It's Not Giving Up, It's Stepping Back

It's Not Giving Up, It's Stepping Back

What to realize when someone "leaves you" due to your mental illness.

We've all seen that picture that circulates the internet with a few words written on a photograph that reads, "Please don't leave," or "Please don't leave me." I've heard many people relay those same words to me as they beg me not to 'leave them behind' due to their mental illness. I wish they would realize that I'm not leaving them behind; I'm simply taking a breather. When someone 'leaves' you for reasons surrounding your mental illness, understand that they're not giving up on you; they're simply taking a step back.

Mental illness can be a very powerful and draining thing. Enduring it alone is difficult and many people believe they cannot survive without the support of others. This is true in some cases. The problem is that there will almost always be someone who 'leaves' due to the circumstances surrounding your mental illness, and you can't give up just because that person is no longer around.

I don't really like to use the word 'leave' or 'leaves' because I think that usually correlates with someone disappearing. Generally, you leave a place, not a person. You are not an object. You are not an island and your mental illness isn't shark infested waters. A better word for your situation is likely 'step back' or 'give in'. Giving up and leaving are generally not what a person does when they can no longer bear the weight of your mental illness.

Your demons are dark, no matter what kind they are and no matter where they originate from. They are dark and heavy on your soul. They try to eat you alive. That's what creates depression, anxiety, and other types of mental illness. When a friend or family member that was once close to you decides to remove themselves from your life due to a circumstance surrounding your mental illness, it is not your fault. Let me repeat that: it is not your responsibility to keep someone from taking a step back.

Friendship is fluid. Family can even be fluid, though many don't think so. Demons are scary and powerful. They will try to drag anyone and everything down with them into the pits of darkness. They are incredibly toxic. When someone close to you forfeits their relationship with you, it's because they're trying to get as far away from those evil demons as they can.

Many of us shoulder our own demons, and if someone takes a step back from their relationship with you, it's likely due to the fact that they cannot handle both your demons and their own.

It feels personal, but I promise, in a real friendship or a real, genuine relationship, it isn't. Friends are not generally equipped to handle those types of things. They aren't registered therapists or psychiatrists, and no matter how many times they lend you an ear, they simply aren't trained to help you in the way you require.

Understand that those who can no longer face your demons are not giving up, they're taking a step back. In the bargain that is their mental health and your relationship, they will and should put their mental health first. Just as you aren't to blame for your mental illness, you're not to blame for your friends departing.

As long as you have not hurt those friends or family members on purpose, or manipulated them in any way to get what you wanted, you are not the problem. If you genuinely did not hurt someone and they step back, it is not personal. Know that, however, if there was manipulation and ill-feelings involved, that your relationship may not return, and sometimes that's for the better. It is not someone else's job to fix you. It is their job to hold your hand while you fix yourself.

Think of your relationships as one of those bridges that lifts up its ends to allow the ships to pass through. The ships represent time. You and that person are just lifting up your sides of the bridge. It doesn't matter if you don't want to, the bridges cannot pass through if you do not lift your side up. Many ships will pass through. Sometimes, even after the ships have passed, your friend may not wish to put their side of the bridge back down. That's okay, too. Sometimes it's not meant to be.

After realizing the reason for your relationship's hiatus, you have to remember that you are not alone, no matter how lonely you feel. Everyone has to put their mental health first, but that doesn't mean that yours no longer matters. Your mental health and mental illness are just as important as anyone else's. Know that you cannot give up just because someone you care about took a step back. You have to take a stand up for yourself and fight tooth and nail for your life. If life was meant to be easy, we'd all live forever.

You have to learn to be your own anchor. You have to prop yourself up and fight against all the negativity coming at you. Be your own ray of sunshine, and perhaps you'll be a ray of sunshine for others too. You are meant to be here. You have a purpose even if you haven't realized it just yet. If you weren't meant to be on this Earth, the Universe would have picked you off long ago.

You are meant to be here to change the world, even if it's someone's world. Realizing that will help you in your process of healing. Know that even if someone important to you does depart, that they may return. If they don't, however, know that you'll be just fine because you can stand on your own two feet. You are strong. You will always be strong. Continue to be strong, if not for anyone but yourself. No one can drag you down but you, remember that. You are your own anchor.

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Henry

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Why Self-Care Has Made Me A Happier Person

I decided to focus on myself, and it’s been great.

At the beginning of last semester, I was a wreck. I took up too many things, was overly stressed and I felt like I had no free time for my friends or myself. Towards the end of the semester, I was even worse. Finals stacked their weight on my shoulders, and I felt like I was trapped in a constant loop of work and nothing else.

