Well, I tried once back in July and honestly, what came out when I sat down to write was so desperate and sad and raw that I couldn't bring myself to let the rest of the world see that much pain and vulnerability.
I have gone through the toughest year of my life. I shouldn't even use past tense here because really, I could say that I am still going through the toughest year of my life. Except that soon it will be more than a year.
I don't know how to sum up, for the curious or concerned reader, what all has gone on with me.
You could call it an identity crises. You could call it losing my way. You could call it "the emotional oblivion of my twenties catching up to me." Either way, what I have gone through and am going through stripped me of a lot of things that I cared about.
I wanted to share this for those of you who have a friend who might be going through something similar. I want to tell you, from my perspective, what a friend who is going through a really rough time might need from you.
You see, I've always been that friend who puts lot of effort into a relationship. I value my friends greatly. I make sure to call. To message. To let my friends know what they mean to me. That's how I roll and that's what my friends are used to when they think of me.
But this past year has brought me to a place where I simply just did.not.have.the.energy to invest in my girlfriend relationships. It bothered me. I didn't know how to handle it. I felt like a bad friend. I tried to keep up, but I cannot describe it any differently than that I was simply stripped of the energy needed to maintain friendships in the way that I have always thought they should be maintained and cared for.
I can see good in it. I think throughout my life I have relied too much on my friends, going to them instead of to my own spirit or to God. Seeking out answers from my friends when those answers were actually somewhere deep inside of me. I just needed to dig for them and trust that I knew the way.
I know I hurt some friends in this process. I know there were some that did not understand why I had changed so much. Heck, I didn't understand it, so how could I explain it to them. Others had been in my shoes at one time or another in life and understood that this is a season and I'll eventually come through it. Not unchanged, necessarily, but maybe finding a balance in my relationships that is somewhere nearer to healthy.
The following is what I want to say to you, if you currently or some day in the future find yourself in this kind of a situation with a friend. I am speaking from my own experience and I recognize that everyone is different, so be sensitive to that, but this is what I wanted from my friends in this past year.
*Don't give up on me. I'm still me and I'll come through this eventually.
*Don't take my lack of engagement personally!! It is not meant that way at all and I just feel guilty if you take it that way.
*Give me space to not talk about things if I don't want to. Let me sit with my pain but let me know that you are there for me if/when I do want to talk.
*Send me a message to say you miss me. Write me a card. Even if I seem wooden in my responses to that, it means the world to me.
*Pray for me. Lots.
*Be secure enough in our friendship that you will be able to trust that it will return to something resembling normal one day. Continue to engage with me as you can. But know also that I will understand if my lack of engagement changes the dynamics of our relationship a bit.
*Don't be afraid of my struggles when I do want to talk. Don't let the depths of my struggle and the craziness that is going on in my head make you run away. I need you!
*Allow me to grow and change, just as I hope I allow you to grow and change. Try to understand, if you can. Your acceptance of my issues is a balm to my soul.
*Love me unconditionally. You loving me even when I have nothing to give means the world to me. But do it in a way that feels authentic to you.
I know this may sound self-centered, but I don't mean it that way. This is just some advice from a girl whose been there and wants to help others who may have a friend in this kind of need.
Who knows? Maybe she'll come through all of the difficulties and be a person who knows how to love more fully. Maybe she'll be a better friend in the end. Maybe she'll be there for you when the tables are turned.
And maybe not. But you'll know that you loved her well through it all.
PS -- I could list names and specifics of things that friends have said and done and how they have been there for me in this season of my life. I am so grateful for that!! Whether giving a listening ear and just walking with me through all of this, sending me a card or a message, just plain showing grace and understanding, it all matters and I will not forget your loyalty and love!