In 1996 when I fell ill for the first time, my friends tried to stick with me at first. However after a while it got too hard for them to look at somebody who was quiet all the time and looked like a walking corpse. I did not say it out loud, but they must have felt I was thinking of suicide a lot. Today I am glad they limited their contacts to me to a few times a year. They had to do it for their own protection, for bad mood is catchy as you well know. It would have worn them out.
In 1999 I met my future husband and since I practically had no friends, I attached myself too much to him. It was not the best thing to do, but the way I see it from today’s perspective it was the only way. He stood by me no matter what. He helped me become who I am today. I would not have made it without him.
It was only in 2007 that I came out of my fear and depression jungle to such an extent that I was able to renew my old friendships and even make new ones. However I came across another danger — the belief that I had to accept anyone as a friend. I thought I was not supposed to be choosy about new friends, since I had been “alone” for such a long time. My husband and I also moved to another town, where apartments were cheaper, so I had little contact with the old friends. Soon I realized that the new friends that were very different from me, were only exhausting me. I realized I had to become choosy, or I will fall ill. Today I have two new friends in the town we moved to. I mean those kind of friends you see every week. Thus I am not that terribly attached to my husband anymore.
Another trap I fell into was “analyzing my relatives”. After having acquired a lot of knowledge about personal growth in various seminars, books and daily mental work (2004—2008), I suddenly wanted to help everyone. This was exhausting too. So I had to reduce family visits.
It was this winter that I finally managed to find the balance between solitude and socializing. When I feel there has been too much talk with my friends, I simply take some days off and enjoy the peace and quiet of our home or take a stroll in the forest. As far as my relatives are concerned, I try to take them the way they are. I just listen and make as little remarks as possible. When listening to them still stresses me out, my dear husband give me a Tibetan heat compress massage before going to bed. This makes keeping the balance between solitude and socializing much easier.
I do love people and wish everyone their best, but I am very sensitive to the energy they are sending out, that is why I am a bit of a loner. Of course it’s predominantly the negative energy people send out that gives me sleeping disorders. But also a huge amount of positive energy in the evening makes it harder for me to fall asleep. That is why my home sweet home became a sort of “headquarters of peace”. A quiet place only for me and my beloved husband, no loud music, no TV. It’s a place where we both re-fuel our “tanks” with life energy. Once a week we also get a major re-fill in the mountains.
You can ask me more about my experience with mental illness: firstname.lastname@example.org.