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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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so this is what happens when you cut yourself off from your best friend... - June 20th 2009, 04:18 AM

I was best friends with this girl from fourth grade on, but in junior high everything started spiraling out of control.

I had a bad case of depression (diagnosed major depression with suicidal ideation). I started going to the independent study program at my school instead of regular classes, and started going to therapy to take care of the depression. I didn't tell my best friend any of this...I just told her that I was getting really bad migraines and was missing too much school. She believed me because I've been getting migraines since I was about nine years old. In eighth grade I was diagnosed with social phobia, which explained why school made me so anxious.

Over the summer, I started a fight with her about a remark she made at volleyball camp. She said she didn't realize she'd hurt my feelings, and asked me to forgive her. I was slow to forgive her...it was out of insecurity and I still regret it.

Fast forward. We were both going into ninth grade, and I was going to try going to classes full time again, with the help of a therapist and antidepressants. My friend and I signed up for the honors program together. I was going to try joining the volleyball team with her. I still wouldn't tell her about any of my problems. Three weeks into the school year, I broke down. I felt like I was swimming through a shark tank for seven hours each day, and I couldn't handle it. I went into the independent study program at the highschool. I ended up not even being able to walk on campus without having a nervous breakdown, so I begged my mom to transfer me to another high school. I finished out the school year in the independent study program at the new school.

Over the summer, I took a P.E. class at the new school to make up for not going to P.E. class during the year. I kept in touch with my best friend. I helped her set up her birthday party, I celebrated the 4th of July with her family, and we sort of patched up the disagreements that happened the summer before. I still didn't tell her what was wrong with me. I told her that the reason I transfered to the other highschool was that it had better classes and my mom wanted me to transfer (not true.)

New school year. I started taking average classes, and trying to meet new people. It lasted about three weeks, and then I broke down again. My mom set up meetings for me with the school counselor, and I tried going to school. I ended up skipping a lot of classes.

Finally, I transferred to ANOTHER school that is all independent study and I only have to attend twice a week. It's working for me, but the problem is that I haven't even spoken with my best friend since last September, and it's all my fault. She called me a million times, but I couldn't face her. I felt like a freak for going through what I went through.

Fast forward to now. My best friend called me two days ago on my cell phone. I just stared at it while it rang and let it go to voicemail. I haven't listened to the message. I can't even turn on my phone. She's probably inviting me to her birthday party like she does every year. Which would be a terrible place for me to try to reconcile with her, because all her other friends will be there, and they're my old friends that we both used to hang out with when we went to the same school, so they'll be wondering what the hell I'm doing even showing my face.

Basically it's just that I feel like a misfit and a freak all the time, and it's hard for me to trust people. And I can't do this. I can't be a good friend because I'm always letting people down and making them feel unimportant when really it's only because I'm so messed up.

I don't blame you if you didn't read all of it...It's a long story and a long post.


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Re: so this is what happens when you cut yourself off from your best friend... - June 20th 2009, 03:20 PM

I read it all. =) And I'm sure I'm not the only one who did... it's just hard to find the right thing to say in situations like this.

First off, I'd like to know... what has been done to deal with your social phobia? Are you seeing or have you ever seen a behavioural therapist? Tried systematic desensitization and/or flooding in order to work past your social anxieties? Because I feel the immediate problem with your friend is not the big issue. Getting past this fear, so as to be able to live a "normal" life, is the big issue.

Now, in regards to your friend. I actually think that reconciling at her birthday party would be the perfect place and time to do so. That, or before her birthday party takes place. You ended your post by saying that you feel like you're always letting people down. By not calling back, by not going to her party, you'll be repeating that pattern. So BREAK the pattern. Call her back. If she's inviting you, accept the invitation. At the party, you could pull her aside into an empty room and reconcile there. Otherwise, try to meet with her beforehand... maybe meet at an almost-empty, low-traffic coffee shop. Go during a time of day when few people would be there, and you'd be able to talk somewhat freely without feeling anxious about others being around you.

Finally, I'd like to ask you one more thing. What is the harm in telling people about your depression and social phobia? I understand that it is a very personal thing, and you may be hesitant to tell just ANYONE. However, there comes a point in every relationship, be it friendship or something romantic, where you must decide just how close you want to become to this person. Are you going to be close friends, or just acqaintances? Long-term partners, or casual partners? In order to form deeper bonds with others, you need to not only be receptive toward them when they are opening up to you, but you need to be willing to open up about yourself. It's an exchange of secrets, if you will.

If you can't do that with anyone, not even this friend you've known for years and years, then you're right, you're always going to let people down. But again, you have the power to break this cycle. You CAN do this. The first step is always hardest, and the process may be slow, which is why I encourage you to talk to a behavioural therapist, specifically in dealing with your social phobia, ASAP. And call your friend back. Today. =P






   
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