Friendship and Mental Health

Wow!  I have taken such a long break from my blog, but it’s been a crazy and hectic new year so far.  Things have finally quieted down a little and this felt like the perfect moment to do an update.  My life was thrown a pretty big curve ball in January.

If I thought the stress of last summer was getting to me, it was nothing compared to the beginning of this year.  Long story short…my best friend and roommate, the person a consider my sister…attempted suicide.  Depression is a serious thing!  I’ve always known that, but until you have to deal with something like this, you will never know how bad it can be.

I knew she was “a little down” during the holidays.  I put this in parenthesis because it was so much more serious than that.  She had talked to me a little about it and I would try my best to give her encouraging words.  Obviously it didn’t help.  When a person has it in their head that all is lost, there’s not much you can do to defeat the negativity.  Of course, I didn’t know how severe the situation was until January 2nd when the attempt was made.  I thank God everyday that she was unsuccessful and that she came to her right mind to call someone for help!  I don’t really want to go into details, but I’m so happy that she failed in each attempt.

At the time, the house was getting a little overhaul with paint so my mind was also preoccupied with other things.  But all in all, I feel that I missed the signs.  I should have asked more questions and checked in on her more regularly, but we are not your typical roommates.  We don’t spend every day today and sometimes can go days without seeing or speaking.  That was normal.  We both like our space.  So, the only thing that seemed out of the ordinary was how quiet she seemed.  Normally, I could hear her television or music going in her room, but that month of December, it was just quiet.  She just generally seemed disengaged.  Also, she had stopped answering people’s calls.  This isn’t really abnormal for her as she isn’t super attached to her phone, but we were planning a trip for Christmas and the day before…she just wouldn’t answer anyone’s call.  I started asking if she was okay and if she needed anything and she would just say that she was sick.  She had been having stomach issues.  She also said she had the chills or flu like symptoms, which in hindsight I believe the negative thinking and depression had started to produce physical ailments.  I’ve learned so much about depression in these last months and we’ve had to change up a few of our norms.

Now, I have to constantly check in with her.  She was hospitalized for two weeks and now have a therapist and psychiatrist.  I have to check her medications. I’ve tried to incorporate at least one night a week where we can sit down at the dinner table and eat and just generally catch up with things.  I am trying not to be to intrusive and still allow her space…because she has insinuated her need for that BUT I also realize that I can’t give her the space that I once did.  Since I am the person that is around her the most, I feel the most responsible for making sure that she is keeping up with her mental health and utilizing all of the coping mechanisms that she has been taught. It’s still a little stressful because this is a big change.

All I really want to say to everyone who may be dealing with something like this is to be aware.  If your loved one is acting differently and just don’t seem to be engaged in communicating with your or just in life in general.  Ask Questions!  Keep Asking Questions!  Keep checking on them even if it seems over the top.  Get them help even when they tell you they don’t want it.  Take them to the ER even though they may not want to go.  Call for help.  That’s all.

Til next time…….

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Life Changes

How does a person go about making a life change? Let me do a quick flashback..

I remember a conversation that I had with my mother a long time ago. She was possibly the same age that I am not or a little older. She was telling me how she was frustrated and wished that she could do something different with her life. She was speaking about a new career. Now, my mother had a city job for as long as I could remember but she felt….unaccomplished? Or bored? I don’t know. I remember my response to her, “Well, why don’t you get a new job?” Now I think…oh from the mouths of babes. 🙂

Now I’m at the age that she was and seemingly at a similar crossroad. I realize now why she was so scared to make a change. She had a good job, she could provide for her family, and she knew what to expect every day. It is so stressful to make a life change when there are responsibilities involved. Now, I admit, my decision is a little easier for me since I don’t have children but still….changing a career or making a big move is hard. My biggest and toughest decision so far was going back to school! But anyway, I think about this story a lot because at the time, I didn’t understand. I had so many jobs by the time I was 23, that I just thought if you were tired of something, you just changed it. But I had my mom to rely on. If something didn’t work out for me, I could just go home.

Well, my mom passed away almost 10 years ago now, so making these decisions are so much harder. I can’t go home anymore. I have to live with the decisions that I make and hope for the best. I am continually questioning myself on everything. I am wondering if I am doing the right thing. How do I go about making a plan? What do I really want to do with the rest of my life? Am I having a mid-life crisis?

So here I am, on the road to some big life changes. It feels as if I’m just rolling with the punches and I had hoped I would not be doing that. I’m trying to be confident in my decisions, but I’m telling you….fear is getting the best of me. BUT….I’m still trotting on. I’m trying to face those negative and scary thoughts and just keep my goal in mind. I saw a glimpse of my dream last weekend. It was a beautiful boutique that I go in frequently, but is nearly exactly what I want. I hope I make it there.