"Have people left you?"

A major question people ask is have people left me as a result of my mental health issues. The answer, rather sadly, is yes.

I'm going to say right here and now that I do not blame a lot of the people who have walked away from me. This is mostly because they didn't walk away - they were pushed away.

A habit I've developed over the years is trying to protect people I care about, even if it means pushing them away so even I can't hurt them. I've lost a lot of people this way, and there's not a day goes by when I don't miss them.

The truth is, when you're so close to someone, it hurts them to see you hurt. So when I'm hiding away in bed, unable to listen to reason because I have depression whispering in my ear, it destroys them. When I come around from that bout of depression, they're relieved, and they tell me how much it hurts them to see me like that. Then the guilt sets in. Later, anxiety kicks me in the stomach, leaving me breathless. Just as I start catching my breath, I start shouting at the people I love.

It's at this point that things are most painful for all parties. I don't realise what I'm doing, and all the other person is hearing are insults and hatred. Eventually it gets too much, and they walk away. I can't hurt them anymore.

So yes, people have left me, and yes, it hurts beyond belief. I'm working on being more aware of what I'm saying to people when I'm recovering from a bout of depression or anxiety, because my losses are my own creation.

As a side note, if anyone I've pushed away happens to be reading this...I'm sorry, I hope you're doing okay, and I'm here if ever you want to talk. M x