The last week has been difficult.
I was triggered by some sad events that made shoving down painful memories difficult. The memories mounted, and my anxiety got higher and higher. Life was already hectic and crazy–a new job, new routines, stressful home life, money problems…all of it. Oh, and I was also sick with a cold.
By Friday, I knew that I was entering a space I didn’t really want to enter. The dark, depressive hole was in front of me, and I could easily see myself falling into it.
I’m lucky to have a very supportive and helpful therapist. I was able to text her and reach out, letting her know that I was starting to feel overwhelmed. By Saturday, I woke up with an anxious stomach. I felt shaky and sick.
It was an unwelcome and familiar feeling.
And, I did not want to embrace it, or invite it to stay.
So, thankfully, I made a weekend appointment to see her.
I didn’t beat myself up too much. I allowed myself to believe that a little extra support is all I needed to get through a triggering week.
I tried to communicate the ten million different things that have been weighing on my mind. It is hard to remember them all. It is hard to stress how every aspect of life can feel overwhelming at times.
At one point, I shared with my therapist how much my friend J has been helping me over the last months. I have often feared that I over-rely on her for support. I asked my therapist if she thought this was unhealthy and why I always need someone.
At this point, she started explaining the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship between people. I had trouble listening. I immediately began to fear that she thought my relationship might be unhealthy (also, an added element of awkwardness exists because my therapist is also really good friends with my friend J–way before I entered the picture).
I found myself sitting there, feeling like I wanted to sob. It felt so close to home. This spring, I struggled and struggled with the boundaries between counselor and client. I loved and cared for my therapist. I wanted to be her friend. We talked about it. I knew the boundaries. I know the boundaries. But it is still a really sensitive spot for me. And, at times, I feel grief over it and miss being able to see and talk to her as regularly as I once did.
My friend J came in at a time where I really needed someone. She let me in…and I let her in without over thinking it too much. After this session, I began to really beat myself up again, asking, Why!!? Why do you need people? Why can’t you just feel okay BY YOURSELF? When will you just be enough for YOU?
I left my appointment and sought out my friend. I apologized if I had been over-reliant on her. I apologized for being too needy.
She reassured me.
Here is the thing:
My friend is my mother’s age. I love her and her family. They are happy and loud and open. My friendship with her feels free and honest. I never feel the need to hide who I am. I feel like I am the best version of myself when I am around her and her family. It gives me happiness and fills up my cup. It energizes me.
I never laugh as much as I do when I am with them.
Yes, I am not perfect. I am moody. I am not always easy to deal with. I know these things about myself.
But this friend, and her family…they make me feel normal and okay.
I feel happy with them because they are authentically happy.
Our friendship is give and take. I share and she shares. We do things to help each other. I look up to her.
Yes, I enjoy talking to her. It feels like a pretty normal part of my day. For the most part, I have learned not to overthink our friendship. That has been a big part of my healing over the last few months.
There are times, however, when I am oversensitive. Times where I am hyper vigilant to small changes and times where I let small things worry me.
But, in the past, those times were the norm.
Now? They are rare. Now, I feel pretty safe in my relationship with this friend and her family (which I feel like a part of). I feel accepted.
I feel connected.
And, for someone with a real fear of abandonment…this is HUGE.
So, my question is: WHY should I feel like I ever HAVE to do this alone?
My way might look different from someone else’s way. But, I do not have a supportive family or a spouse who is very capable of offering me the support I need.
And, it is okay to need support. Research proves it.
My friends, especially J–they have filled in the holes for me. What others might have in family, I find in them.
And you know what?
I don’t want to feel ashamed of that.