Pondering Friendship

A wonderful friend visited me in hospital today and we had a surprisingly philosophical discussion about the nature of friendship. 

As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of my illness stems from issues with relationships and ideas about the self – my worth, my purpose, my impact on others – and this creates a strange dynamic in all of my relationships but especially my friendships that perhaps aren’t really too apparent to most. From an early age, things in my life have meant that I view my worth to be less than nothing as well as my impact on the world and everyone in it to be immensely negative. It has always felt like my purpose has been just to help others, to minimise myself/my needs, to absorb the pain of others, to sacrifice myself for the good of everyone all while trying to take nothing in return, and once my ability to help and sacrifice runs out then it is the right thing to make the ultimate sacrifice and rid the world of me entirely. I feel that currently I cause nothing but distress, darkness and damage to those around me with nothing left to give and that as such it is time to make that final sacrifice for the good of us all. 

Astoundingly – to my head – those in my life couldn’t think more differently. They see something, they see a person, they see something of value. Even when told this by someone I trust implicitly, the monster in my head won’t let me believe it. 

What it did let me do is honestly interact with this friend – a rarity in itself – and have a particularly interesting conversation about what exactly friendship, relationships and love mean; and how our friendship might have come about and work. I think it left us both pondering things we didn’t expect, and neither of us not much the wiser, but it did remind me that my brain can still think about things academically, even when totally overwhelmed by emotion. 

And it reinforced – to the extent that the monster in my brain will allow – that maybe there is a me and that maybe that me has something other people might want in their lives even if I can’t give them something to almost pay for them putting up with me in their lives. It’s not sinking in or sticking, but maybe it will one day. 

My brain is particularly frazzled right now, so I imagine this post might make very little sense, but maybe this brain dump might help others who feel similar things realise they’re not alone in it…

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