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Can friendships be repaired?

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bluebell24

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
106
I'm currently waiting for a formal diagnosis for bipolar though it seems likely Ii have had it most of my adult life.

The past year has been totally crazy for me, extreme highs and lows, sometimes throughout the course of a day. A lot of it I think brought on by stress at work. While at work I became close friends with a colleague based at another office, loads in common personally and we became allies very quickly.

Throughout the course of the friendship there were times when my feelings for him were more than just as a friend which resulted in my texting/emailing him to tell him, usually after a night out drinking. We went through lots of ups and downs as a result of this kind of behaviour and eventually I realised that there was something wrong and that I'd been through a really prolonged manic phase. After yet another 'crisis' in our friendship things were a little rocky, he told me that sometimes he just got tired of my empty apologies and couldn't understand why things would always go wrong and wasn't sure whether to try again. At this point I decided I should be honest with him about the illness and he was fantastic ... told me he had often wondered whether that was an element of what was going on and he'd had prior experience of bipolar and other mental health issues with family and friends so was a massive relief that he was neither scared nor put off by this.

Things settled down for a few months after this, my feelings for him were no longer anything more than as a very, very good friend but the depression that came along was tough. Work was really highly pressured and he was a great support throughout, helping me with what to say to my managers and HR to give myself some protection while I struggled with my job. Unfortunately the company wasn't in great shape and despite lots of hard work I was made redundant a couple of months ago. We stayed friends and he was the only former colleague who really looked out for me and kept in touch, and could certainly put a smile on my face when things were feeling bleak.

A few weeks ago however,though I didn't realise it at the time, things got on top of me again. I began emailing and texting him, constantly worrying. over analysing everything. He asked me for some space but the week he'd done that I really lost touch with everything altogether. I've no idea how many times I wrote to him or particularly what I said though I think the communications ranged from making plans to do stuff together to really emotional messages begging him to not cut me out.

As a result wrote to me and told me he could no longer continue our friendship and has asked me never to contact him again. He lives in another part of the country and we have no mutual friends so I really am cut out together. I know he was under a huge amount of pressure at work, does long hours and so barely has any time for himself so I do really understand why he has done this. It must have been unbearable at times to be under such an intense gaze, especially from someone who is all over the place mentally.

I'm now suffering from the worst depression I've had to date, not as a result of the end of the friendship although it doesn't help. I'm trying to be positive, having CBT, trying everything possible to have myself formally diagnosed, and learning that maybe rather than fire off emails and texts I should write things down if I need to get thoughts out of my head.

I am however desperate to repair my friendship. I know now is almost certainly not the best time to actually act on this and think I would be in a much better position if I were healthier. I want to get myself there, but I keep feeling so bad about the way I've acted that that kinda knocks me back a little when I'm beginning to make progress.

I just wonder whether anyone else has been in this position? I don't know if I'm being naive to think I could repair the damage done. And I do know it shouldn't be the focus of my attention ... it's not, I'm really working at getting better but it's hard to do it without someone who was really important to me. I also guess I'd just like to have a light at the end of the tunnel. Is it ever really possible to undo the past and restore someone's trust after an experience like this?
 
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*Sapphire*

Guest
Hi bluebell24

And :welcome: to the forum.

In my opinion, I really do think in this case, time and space is the key to repairing the relationship.

Perhaps when you have a formal diagnosis, some treatment for it, and are feeling less over-whelmed by your feelings then you can approach him.

If you don't leave some time and space then it may be possible that at another low point you may be vulnerable to repeating the pattern.

Perhaps when you do feel a bit better and some considerable time has elapsed, you can send him one message, explaining what happened, what you have done to help yourself with your issues and that you can understand why he asked to stop contact. But you would like to repair the friendship as you do value his friendship highly, however understand the boundaries that you would have to stick to in order to do that.

It may well be that he doesn't want to continue, however try not to take it personally, we all have our limits, and it may be that he has history of other experiences of similar situations that may have hurt him in the past which he is trying to avoid. If that is the case, then it is best to leave it be. Friendships do move on, people move on. But more often than not this is an opportunity to create more friendships with the same level of meaning.

In the meantime, concentrate on getting yourself better, and try to focus on building up current friendships that you have, so that you feel you have others in your life to talk to on the same level that you did to him.

Also posting on here can help. There are many people on this site that I am sure have had similar experiences to you, and deal with similar problems day to day. Many people on here have built up good friendships both on and off the forum. :)
 
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bluebell24

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
106
Thank you sapphire 77,

I do hope you're right that time and space will help. I find myself ridiculously preoccupied with wondering how long at times, but then I am mostly preoccupied with that because I wonder how long it will be before I get better.

I'm on anti-depressants at the moment, having had to change prescription 3 weeks ago as the first lot of medication didn't really work out ... have a strong feeling that that contributed to the slippery slope I found myself on when my friendship came to an end. It's why I'm keen to have a formal diagnosis as on top of the everyday worries that the current depression delivers I also worry that if I'm not be treated correctly I may find myself in the same predicament. I'm sure there are far too many people out there that can relate to that, and the frustrations with accessing the right kind of help from mental healthcare professionals!

You really do have a very good point about not repeating previous patterns of behaviour. Unfortunately I have to admit to having already done that after he'd asked me not to contact him ... at my lowest ebb (so far at least) I just wanted to die, not because of the friendship ending, that I felt in too much pain generally, and I wrote him a quick succession of emails to that effect ... I wasn't explicit but he's smart enough to read between the lines. I feel incredibly ashamed about that as I think if he hadn't felt hurt he definitely would be after that. One thing I really find hard to accept about being ill is the selfishness of it - not just the unreasonable demands I make on other people's time but that I can be so self-absorbed and express my feelings thinking only about myself, and not how those feelings may affect others.

I'm reluctant to consider making other friends at the moment, I feel as though I need to get to know myself all over again as right now I question everything I think and feel. I know that I used to be a very good friend to others and I hope I can find my way back to being that person.

I'm glad I've joined this forum ... wish I'd found it a few months back so I could have been expressing my thoughts here rather than placing such a burden of reponsibility on just one person.

And yes, I know I am doing a lot of negative thinking ... I'll read this back in a few hours and wonder why I was being so down on myself but I know that's just the depression and it'll lift with time and help.

Fortunately, apart from the really darkest times, my glass if always half-full ... I guess that's why I choose to remain optimistic that I can repair a friendship in time. :)

Thanks again!
 
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