Always here for each other?

A person helps another person climb up a hill, with the sunset behind them.

I think always being there for each other is an important foundation of friendship but sometimes, always feel a bit too much.

One thing I'm struggling with lately is feeling like I am a massive burden on my friends, since I am going through a tough time mentally. I typically turn toward my closest friends for support, whether it is reassurance, comfort or merely a quick pep talk. This is, of course, reciprocated; I feel this to be an important basis for a friendship, this notion of always being there for each other.

Yet, the idea of ‘always’ has felt quite flimsy lately. Perhaps it's owing to the time of semester, the gloomy lack of good weather, or even something in the air, but it feels as if many of my friends are not thriving mentally right now. So turning to my friends for help seems a little embarrassing at times, but most importantly, quite burdensome.

Factors for depression and anxiety are relative, and I would never think my problems to be more important than someone else’s, but there is an uncomfortable tension when two friends are both dealing with hardships. It often feels like a serious problem of mine may be met with a complaint from a friend about something quite trivial, or vice versa. As a result, my loneliness has increased, since I don’t want to talk to my friends and bother them. But I know that I can be equally as dismissive at times; when my mental health is particularly bad and I get a message from a friend, I feel the urge to put helping them on the back burner. Sometimes a friend’s stress can be consuming; their anxiety can flare up yours.

So what is the solution? I think acknowledgement is the key. I’ve been attempting more conversations which look like ‘I’m really sorry but I’m going through this right now, so I can’t be the best support, but know that I appreciate you very much’. Or alternatively, I am trying to reach out to people who I know have a better current mental state, to not overburden others. But most important is the recognition that everyone has rough times. Once we feel better, we can however get back to cheering each other up.

Tagged in What messes with your head