At the beginning of 2018, I reached my breaking point. I felt like nothing was going right for me, and I could no longer handle the stress. I mentally could no longer keep going. I would shut myself off from my friends and the people that cared about me, deleting all my social media apps and never replying to people.

I had a huge breakdown, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

During that mental break, I realized that doing all the things that I was doing was not worth the mental strain.

After what happened, I decided to begin to put myself first. All last semester, and the beginning of this semester, I focused on other people’s needs and happiness, and never my own. I was hiding behind the lie that if I made other people happy, maybe I would be happy too.

I decided to focus on myself, and it’s been great. I dropped half of the things that were on my plate, and I finally feel like I can breathe again. I finally feel that I have time for myself, time to sit down and read or write if I really wanted to.

I know it may sound like a small thing, but I’m making sure I take a shower and wash my face everyday, a step that I never had time for last semester.

I’ve been pushing myself to go to the gym more and more frequently, in order to feel physically and mentally better.

I have begun to spend more time on my dancing, something that has been a part of my life since I can remember, and one of my few passions. It truly makes me happy, and I’m glad I can put more time towards it.

My experience with mental health has never been a great one. I have always felt like I needed to put others over myself. I am glad to say now that I can finally focus on myself, and become a happier person because of it.

If you’re struggling with things like stress, I suggest that you take a step back from your busy life and take a look at the person in the mirror. That person’s mental health is not worth sacrificing for some club or some frat or sorority. You deserve to be happy. Please take time to rest, and relax. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

Cover Image Credit: Columbia Business Times

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9 Self-Care Tips For College Students

Put Yourself First!

As college students, we struggle with finding time for school, work, activities, and ourselves. We become too busy that we forget about ourselves in the process. Therefore self-care should be important to college students, we need to put our needs first. I personally struggle with self-care. I put always school first, even if that means staying up late or making up for work a group member couldn’t complete. But I have learned that self-care is important and that a time throughout the day should be scheduled to care for yourself. Here are some self-care tips:

1. Catch some Z’s

Sleep should be very important to college students. Sleeping allows our bodies to fully recharge and get ready for another day. So try your best to get at least 7 hours a day of sleep, you’ll wake up feeling better. Don’t forget to take naps, whenever they are needed.

2. Work Out

Working out makes our bodies feel better, more energized, and it reduces stress. It clears your mind and keeps you on your feet so you can think better throughout the day. I struggle to keep up with this self-care tip. But when I do get the chance, running helps me ease my mind and it motivates me to take care of myself more. I suggest you give it a try.

3. Get Lost in A Book

Personally, when I practice self-care I tend to reach out for a book. Reading a book that is not related to any school assignments, helps clear my mind and escape reality for a while. You can try reading before going to be, but if you are like me that gets carried away. Then I suggest reading on the way home or when you have a small break.

4. Laugh

For us to me emotionally well, we must have a good sense of humor. Laughter strengthens your immune system, increases energy, diminishes pain, and protects you from stressing. Shout out to my friends for making me laugh daily even in the most embarrassing situations.

5. Go for A Walk

Whenever you feel overwhelmed with school work, I suggest to get up and go get some fresh air. It will help sort out your thoughts and make you feel less stress. Enjoy the scenery while you’re at it!

6. Drink More Water

Water improves your skin, keeps you energized, and makes you more alert. Plus who doesn’t want to have clear and glowing skin? Remember our bodies need at least 8 cups of water per day.

7. Do Something Creative

Start journaling, get a coloring book, or paint a picture. Doing something creative releases stress, makes you feel less anxious, and happier. I knew I need to do something more creative to help me release stress, so I decided to take a photography class with my best friend and so far, it’s going great. So, give it a try!

8. Clean Your Room

You’re probably thinking, how is cleaning my room going to help my self-care? Personally, if my room is a mess then I am a mess too. I don’t feel energized or relaxed to do anything upon seeing my room a mess. I already know that if I don’t clean up, then I won’t have a productive day. Trust me there have been many of those. So, take some time to tidy your room and admire your clean space.

9. Keep Positive People in Your Life

Friends are the most important people in your life. If a friend brings positivity to your life, then that friendship is a solid bond. You should keep these people in your life, someone who will bring you up and no pull you down.

Many students based their daily routine around their academic schedule and workload. If you want to change that, make a list of all the things you do and enjoy that aren’t related to school. School is important, but others things in your life are important too. Remember you are a valuable person!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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