The Friends We Need

Yesterday was my breaking point.

Granted, waking up this morning, I still feel the sting of the state of my life and I recognize there may be another breaking point even today… there may be many more breaking points throughout this season. And that’s okay.

Because in the midst of me losing my mind yesterday and crying in the car to a dangerous extent because the road became rather blurry, I decided to reach out to a friend who reminded me that there are dogs on Instagram, so the world isn’t such a terrible place after all. And we need friends like this. The friends who actually answer the phone and upon hearing, “I just need you to tell me something positive,” they ask no questions; rather, they proceed to tell you positive things. There is no, “Well, maybe we should talk about what’s going on instead?” or “Why haven’t I heard from you in a couple weeks?” or “This is random.” They don’t shame you. They don’t judge you. They just comply with your strange request in the midst of the dark thoughts that want to tell you that you are completely alone, failing at all things, and lesser than anyone and everyone, thus you aren’t worthy of friendship. Friends like this are ones that we need. And after the weight of impulsiveness to give up releases itself from you, they are the friends who will tenderly say, “Do you want to talk about it?”

ANNNNNND then you’ll cry n stuff ’cause you have an amazing friend loving you in the midst of your shit.

Then when you realize you can’t just live a life of explosions followed by positive things, that other friend you need comes along and actually becomes your undercover counselor. Friends like this, too, are the ones we need. Because they remind us of cliche phrases that we actually desperately need, such as “It’s a bad day, not a bad life.” And that phrase causes us to take a step back and find folly in our desires to hate our lives, as they unpack for us the ever-changing-ness of our situations, seasons, and relationships with others.

“For most of the world, how fast things change is scary, but for people like us, we need it. We need to be reminded that how we feel right now isn’t going to last forever, and neither will where we fit in everyone else’s life,” echoes through our days that follow thereafter, as we refuse to turn off the anxiety-riddled instant replays of our failures and fears.

We cling to reminders that “we have this tendency to care too much about how everyone else views us and how our friends perceive us because, duh, we care about their opinions of us, but sometimes, we have to let that go and just be friends to ourselves and not worry about if we’ve let others down. Because even if someone else is disappointed in you, that doesn’t mean that you are a disappointment.” I kinda wanna just remind myself of that right now… just because I’ve let people down and I’m failing at a lot right now and disappointing people, that doesn’t make me a let down, a failure, or a disappointment. And it doesn’t make you those things either.

This sort of friend is the one who is consistent about speaking truth over you, validating your feelings, and, in the most authentic way possible, making you feel as if you are in now way whatsoever a crazy person. Because this friend, she gets it. She’s been there. She’s seen the depths of darkness and she’s fought the monsters nobody can see and she forever remains your hero. The world will never know her war stories, but you’re convinced hung the stars and the moon and can do literally anything because she’s the strongest woman you’ve ever met.

So you hang up the phone after she loves you through all your shit, and you cry–because He’s clearly not given up on you, as He is still providing you with hope, grace, and kindness through friends who love you both in and through the darkness of your mind.

And for those of you who don’t have these two kinds of friends, let me be that for you right now; and if perhaps I’m the only one who reads these blog posts, then this is for me to be a friend to myself.

That’s first. Be a friend to yourself. Practice being kind to yourself. Because you’re the person who tries to become all things for all people. You overextend yourself and what you’re capable of 87% of the time when it comes to loving others and loving them well. You’re the girl (or the guy) who doesn’t know half-hearted love; you don’t know how to not give all of yourself to carrying the weight of everyone else’s world. And honestly, you crave that sort of friendship from others in seasons of depression, heartache, and loneliness. You’re the best friend you know how to be, and you’ve set the standard by how you love others, so take a break and love yourself a little. Be a pal to yourself, and stop letting yourself be mean to yourself. Because you wouldn’t stand, for even a second, for your best friend being bullied by someone, so stop allowing it from yourself. You’re a good friend. Let yourself experience that.

