Invisible Illness
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Invisible Illness

Depression and the Crushing Evolution of Friendship

Image by Harut Movsisyan from Pixabay

If you’re reading this, looking for help with depression and your mental health, you’re on the right path. As humans, we yearn to grow and learn, bettering ourselves. The path to growth is riddled with potholes, roadblocks, and gigantic walls standing in our way to happiness.

When you take up arms against the monster of depression, you go to war. As the old Latin says,

“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

War is not to be taken lightly. There will be casualties along the way. You need to plan. You need to prepare.

Years ago, when I took up arms in 2012, I enlisted a skilled general versed in the art of war against depression. This general, this mental health counselor, worked with me to prepare my journey forward.

In our first session, she made sure I knew this would be hard, difficult work. Freeing yourself from depression and mental health issues is not like taking a magical pill.

You have to do the work.

While you do the work, you will be rewarded with growth. Your growth can lead to happiness. This happiness will come at a cost.

People may support you. If you’ve opened up to friends and family, they may tell you to go for it. They want you to be better.

Others will disagree. They’ll fight you. They want you to stay the same and ignore the fact mental health issues exist.

As you grow, you’ll find out what you need to change to build a better life — a happier life. As horrible as it sounds, sometimes that means leaving people behind.

Image by Annie Spratt from Pixabay

What Do You Want in a Friend? What Do You Need?

After a few years, I realized I wanted friends who reciprocated. I needed it. It’s hard to believe, but almost my entire life, I’ve had very few friends who reciprocate.

I remember birthdays. Few remember mine.

I’ll send text messages and get one-word answers for complex questions — if they respond at all.

I would drive hours to see people. After we moved to central PA, I was driving over 3 hours one way.

Reciprocation was rare.

Sitting at a party, I realized I wasn’t being true to myself. It was a hard realization, one soaked with sadness and despair. The realization my friends would never reciprocate the way I would tore me apart.

Yet, I knew I needed a change.

So, I worked on finding friends who would. I put energy into the universe, talked through it in counseling, and… I found one.

One.

I don’t say that negatively. That one friend, aside from my partner, soared to become my best friend in less than a year. I’m closer with them than people I’ve known for twenty years.

Although painful, that realization was one of the best things I did to fight my depression. If you are battling your mental health, take stock of those around you.

Are they the friends you want?
More importantly, are they the friends you need?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Are You Prepared for Your Mental Health Journey to Leave Casualties Behind?

As you grow, your friendships should grow, too. My journey is about love and embracing others. I feel called to help others with depression and mental health. That calling includes embracing people from all walks of life.

Many don’t understand, but they support me. Support doesn’t mean you agree with the path. It means you accept that it is my path.

Others will support you in the beginning. They may even suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Your struggle, your ability to pursue help, should inspire them.

At first it will.

Then, you do the work. You change aspects of your life piece by piece.

You become healthier.

This change reverberates around you. Your happiness, your ability to be more positive, and other changes will seep into the very core of their being.

They’ll either be happy for you.

Or they’ll turn against you.

Unfortunately, a door slammed shut for me today. I see it clearly in my mind. In the beginning, the people behind that door supported me, then something changed. Their support diminished as I realized what I wanted… what I needed.

What changed? Why did they think I wasn’t the same person?

Because I’m not.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I’m happier.

I’m healthier.

I know what I want in life.

And I refuse… absolutely refuse… to be a slave to my depression, to be miserable again, or propagate that misery on others. I know what I feel like in the depths of my depression.

To this day, I battle it constantly.

The realization those people hate me, when I’ve done nothing other than get healthier, hurt immensely. I wasn’t even there to find out. A friend came to me utterly horrified, telling me what happened.

The funny thing is, I already knew. I saw the writing on the wall as time passed and I evolved.

I won’t go into the details, but the negativity, the lack of support, and inability to find love… it makes me sad — sad they won’t participate in their own growth and happiness.

Yes, I’ve changed. They haven’t.

Change is needed to grow and be healthy.

Change will happen if you take on this journey.

Be prepared.

That change will be difficult, but you will find love and happiness.

I was prepared.

I’ve experienced multiple fallouts due to growth; career fallout, spiritual fallout, and mental health fallout. My partner told me today,

“While most would just be hurt, you are intelligent to see the opportunities in the darkness.”

Image by Hong Zhang from Pixabay

What was my first thought after collecting my emotions, I need to tell this story. I need to share it so others are prepared, knowing the journey will be difficult. The war will rage. Battlefields will be stained with blood, sweat, and tears. Monsters, demons, evil from the depths of your mind will battle for dominion of your soul.

Prepare yourself for the long, arduous journey ahead.

You can, and will, vanquish them.

“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

Know this, I love you.

Whoever you are, wherever you are. We don’t know each other. We may never meet. That doesn’t matter. You are loved and worthy of love.

Will writes the action-packed urban fantasy series The Fae Awakening. He writes about depression, anxiety, and the writing life. You can find him active with the writing community on Twitter and the artist community on Instagram. You can support his work on Patreon.

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We don't talk enough about mental health.

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Will O'Shire

Will O'Shire

Creating action-packed urban fantasy stories filled with magic, myth, and monsters in my pajama pants. I also write about depression, anxiety, and life.

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