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There are times in life where we meet people who carry us through hard times. These amazing people can be found in the most unlikely of places. A friend once said to me, when I was first admitted into hospital and consequentially lost a lot of friends that “friends are for a reason, a season or a lifetime”. Even though we would all like to think that a lifetime applies to most of our friends we have to accept that this may not be the case.

During my ‘dark times’, even though I lost a lot of friends a tight group of friends developed around me made up of people that I would have never suspected. I’m still close to them all now, but recently I have realised that there are a few who were there for a reason, not a lifetime and it is with these people that I must begin to move away from. There is little point in clinging to something that isn’t there.

What this is getting at is that people change over time, and it’s not a bad thing. People are forever evolving, adapting and even though people may move away from each other, it’s not a reflection on you and it isn’t someone abandoning you. It’s a natural progression. Losing friends because of a mental health issue is always hard, whether it be at the time of diagnosis or at any point along your journey. But it’s hard to be a friend to someone who is constantly lacking the will to live, so we have to appreciate that that one who do stick around are incredible, and it is with these friends that we must be open and honest. These are the friends that will try their best to understand.

Depression can make you a hermit. I know it did for me. My friends at the time began to call me mysterious and elusive, I wasn’t doing this intentionally, but for several months I vanished from their lives. I would see them at school, and out of school too but I think I myself was absent, not physically but emotionally. I was a shadow of my former self and they picked up on that. I didn’t care if I was around people or not, I was within myself so the situation I was in was irrelevant, because I wasn’t aware of my surroundings anyway. I was on autopilot.

I think that’s a great way to describe how someone copes when Depressed, I have had, and still get people saying to me “but you cope so well, you’re too normal” – but coping isn’t living, I cope on autopilot, not fully aware of what I am doing. It’s a lonely place, you become trapped in your mind and there is no escape, you yourself become your own best friend and own worst enemy. Your mind is in a constant battle, there is never any peace. But we must understand, friends are not bound to us, they do not have to stick around, they do not have to put up with the rubbish that quite frankly we put them through. Yes, Depression is something we cannot help, but they must also protect their sanity. Don’t take it as a negative, take it as a learning curve and be thankful to the ones that did stay.

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