After writing last week’s post about how others deal with my anxiety, it got me thinking about how I deal with others after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Most relationships will change and evolve as we age. However, I find that as someone with anxiety, these relationship changes can become accelerated because you really get to see someone’s “true colours” when you fall ill. You also get to fully understand how deep that relationship really is. Who are the people that come to visit you at the hospital? Who will be there no matter what? Who do you feel comfortable talking to about your mental illness?
I remember when I was really sick at the hospital, the thought of having to deal with people was the last thing on my mind. However, I knew I couldn’t just disappear off the face of the earth without any sort of explanation. So I dealt with it the best I could at that time. Now that I am feeling better, I can look back at it all and reflect on how that hospital stay was a catalyst for a slight shift in all my relationships. It added another dimension and layer to my understanding of that person and how I will interact with them in the future.
For example, my parent’s way of dealing with my anxiety was to feed me and take care of my necessities. They were not that interested in hearing about all my thoughts and feelings or the nitty-gritty details about my mental illness. At first, I felt a bit of resentment about that, but now I understand that is their way if dealing with it the best way they knew how. We can’t expect everyone to cater to our expectations of them because that would be unrealistic and unfair and take away what is unique about them. Every relationship in our life fulfills us, teaches us something, and helps us grow. I have learned to appreciate that over the years.