F is for Friendship


The A to Z Challenge continues. Today is “F”. I am late posting today because I have been having trouble writing. My friend Lynne has gone in for surgery to get her cancer metastases removed from her liver. This surgery will determine whether she lives or not. Since Lynne wont be able to call me herself, I have been on Facebook all day waiting for an announcement from a family member. Nothing yet.

I did find something else though. I am not on my real Facebook very often, I usually use my alias for the blog. I decided to flip through some old friends I am not in touch with anymore to see what they were up to. I came across a guy I sort of went out with in middle school. Does it even count as going out at that age? Anyway, he died. Cancer. Apparently it happened really fast. For some reason I didn’t think cancer happened that quickly in your twenties. I’m kind of shocked and even more worried about Lynne now.

F is for friendship. F is for faith that Lynne will be ok. Lynne and I aren’t super close yet. She is my husband’s friend, they went to school together. Lynne has always been a bit of a workaholic too. It wasn’t until she started feeling unwell and had to take time off work that I got a chance to get to know her better. Although the circumstances suck, I am glad I got the opportunity to know her better.

zentangle owls friendship

Lynne and I actually bonded over mental health. She was having panic attacks at her hospital appointments and had to start seeing various mental health specialists. Since she was confiding all of this in me, I thought it was ok to tell her about my experience. We swapped stories and gave each other recommendations on who to see and what coping strategies to try for sleeping and reducing stress. This is the only time my mental health status was out before the friendship started.

If you have/had mental health problems, would you tell your friends? How do you think they would react? Do you have any friends that have confided in you about their mental health? How did you react?

It is always an internal debate, to bring it up or not? A mental health charity found that 40% of mental health service users were afraid to tell their friends of their condition. One third felt that friendships had already been strained or lost entirely due to their mental health. On the other side of things, 20-25% of people only found out a friend was having trouble after a hospitalization or a suicide attempt.

Friendship isn’t always easy to navigate when you have mental health problems. Friendships can get rocky if you over think them. They can also just fade away if you don’t have the energy to see people or call. Friendship is important though. Your friends are part of your support network. Friends reduce stress and give you more confidence. They are people you can confide in. They celebrate with you, they support you, they keep you grounded and can help you put things in perspective.

Friendship is a two-way street though. To have good friends, you have to be a good friend. Having a mental health problem doesn’t mean you are never able to support or laugh with someone else. I think it is important to put in the effort to maintain friendships, however difficult it may be.

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. trentpmcd
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 18:13:23

    I hope all goes well for Lynne and that you hear good news soon – I know sometimes the worrying when we have no control can be awful!


  2. mbarkersimpson
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 18:16:52

    I really hope Lynne is okay, and that the operation is a success. This is a wonderful post to celebrate friendship – we couldn’t get through life without it. I’m thinking of you and your friend.


  3. eclecticalli
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 18:30:38

    Friendship is so important to nurture, and truly amazing friends will be there for you when you need them – because they know you’ll be there for them when they need you.
    Sending good thoughts to your friend.


  4. therabbitholez
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 18:42:35

    Fingers crossed for your friend Lynne.

    I’ve read four posts on friendship today, it’s gratifying to see what we all get from solid friendships, and the ways in which we all connect.

    With MH it’s mostly lack of awareness that can stop any meaningful discussion, and it makes people hesitant to probe any further, or they just shy away from it all contributing to the stigma that surrounds it.

    Until they believe it’s a real illness that really does affect your life, the changes will be minimal, of those who try to understand without judgement I applaud them.


  5. NotAPunkRocker
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 19:11:37

    I hope the doctors are able to give her good news or good options either way.

    A lot of my friends offline I met online first, so my mental state is known though maybe not always the full extent of it all. I’m not going to advertise it if I meet someone, but I am not going to lie if I am feeling down and asked if I am OK or not.


    • somberscribbler
      Apr 07, 2015 @ 19:40:20

      I think you’ve got a good way of going about it. I worry most about work friends. I have told my boss because it does affect my work sometimes. I just don’t want it to affect future hires or collaborations.


  6. nerdinthebrain
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 19:45:17

    I’m sending positive thoughts your way….I so hope that Lynne gets good news, and y’all have the opportunity to become great friends! ❀


  7. Random Musings and Wanderlust
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 23:52:02

    Sending positive thoughts of healing. I hope that Lynne gets good news. Friendship is a valuable thing. I always say we can choose our friends but not out family, and sometimes friends become family.


  8. Carrie Lynn
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 04:51:12

    sending a lot of hugs for you and Lynne ❀


  9. suesconsideredtrifles
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 06:06:01

    A post worth waiting for – and I hope the news is good. And those owls are lovely. Sue


  10. Natalie Zaman
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 06:37:52

    Friendship is Magic! β™₯


  11. Tessa
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 07:39:38

    Best of wishes for your friend!

    My whole FaceBook (friends and family) know all about my different mental and physical ailments, My hospitalization. And I even told coworkers. I have always been lucky not to run into anyone who is anything but supportive.


    • somberscribbler
      Apr 08, 2015 @ 21:52:39

      That is really amazing. The people I have talked to about my mental health have been wonderful. I am just afraid of hitting that one person that doesn’t and having that make me more afraid to talk about it. It’s silly, I suppose I contribute to the stigma this way. It is hard to help it though.


      • Tessa
        Apr 08, 2015 @ 22:25:18

        I am aware that it is possible to hit that one person who won’t understand, but I am not going to let that stop me. I plan to make a difference in this world. Now is that me or is my mania coming back? πŸ™‚

      • somberscribbler
        Apr 10, 2015 @ 10:12:56

        Haha, I think its just you πŸ™‚ That’s a really good attitude to have.

      • Tessa
        Apr 10, 2015 @ 10:39:45

        Could be me, I do want to make a difference in the world even though I haven’t really met up with people who buy into the stigma we have surrounding us.

  12. Mental Mama
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 12:02:58

    Most of my friends also have some flavor of mental, that’s why we’re friends. πŸ™‚ I hope that things have come out alright with Lynne.


  13. plaguedparents
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 21:04:37

    I only know you online, so I am aware of the struggles you have shared. I would be honored to be your friend…you have a beautiful heart, and immense talent.
    PS-did you draw the owl picture?


  14. Julie
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 23:09:02

    Friendship can definitely help you with a lot of things.I don’t think i can make it right where i am now without them πŸ™‚


  15. erraticprojectjunkie
    Apr 09, 2015 @ 02:09:26

    I’m sorry to hear about Lynne, I hope she can recover quickly. Cancer is never an easy road.

    As far as mental illness goes, I’m very closed up about things…mostly from being burnt. I don’t really talk about it with anyone. I have close friends that know of my situation, but I don’t enjoy having the feeling like I’m being judged, so I don’t say much to anyone else. I had someone who knew my husband (but who I didn’t know beyond name) once read some posts on my blog and basically attack me in real life telling me that I was a crazy person. It was awful. I have no desire to ever go through anything similar ever again.


    • somberscribbler
      Apr 10, 2015 @ 10:11:24

      Geez, I am so sorry you had to encounter someone like that. I usually tell people when it affects my relationship with them. I always nervous about it. It is hard to anticipate how they will react. I thought my Mother in Law would be fine being a nurse and having a daughter with BPD, but that was not the case. We just kind of pretend the conversation never happened.


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