Mental Health

How to survive with your best friend in this crazy thing we call life

Life is full of ups and downs. And when you talk to your best friend everyday, they might tend to go in the same direction as you.

About a month ago, I had an overwhelming week. I was taken back to the point of my life, where I hated myself the most because I saw someone I haven’t seen since that time. I had a couple panic attacks worrying about the future. I was faced with some tough decisions. And I found out my best friend wasn’t going to make it to my graduation. Also, my best friend was going through things too.

This put our friendship to the test. We had a couple small arguments. At this point, we needed to make a change.

We needed to make a change because we didn’t like where this was heading.

Last summer, we had a huge fight and separated for two months because of the dependency we had on each other and some other underlying issues.

Fortunately, our friendship recovered. And we never want it to get that far again.

So when we had an tiny argument Wednesday night of that week, I called a semi break. Meaning we’d talk to each other about normal everyday things, positive things but we’d use other coping skills and outlets to deal with our problems instead of going to each other. I called it for a week or so…that lasted not even 24 hours.

Because things happen. Life happens.

I wasn’t going to go to her. But we were talking on the phone about birthday plans and all of the sudden, I started crying and she heard it – through my voice, through my sniffles, and through my silence. I did hesitate hard about telling her what was wrong because I wanted to stick with my plan. But she insisted.

I mean, what else was she supposed to do? Ignore me? Hang up on me?

After a few minutes of convincing me to let it out, I did.

But we talked about this and realized it was okay because I really had some shit that I’ve been holding back.

“We got this right?” I said. “This crazy thing we call life?”

“Yeah, for sure!”

But after that, I really went back to taking care of myself, until I really needed support again.

There can be days where one is depressed, unmotivated, and can’t take care of oneself at all and your friend can come to the rescue. But if it happens more days than not, it will get draining for your friend and might put a strain on the friendship.

You have to try to take care of yourself before you can expect another person to be able to help. They can’t do all of it for you. So here are some tips on how to survive with your best friend in this crazy thing we call life, especially when one or both of you struggle with anxiety, depression, or some other mental health issue, as well as self care tips.

Try and manage things on your own before going to your friend – Write it out, take your own advice, use other outlets/coping skills, positive self talk, distract yourself. As bad as it sounds, your friend will get tired and annoyed of taking care of every little thing that bugs you. It’s okay to ask for help, and it’s encouraged, but save going to them for when you’re really stuck.

Take your medication (if medication works for you) – This is an easy way to show you’re attempting to take care of yourself.  I stopped taking my antidepressants for awhile, became more depressed, relied on my friend to make me happy all the time, and dragged her down with me whenever we hung out. She encouraged me to go back on my medication and I did. I’ve been better and a much more fun person to be around ever since.

Do things without them – of course you’d rather experience new things, and do old things with your best friend, but doing things without him/her will help you create a life beyond him/her. Being with each other all the time will cause stress and strain eventually.

Do things for your body, mind and soul – workout, meditation, go for walks, play music, listen to music, deep breathing, write etc. This is another attempt to show you’re trying to take care of yourself and an opportunity for self-care.

Balance your needs – Don’t ALWAYS put your friend’s needs before yours. But also, don’t always put your needs before your friend’s. There might be days where one needs something more than the other. Find a balance.

Important traits – According to an article on Lifehack, “15 Traits Of A High-Quality Best Friend” are:

  1. They listen to you
  2. They always have your back
  3. They accept you at your worse
  4. They love you
  5. They can talk about personal things
  6. They know how to make you smile
  7. They give their honest opinion
  8. They stick by your side
  9. They help you, even when he or she doesn’t agree
  10. They encourage you
  11. They know your secrets
  12. They traverse time and space
  13. They are dependable
  14. They never judge you
  15. They celebrate your success

But also, it’s about the easy ability to have fun with each other no matter what and connecting with each other.

Be there for each other – At the end of the day, it’s just about simply being there for each other, but without completely depending on each other. Be honest. Set boundaries. Have fun. Talk. Laugh. Make plans. Spend time together. Be there to catch each other if one falls.

Stay strong <3

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Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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