Monday, December 31, 2012

Give your friends a chance

An acquaintance recently informed us that she has suffered with depression and OCD for a couple of decades.  She was so nervous, it hurt to watch her.  I wondered whether she would start unraveling the blanket if she ran out of tissues to shred.  She made eye contact in stuttering dashes.

Oh, I thought, some things make sense now.  And then I thought, Why is she acting like she's coming out to a hostile audience?  She knows two others in the group have wrestled with depression (and still do).  Why is this so hard for her to "admit"?

As she told us she'd been kind of suicidal, I said a little prayer of thanks to God that I had been too typically procrastinatory to actually write that email I had been thinking about sending because I thought maybe she was just doing what my other friends who just wanted to move on had done because they were too cowardly to just say it to my face and break things off cleanly and openly.  Don't leave us hanging and wondering if you're going to come this week or ever again, I would have said in a more polite way because I was afraid she was just dithering in a passive aggressive way and afraid of hurting our feelings with the truth.  It's a very good thing I didn't send that email, which would have kindly assured her that if she didn't want to be part of the group anymore, she could just tell me, and I would tell everyone else and no one would hold it against her. 

Because that would really not have been a good thing for her to hear while she was trapped in negative thoughts, withdrawing from us all, as she told us she has done to many friends, because she didn't want to inflict herself on us, especially not when she was like that. 

I thought of a couple of my friends who pulled away in this way for some of these reasons because they were depressed.  Were they, like her, afraid of finding their friends really weren't that good of friends? That their friends would slowly drift away, always having a good excuse, not saying anything, not returning calls until no one called anymore?  Did they, afraid of finding out that truth, take the yoke upon themselves and wrap themselves in silence because forcing everyone away and leaving them seemed preferable to being left by them?  Probably.

My heart hurts.

How do I tell her that I am honored that she told us these things, yet that I beg her to please oh please give those friends a chance.  Because while it's true that some of them--even most of them and maybe all of them--will leave, some might stay, and she owes it to herself and those friends to uncover this truth?

"I was writing to figure it out, writing to get through it, writing because I couldn’t remember how to pray." - Addie Zierman

My heart hurts.  And all I can pray is, "Please, God . . ."

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