Relationships (of all kinds) can be hard, and mental illness can definitely make them harder. I generally try not to talk too much about other people here on the blog, but I’m going to make an exception because I’ve got some stuff to process.
My doctor in hospital spent quite a bit of time talking to my mom in person when she visited me, and then he talked to her again on the day I was discharged. I don’t know what was said in either of those conversations. While I did give consent for him to talk to her, I feel betrayed that she talked to him about my discharge. It’s dumb, because I should have just told him I didn’t want him to talk to her, but at that point, all I was thinking was that I just wanted out of there. Maybe I feel betrayed because she didn’t tell me anything about what that conversation covered. Now I just don’t want to talk to her at all.
I have one local IRL friend. We used to work together, and the friendship worked well at that point. Then I stopped working and my mental health has been declining, and maintaining the friendship became a struggle. I take ownership that that was mostly (although not entirely) my fault. Before I went into hospital, we were communicating very rarely, but when I went into hospital, he was quite supportive. During the brief bits of time when I was allowed to have my phone, we would text each other. Since I got out of hospital, though, we’ve talked a bit, but it’s been mostly superficial. He feels like a million miles away.
Since I initially wrote this, he texted me to ask how I’m doing, and he was concerned that I’m struggling. For some reason, though, he still felt far away.
Then there’s another friendship I’ve been struggling with; this is someone I met in an online community a few years ago. A few months ago, we started spending a bunch of time together online. At the beginning of last month, I was feeling really intensely suicidal and started bombarding him with texts, not saying I was suicidal, but just repeating help me, help me, help me. I was pretty batshit crazy at that point and not even really coherent, and the fact that he was busy at work didn’t slow me down at all. His response was sort of a virtual slap in the face that knocked enough sense into me to make me realize that I needed to be in hospital, so while it was perhaps not the kindest way of handling it, it was effective, and I’m grateful for that.
He didn’t respond to my attempts to contact him early on in my hospitalization, which made me think our friendship was toast, but we reconnected towards the end of my hospital stay. Then when my mixed hypomanic/depressive episode began, he was the unlucky recipient of a barrage of batshit crazy messages from me. After I was discharged, we were fine for a couple of days, and then I ended a conversation with something I shouldn’t have said, but he seemed to take in stride. Then I discovered the next day that he had blocked me.
At first I thought okay, I can see why he would do that as a limit-setting thing. I recognized that I was still not quite at the end of the mixed episode at that point, and a temporary block seemed like a reasonable way to corral some of the crazy. I’ve emailed him a few times to ask for a quick confirmation that it was a boundary issue rather than an end-of-friendship issue, but I haven’t gotten a response.
Yesterday was not a good day for me, and I started feeling pretty certain that the friendship was over. There was a prompting factor for me diving headfirst into batshit territory, but as time has passed since discovering said factor, I’ve become increasingly convinced that I was personalizing something that was unrelated to me and then catastrophizing on top of that. Mostly it was just the tiny straw that broke the crazy camel’s back because I don’t do well with uncertainty.
I sent a few dumb mid-freakout messages (I think I need to come up with a version of the dudgeon-o-meter to deal with feeling hurt—maybe a hurt decision tree). Later, I sent a more reasonable message apologizing for the likely cognitive distortions and asking for clarification so I didn’t have to play guessing games. I asked for a one-word response on the status of our friendship: pause or end.
This whole writing thing is actually quite helpful, because as I started writing this, I was 110% sure I’d been ghosted and the friendship was over, and I was shaking like a leaf and feeling like I’d been punched in the gut. Now, while that’s still a possibility, I’m 95% sure that the prompting factor did not mean what I initially thought it did, and there’s a very real possibility that the mid-freakout messages I fired off could be at least part of the reason I didn’t get a response to the more reasonable email. What’s hard is that I’m very low on resources right now, and I just don’t have much available to manage this in a rational manner in my head.
It may sound like he’s an asshole and that’s all there is to it, but he’s not, and it’s not. I am well aware that I’m very difficult to deal with when I’m not well (trust me, that’s not self-criticism, that’s cold, hard truth that anyone who’s been on the receiving end of that crazy storm would agree with), and he has handled a lot of my shit. I’ve skipped over a lot of details in this post, including dumb shit that I did, because I just don’t want to share too much that involves another person. I also know that he’s got his own issues; mutual fucked-upness has been one of the good things about our friendship. So it’s hard, not because he’s a terrible person (he’s not), but because relationships + crazy are a challenging combination. Writing about it is good, though; I’ve revised this post multiple times, and each revision has made me feel calmer.
My brother brought my little niece over yesterday, and I cried multiple times during the visit, mostly because I just felt exhausted. I’m not sure what to do now to build up more resources. And while coming down from the mixed episode meant that last week was reasonably okay, it’s a problem if I continue going in a downward direction.
Having my mom stay with me and ferry me to outpatient ECT is a backup plan I might have to consider if I’m not able to replenish resources on my own. I’m sufficiently medicated that suicidality isn’t an issue at this point, so I don’t think a return to inpatient is likely to be needed, although that crossed my mind briefly when my brother was over here yesterday. Hopefully I’ll be able to manage without more ECT, as I’ve got some good stuff in place. The email to the hospital about the mouse infestation is on pause until I’m a little better resourced.
I’ll keep all of you lovely people updated on what I decide to do. ❤️