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Struggling to maintain friendships/relationships



New member
Feb 1, 2019

I've been living with mental illness since I was fourteen (ED, anxiety, depression) and also I am autistic. One of the things I struggling with the most is maintaining friendships or relationships through bad periods and it's currently causing me so much stress that it's a major factor in low mood and anxiety. I've recently had a couple of friends be irritated with me a bit because they think I talk about it too much or they can't deal with it. Personally I don't think I talk about it too much, it comes up semi-frequently because it is part of my life and I can't pretend otherwise.

The incident that bothered them is that when we were on a short holiday together I got upset briefly (once) because I'd had a particularly bad time over christmas. A few other times I was a bit quiet but that is normal for me as being autistic means I can find socialising hard (I enjoy it, but it drains me, sometimes I need to be quiet in social settings in order to not overwhelm myself). I also mentioned how I felt I was managing better with my ED, so it was about mental health but positive.

I appreciate that people don't always know how to react when I mention things and for that reason I'm generally very private with my emotions. I don't hide my experiences but I rarely actually get upset in front of other people, most people in my life haven't full-on experienced me having breakdown and those who have only a few times.

This has happened to me before. I've had breakups as a result of my mental health problems and lost a lot of friends over time. I understand that no one has to tolerate me if they don't want to or it stresses them out but I find it hard to cope with this sort of rejection. It's almost impossible for me to have close friends or partners without them seeing things first hand sometimes. A lot of them tell me they can handle it but in the long-run can't. In romantic relationships I have no idea how to deal with it - I'm either too private and they don't like it, or too openly emotional and they get stressed out.

How do I solve this? It feels like I'm constantly being rejected by people I care about and trusted. I'm currently single and I'm terrified of dating people because of past experiences. No one has been exceptionally cruel and I'm grateful for that but it feels awful to be 'too mentally ill'. It feels awful thinking I'm too much to handle when I personally think I try very hard to contain myself and not overwhelm others.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Active member
Jan 29, 2018
First of all, you sound very articulate, level headed and smart:)

From my experience other people are going through their own growth, anxieties and life situations causing them to close off. I would not take it personally.

You will meet people who jive on your frequency so don’t feel down about it. It’s all trial and error like anything in life.

Partners come and go and we learn something new from each relationship. It took a few partners before I found the right one for me and me for him.

I would suggest working on loving you for you. Even beginning that self love puzzle, you will find you are better able to cope with most situations and even help those who once felt like you did 🌸