Second, give the shitty friends a break. You are needy right now, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with having needs–we are all wildly and desperately needy people. But there are people who will endlessly make you feel shamed, invalidate your feelings, and runaway from the depths you are experiencing right now, but let me remind you of something–that’s not their intention. And I know you didn’t get that the first time, so let’s try again: Your shitty friends aren’t being shitty friends on purpose. Yes, they may be very tired from your last go around with this monster. Yes, they may be insensitive to your needs or wants right now. Yes, they very well may be trying their hardest, but just don’t get it… still. And that’s okay. Right now, I know you can only see your own struggles and heartaches, but let me remind you that they too are broken people; your shitty friends are trying to work through their own shit and have various things overwhelming them right now as well. Yeah, it may seem small what they’re going through, and friend, you’re so right that they seem to have everything together and are really just ignoring you until your life gets better because they have no room for your sadness in their perfectly happy little world, but that’s all an illusion. Your shitty friends actually aren’t shitty friends at all, and I know you: You will regret even letting the thought cross your mind that they are shitty friends as soon as this weight lifts. Give them grace. It’s okay that they don’t understand–we’d hate for them to feel the depths of this. It’s okay that they don’t have time to process life with you right now–we want them to succeed and become all we really do know they can be. Depression and anxiety may make us a lot more selfish than usual, but that doesn’t mean we forget completely how much we want the best for our not-really-shitty friends, and it’s actually a blessing that they aren’t consumed with us right now because that means they are becoming all the many things we know they can become and doing all the many things we have hoped for over them.

With that, remind yourself right now that you aren’t a burden. You are carrying many, many heavy burdens right now. You feel the weight of your life right now. That doesn’t mean that YOU are the burden. The lump sum of what you’re carrying doesn’t become you. Somehow, you think you are a mind reader when you become depressed and anxious. I don’t even know how it happens or why it happens, but you believe that you’ve gained this new cursed super-power where you KNOW the thoughts of everyone around you. And somehow, they are all thinking the same things about you… and conveniently enough for you, they are all negative. All your friends suddenly hate you and think you’re annoying and a burden and you’re in the way, so you need to just isolate. Pause, friend.

The reality is this: Nobody actually knows what is going on in your life. You have isolated yourself before even allowing anyone to form a decision on whether or not they are going to keep loving you or completely change their character and give up on you. Also, you can’t read minds… like at all. I hate to break the news to you, but you should know this now. And while you’re living in this fantasy land of thinking you know what everyone else is thinking, you actually neglect communicating with anyone how you’re feeling or what is going on in your life because you assume they too can read minds. But they can’t. And you can’t. And now you’re isolated and your friends are confused because you haven’t even told them what is going on in your life. Let them make the decision for themselves on if they wanna stay or go before you make it for them.

Everything seems really bad right now. And it may be. It may be the worst season of your life. This may be the hardest depressive episode to date. But so was the last one. And you made it out. You came out. You broke through the fog. You found the will to live. He became your will to live. You’ve been here before. You may be here again. And it sucks. You’re completely right in the pity party you want to to throw yourself because this entire thing isn’t fair. But guess what… You’re a woman (or man) of strength. You are someone’s hero. You possess a wisdom and a knowledge many people will never even come close to attaining. You have war stories that you’ll never share with others. You are a warrior. You are lovely. You are full of grace, kindness, and patience. I don’t give a shit what anyone else says of you because you’ve been to the bottom of the pit and come back up a better person. You are worth being proud of, honored to be seen with, and loved extravagantly.

 

So today, take it easy. Go for that drive. Eat that ice cream. Walk that dog. Turn off that phone. Paint that picture. Rearrange that furniture. Do whatever the hell you feel like doing. Cry if you need to. Scream if you want to. But don’t send that angry text. Don’t abuse substances. Don’t bully yourself. Treat yourself kindly.

Just get out of bed. Drink some water. Spend a little time outside. Because you are greater than the bad thoughts and deeper than the depths of darkness. You’ve overcome this before and you’re going to again. We can’t see your battle wounds, but we can feel them in the extravagance of your love for others, the gracefulness of the words you speak, and the wisdom of a woman who has fought the monsters and is humble enough to walk into battle with her fellow warrior, as she too faces her own monsters.

The depths of your beauty echo the depths of His faithfulness.

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