I can't stop thinking about friendships I've lost

I think the hardest thing about being bipolar is losing friendships. I’ve lost friends typically from having episodes. One was quitting my job after constantly having meltdowns.I would have these panic attacks that paralyzed me and my mood changes would just make me a different person. I hated myself. I didn’t tell anyone I quit because I was so embarrassed…A couple friends who worked with me got mad because I didn’t say anything. They said I hurt them by just booking it. I apologized. After I quit, I took a good couple weeks off to get my head on straight. I now work out of my home for myself, which has helped me tremendously. I feel so much more stable. I don’t have as many ups and downs and I don’t panic so much…
But It’s been almost a year since I walked out. I feel guilty. I’m not sure these friends have completely forgiven me. I have been in touch with the one a couple times. The other, only once to apologize. I’m not proud of leaving them hanging at work, and I also still feel embarrassed. I feel pathetic for having a hard time with maintaining a job. Working for myself seems to be the only thing that I can do.

5 Likes

Hey Rose,

I think it’s great that you’ve found something that you are able to make work for yourself when it comes to employment as that can often provide some much needed consistency. On top of that, you’re able to take the time you need to better yourself and work towards mental wellness which is good on you. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to focusing on and taking care of yourself and I can understand feeling pathetic when not being able to maintain a job. Personally, I tend to evaluate it in terms of what else I’m doing in place of work and look at the situation as a whole. I was in a pretty bad job that tanked my mental health, made me struggle in school, and exhausted me with the disproportionate workload. After quitting, I frequently doubt my decision to do so but then I’m able to pull back and see how much better I’m doing now.

Work is often a stressful environment for many people and thus tensions can rise based off of that alone. At the end of the day you were working a job and needed to step back for your own reasons (be it health, stress management, managing the ups and downs of and episode, etc.). As such, there’s no need to feel guilty. Think of it in a different context, someone withdraws from work due to physical health issues without a word. Maybe they needed to remove the physical strain of their job or had to attend to several health appointments. In this context we wouldn’t expect much guilt to be seen from the person because sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Mental health is still health at the end of the day so you’re in a similar boat to the example I gave.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands that immediately. I’m proud of you for continuing to maintain and try to fix the relationship you have with them and sometimes all that’s needed is a bit of understanding between both parties. It might help to grant them access to the bigger picture here (but only as much of it as you’re comfortable sharing) so that they can better form their opinions on how to move forward. Don’t let your fear and embarrassment force you to shy away from them for good. You seem pretty in tune with how you’re feeling right now and why you’re feeling that way so you can use that knowledge to your advantage to hopefully better this situation.

2 Likes

Hello there, @Rosethorn :people_hugging:

I wanted to sort by thanking you for being so honest and open about your experiences . I admire your courage, simply because it takes so much strength to be open about personal struggles, in particular when it comes to bipolar disorder in your case.

Loosing friends is the worst. Especially when it appears that the motive is your mental health, something that inevitably you cannot help. Episodes do strain relationships, there’s no doubt about that, but having these episodes doesn’t diminish your worth as a person. Bipolar is a really complicated condition and it can impact areas of life such as work and relationships.

Making the difficult decision to quit a job is emotionally draining. However, there is no use in staying in a job that makes you feel rubbish. In this case, you say you are dealing with panic attacks and mood swings. You were struggling, and undoubtedly your mental health comes first before anything. The time you took was well needed and it enabled you to find stability. It’s pleasing t9 hear that working from home suits you better and has been a positive change for you.

Also, try not to worry too much about leaving your friends hanging. It’s plain to see that you were in a lot of emotional pain and you were just finding any way to get by day by day. Sometimes tough choices have to be made, which enables us to put our mental health front and centre. Yes, it’s okay for your friends to need space and time to process what happens, but ultimately, you took responsibility for what happened, and you felt bad about it.

Mental health makes it incredibly difficult to retain a job, so please don’t feel embarrassed about this. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You were able to find a way to work for yourself and feel more stable, which is a huge accomplishment in itself. You found something that works for you, not what others want, you found happiness and fulfillment for you.

Past experiences or your condition do not define you. You are someone who has faced adversity head on, and come out stronger because of that. Every journey has its ups and downs, but just look at where you are today! That’s a cause for celebration. Healing is by no means linear, meaning that setbacks will come.you will doubt yourself and there will be times where you feel like no progress is being made. However growth is unexpected, and it’s all about baby steps forward.

As you continue on your journey, remember to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. Whether it’s getting through a tough day without a panic attack or reaching out to a friend for support, each moment of courage and self-awareness is a step towards healing and self-discovery.

Keep shining your light, and sharing your story. You are amazing just the way you are :heart: