How do you define a friendship? Do they have to know you in real life? Do you need a regular frequency of communication, and also go out and do things with them? The past few days have really TESTED me on what I define as a “friend.” My therapist, my doctors, and my family have all advised me that in order to live a happy, healthy and productive life, I need real-life-in-person friendships. I have been warned that online interactions are not real, and even though you may enjoy a real “connection,” it is all experienced in a virtual world, and therefore not reality.
I nodded and listened for YEARS to this kind of talk, but always had a hard time making real life friends, not because I am too shy or stand-offish, but because people these days have this nagging little habit of “ghosting” the friends they make, way, way too easily. I thought this was a time where that type of behavior was only reserved for people who you “online dated.” There are also a host of other reasons, but you get the idea.
Anyway, my recent #EpicFail at listening to this advice to “go out into the world and make real-life friends”, completely backfired on me, and actually sent me spiraling through twists and turns of spinning mania, and devastating depression. My mom had even asked me today, “Why are you so devastated because you walked away from these two friends? What are you going to do when your father and I die?” A Hundred Brownie Points for Mom! I absolutely see her point, because in the face of REAL grief and loss I may totally fall apart. The worst case scenario for this would be to not survive at all, because I played too dangerously at the game of Russian Roulette. I shrugged her words off though, and continued on in my own little tormented world. Till this happened.
*The Following is a Message I sent to my Dearest Love, The Captain, Explaining in the Best Way to Articulate the Eye-Opening Experience I had Today*
I have been awake for 36 hours, almost in a haze. This may be hard to hear, but I felt myself float out of my body today. I had become so broken, and I had suffered so much, that my mind spun in such tight, rhythmic circles of lightening speed, and I ended up collapsing. In that moment, that instant, came complete clarity and peace for my troubled mind and tortured soul. Everything aligned and fell into place. The universe made total sense, and I saw beyond what is known as this reality.
I reached far out, deep into the blinding twisting light of time and space, when I heard the faint screams of my mother calling out for my dad to call 911. In that moment, I grabbed her hand as she was sobbing by my side, and said “don’t call, I am okay, I am okay,” My dad came running into the kitchen where I was and asked me if I wanted him to call an ambulance. I simply smiled and said, “Do you want them to drug me up again and put me so far away from this feeling I have right now, and this clarity that I finally feel in my mind?’
He then asked if I tried to commit suicide. I started laughing, (like seriously laughing), and said “That decision was made for me because of the damage I caused myself, the hurt I inflicted upon my body, the neglect of sleep and food I denied myself, the obsession of my manic mind, and I was simply taught a lesson. No, I didn’t try to kill myself, but someone tried to take my life, and entrusted me enough to send me back in time for you to stop that ambulance from coming.” My parents just sat on floor with me, as I regained feeling in all my limbs, muscles and body. My mom went and got a fruit smoothie with honey and coconut oil she had made, lifted my head from the floor, and had me drink slowly from her Cup of Life. It was filled with nutrients, and I began to regain my strength so I could return to my room. I started to close my door, and as I tried to bolt the lock, my Dad outstretched his hand, stopping me from locking it. I took his hand, looked into his pained face, and simply said “Trust me, you will see me in the morning.”
So here I sit, amiss all these thoughts of what I experienced. I have no explanation of why I completely swung on the pendulum the way I did; from level to low, to level last night, and into the morning and afternoon falling and crashing into crippling depression, anguish and fear. Medication isn’t the answer for this, but I will take them soon and rest my mind. It needs rest after the journey it had traveled today.
Your family’s prayers were heard and answered; believe me they were. I was given back the trust that I had carelessly squandered, in my epic self-mutilation of my eternal soul. The situations with my friends were the catalyst, but they weren’t the reason for this battle I fought today. SOMETHING reached me today, pulled me into a frenzy of mania, depression, psychosis, and a complete breakdown of the woman who loves you with all her heart. I will tell you this though. The time is now to put myself on a strict sleep regimen. The time is now to go to therapy tomorrow, and completely chastise my therapist for badgering me all these years to make real-life connections in the world. Yes, I may have thought that the bonding and sisterhood is what I needed, I really still think it is, but I need it with people who are independent and healthy, not toxic. Maybe Religious People of Faith and People of Science, who are excited about the universal questions of life. The time is now to get up Wednesday morning, get showered and dressed and drive to the new house and help my dad, without him even asking me to come help. I am simply just going to show up. The time is now for me to go to bed at a reasonable time Wednesday night, get up early Thursday morning and take my mom to the appointment I fought like a warrior to get for her.
This is a day to remember. This is the first time in my entire life that I had crossed over the threshold of complete and utter psychosis, touched the universe in its purest form and way beyond it, left my body and came back to the Earth grounded, focused, coherent and NOT left at the mercy of mental health professionals and doctors at a psychiatric facility. I salute you my Captain. I fought the war as a soldier, on my own, and came back to a place of harmony and peace. Thank your family for me, your amazing daughters, and thank your mom especially. Be sure to tell her that the thank you letter for her doantion in my name from James McDonald, Head of the Ministry of “Walk in the Word,” was in my hand when I collapsed. That’s what I was doing in the kitchen at that moment; going through and reading all the mail I received for the day. I love you baby so much, as well as your unbeleivably kind family. God bless you, from the bottom of my heart, forever and always.
Putting aside that incredible spiritual experience, (which I can obviously go into and speculate further), I am going to focus on the root of what made it come on. This experience has taught me that even though I may still crave real-life friendships, the people online who I have met over the years; the people on PsychCentral the people from my Star Trek group, the people HERE who share my story with me on my blog (and on their blog), the amazing bipolar friend I know from the UK who FINALLY contacted me after 3 months, the countless people who I keep in contact with via email, everyone I reconnected with on Facebook – ALL these people are REAL in every way, shape and form. If they are Catfish, lying about any miniscule detail, it doesn’t even matter because they reach me and enrich my life a helluva of a lot more than these two friends could have ever done for me.
These friends had serious boundary issues with their partners.
An amazing fellow blogger, (and awesome digital friend), UnEven Jen, wrote:
I know you’re very sad and mad about both situations with both friends, but I hope you find comfort in knowing that you did the best thing by removing yourself from the drama. In the long run, the drama itself would have caused bad times and misery. It would be so much more awful if you got really close to these friends and months down the road, their weird and freaky significant others got weird and freaky on you. You would have spent months reestablishing relationships that crapped out in the end. I’m sorry you’ve been treated badly. If we lived near each other, we would definitely hang out.
So my friends, I had an UNREAL day today. I learned some major life lessons, and now have a REAL definition of what a “friend” means to me.
“A friend is someone who you can confide in and trust. You don’t need to see, smell, touch or even hear them. All you need is their support, love, wisdom and commitment to stick it out with you through thick and thin. Face to Face, frequent, interactions doesn’t make a person your friend, what you take away from an interaction, ANY interaction (including online ones), should be the judge of that.”