This post will specifically be about how losing a friend affects someone with depression. It is a bit lengthy, but I promise it is worth the read.
I am not one for losing people. In fact, I hate it. It hurts my soul. I pride myself on being a good friend. I go above and beyond for people, and I do it intentionally so that I can minimize the chance of losing someone. But life happens. This particular ending however, was not something I had foreseen.
So what happened?
I met, let’s call her Claire, at work about 7 years ago. We grew close, dealt with life together, supported one another, and grew up. I trusted her and considered her one of my closest friends. She was definitely someone I went to for advice, someone I trusted to be honest with me and someone I thought I would be friends with forever. I had one issue with her that I addressed twice. That issue was basically that I felt I was putting more into her than she was into me. We talked through it and, I thought, we came out the other side in a really good place.
Apparently I was very wrong.
When I was home the past few weeks, I didn’t really hear from her except for planning a night out for our birthdays. That night came the last weekend I was in town and we had a great time. We went to dinner and then ended up at a club in downtown Portland. On this particular night, the club was just kind of dead. Nobody was really dancing and me and a few of my other friends quickly recognized that we are officially too old (at the ripe old age of 27) to pretend we were going to go clubbing.
Throughout the evening, a few things had been awkward with Claire. I was choosing to ignore it and had been trying to readjust my expectations of our friendship so that I wasn’t continually hurt by her lack of effort. We got separated and I didn’t talk to her the next day. It was my last day in town and I was extremely busy. So Monday morning (two days after we had gone out) I was at the airport for my flight home. I went to tag her in a post about how great my trip was and I realized that she deleted me from Facebook.
Seven years and that is what she gave me. No conversation. No explanation. All I got was a coward. A petty girl who was proving me right.
To me, ending long term friendships is very similar to a break up. Someone I had trusted, loved, and supported is now gone. A person I thought wanted to be a part of my story, doesn’t. The idea that she thinks so little of me is hurtful, and it will take some time to recover, but I am working hard to move past it, and I have to say that I am realizing I am better off without her.
Naturally, I texted her to find out what was going on. Her response was so mean. So cold. So nasty. It was a character assassination mixed with a temper tantrum. Claire told me that I was essentially toxic. She told me that she loved the friends in her life because they are honest and loyal and positive. Implying that I was none of those things. Me. The person who sat with her for hours on the phone after she had broken up with her fiancé. The person who sent her flowers when her dog died just a few months ago. One of the only people left who supported her through an abusive relationship that lasted years. The person whom she literally collapsed into at the hospital when her grandmother died.
Claire told me that it was “bull shit” that I didn’t acknowledge her for showing up that night. Somehow I was supposed to acknowledge her for showing up, but she had no obligation to acknowledge my effort. She was mad that I didn’t give her credit. Credit for what? For sitting awkwardly with her other friend so that I could either talk to her or everyone else at dinner. For not even taking the time to introduce me to the group of people she ran into and was hanging out with.
She told me that she was slightly hurt that I didn’t tag her in a post I made about the other girls that came out. After THEY spent money on a hotel room. After THEY spent all day with me at my nephew’s birthday party. After THEY had made sure to see me several times during my trip. Claire hasn’t made a public post about me in almost three years. But for whatever reasons, I was supposed to publicly paint a picture of something that just was not real.
How dare I not give her recognition for being such an amazing friend!
And then she said goodbye. She said she didn’t want to be a part of my life. And that was it.
This caught me so off guard and really put me in a state of reflection. I have spent several days mulling over this. Trying to decode her rage into something I can channel positively in my life. Re-reading that hurtful text over and over so that I can get enough out of it to learn about myself and what I need to work on – how I need to grow. I also am trying to look at this through the lens of my depression and how to manage all of my feelings. I knew that this could send my depression skyrocketing and I wanted to get a handle on it. I turned this really negative incident in to a positive learning experience, and I have to say that I am proud of that.
I realize that I don’t need Claire. I am at a point in my life that I do not need people who do not appreciate the kind of person I am. I do not need someone that takes so much from me and gives me so little in return. I do not need to waste time and energy on a person that has repeatedly made it clear that I am not good enough. I do not need to feel like I am unworthy.
Claire hurt me. She really did. My biggest fear is not being good enough. I hate the thought that she didn’t think enough of me to try. To even explain to me what her issue was. I can’t even be THAT upset with her because most of what she said just simply is not true. I try so hard. I tried so hard with her. And her lack of appreciation of that is really too bad. Because what that means for her is one less person who will support her and care for her unconditionally.
So thank you Claire, for teaching me my worth. For helping me to recognize that I do not NEED you. For showing me that what I need is to surround myself with people who aren’t so selfish and so quick to erase someone from their life. I do not need your sanctimonious attitude or your self-righteous judgment. And I hope that you learn from me. Learn to be a better friend. Learn that if you do not want someone around, you should tell them that. Do not go on about how much you appreciate someone and love them, when it is a bold faced lie. Do not tell someone that they are important to you when they are not. Learn that people are not perfect. But also learn that people grow and try. And learn that just maybe, you should give them a chance.
Losing a friend isn’t fun. I don’t enjoy any part of it. But working through this has helped me to grow as a person in a very short time. I have learned that some friendships aren’t supposed to last forever, and that’s okay. I have learned that I need to be more careful with who I give my time to. I have learned that struggles I have with one person shouldn’t spill over into a relationship with someone else. I have learned that despite my depression, I have the ability to work through negative experiences and come out better for it. I have learned that it is time for me to cut the toxicity from my life – to be a more positive and happy person. I have learned the meaning of priority. And most importantly, I learned that it is time to stop making excuses for myself, for others, and to make personal growth my number one focus.
Goodbye Claire. For better or worse, I am glad that you were a part of my life and thankful to have learned so much from being your friend.