relapse, you go into a "mode" in which you feel upset, tempted to walk away and sent that aggressive email, and your friend won't know what condition you're in or how you're likely to react. I think this shows how important it is for you to feel well to deal with things in the best way.

I think that all friends can ever do is provide support, but they can't do more than that, the rest is always down to the individual. I agree with your husband that she's trying to sort herself out, and I think the best thing you can do is the same thing for yourself. I'm sorry, I know absolutely nothing about bipolar disorder, but you seem aware of it and recognise the symptoms well. When you feel it come on, can you consciously remind yourself that your mind will tell you things that the best part of you knows is not helpful or not true?

It sounds like you have a great relationship with your husband. I think you should let him provide you with the help and support you need so that you can be ready for your friend for whenever she's ready.

All the best.
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Re: Am I being ridiculous?

Postby AliceNutter » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:35 pm

Thank you Reckoner for the kind and supportive reply. I definitely think you're right that I should take no action at all whilst I'm feeling unwell. Anything I say in that mode would be unlikely to reflect how I'd feel if I was well and would probably make matters worse. I think patience is the key (something I'm pretty rubbish at!) If she's true to her word - which she always has been over the years - she will be back.

I also think you're right about me best spending my energies on getting better myself. Perhaps she's doing just that herself, as you and my hubby say. I suspect you're probably right that she doesn't have the capacity to be anyone's friend right now.

My hubby says it's just unfortunate timing that we were both in a spot of bother at the same time - it doesn't usually happen that way. You're right that he's supportive and kind and I'm thankful for that. I do also have other friends so I've made a point of reaching out to them as well, which has helped. I will be patient and try to look after myself so that I can be a friend to her when she's back. Thank you x
AliceNutter
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