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Helping a friend with mental health issues at tough times is great, but do remember – everyone appreciates a friend to share happy moments too.
I am running the risk of upsetting or even losing a few people in my life but I hope they will understand this perspective.
Mental illnesses impact relationships hugely. It is normal for people’s social circles to grow smaller with age but for those of us living with mental illnesses, the number is scantier.
Some of us are left incapable of social interactions, some of us isolate ourselves, some of us feel shame, some of us are abandoned, some are ignored and then, there are some of us who feel patronised.
At one point I had a healthy lot of people around me. Most of these, I could bank on to understand and be there, for which I am grateful to them and to God or whatever superpower there is that sent them into my life. They are probably the reason I am what I am today.
A few years back however, I began to see a pattern in these relationships. Of course they will still be there when I need them but are they around when I want them?
I do not feel any love on my birthday celebrations or festivals or at the movies because on these happy occasions they are nowhere around me.
Is it possible that people who are there when we need them are just genuinely nice human beings and it probably has nothing to do with them loving me?
We face fewer questions when we tell office that we are late because we had to help an old lady to the hospital or if we skip a party because a friend is feeling unwell. So, is it possible that they find it easier to get out of their personal obligations when they have to help me but not when I am asking them out to a movie?
Is it possible that they feel the same joy I feel when I foster stray animals? Could I be a cause for some?
Why is the likelihood of getting a concerned reply to a sad text message marginally higher than getting a positive response to an offer to go out to a movie?
These are just questions. I hope I am wrong. But I just want to tell you that I feel loved in both cases and hope we share more happy moments together. Do come along for a movie once in a while.
Any form of mental illness with feelings of loneliness can lead people to thoughts of suicide. If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call.
Aasra, Mumbai: 022 27546669
Sneha, Chennai: 044 2464 0050
Lifeline, Kolkata: 33 2474 4704
Image of two friends via Shutterstock
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