Coming of Age (Again)

To say that “I get by with a little help from my friends” is an understatement. These five girls have seen me at my worst in high school, again during college, and again in the real world when my struggle with depression was at its worst. Despite their unwavering support, I still struggle to reach out to them.

When managing any mental disorder, especially depression, a strong support system is crucial.

Because my brain is effected by depression, my thoughts literally get clouded in a fog of despair and frustration. There have been many times in my life where my good friends have given me advice out of concern and I turned a blind eye to it. What do they know? They don’t know how I’m feeling… But, I realized after my diagnosis, that it’s those closest to me that I rely on the most because they can see things about myself that I can’t when my symptoms start to get bad. If I listen to them, the deepest and darkests of despairs can be avoided.

I wrote the above 5 months ago. I had lapsed on my medicine – again – and those closest to me were talking to me about going back on medicine. If it was a physical aliment that was hurting, I wouldn’t have been fighting my need to take medicine.

My mom and I had talked about it, but I was convinced that I was okay. Then, my closest girlfriends came to visit, and changed my mind. When I told my mom, she asked what they had said that changed my mind. I told her they just presented it differently in a way that got through to me. Although she wasn’t able to at the time, I’m sure her hotline to heaven had something to do with the final outcome.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with these wonderful women and their significant others. I had lapsed in my medicine again, but had just seen my doctor who prescribed a new medicine for me. I was thrilled to share this positive growth. I’m finally feeling more like myself.

After the meal I took a group selfie of the ten of us – the six girls and the four significant others. Later, it was posted with the caption “As days become years, friends become family.” I welled up. Happy tears. Grateful emotions. Best. People. Ever.

Recently, this feeling of friends becoming family has intensified for me in ways I never thought it could. With friendship, there isn’t a familial obligation to remain in each other’s lives. But, when you grow up with people, fight and make up, and experience those coming of age milestones together, a special bond is formed.

Sometimes these people are around for just a season – just the time that you’re growing together – and then you each move on and continue in your own directions. And that’s okay! You’re not always meant to be best friends with the same people forever. But, I have to say, when those people come back into your life – even for a moment- and you can pick up where you left off, that’s a true friendship, too. These girls, however, have been my voice of reason, my fun Friday night, and my shoulder to cry on for over ten years.

As we enter our late twenties, begin serious relationships, and advance in our careers, there are lots of social conflicts that make it harder to get together. But, when the effort is made from all directions to keep connected, to make time for each other, to share love and make memories, that is truly incredible.

When my mom was in the hospital, and we knew the final outcome, these girls came and took me for a walk. We walked and talked and I confided in them, “Guys, no offense – I love you all – but she really was my best friend.” We know. Even our token emotionless friend started crying as we shared a group hug.

I may not have myself altogether yet, but when I’m with these girls, I feel like we have it all. They have always helped me continue to grow.

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