What To Do When Someone Walks Away

Losing a friend or partner, even temporarily like in the case of a disagreement, can be extremely hard on people living with social anxiety and other mental illnesses like depression and borderline personality disorder.

I am no expert in how to get people to stick around. Clearly, I am terrible at that. But I do consider myself a little bit of an expert in how to deal with the aftermath, because this situation just keeps happening to me over and over again, at least once or twice a year. And every time, I am emotionally destroyed, but every time I somehow get back up again. At first, it seemed to me like this was an accident and I only started to feel better because something good randomly happened to me. But at this point I think it’s safe to say that I am pretty resilient.

I’m sort of going through one of those situations right now, and it occurred to me that although I am basically a ball of constant anxiety and I’m a lot lonelier than I was before, I am actually doing kind of okay. Not great, but okay. I’m doing better at this, and I’m also doing better at actually resolving conflicts. So it prompted me to take a closer look at my habits to figure out what was working and what wasn’t, and I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD (Or Just Reflections On My Grandmother’s Funeral)

This year my grandmother died, and I was asked to do a reading at the funeral mass. As usual I tried to get out of it, but no luck. I’m not religious, but if it was going to help I figured I could just get through it.

When I got up to do the reading, I was already a little emotional from seeing other people crying. I started off all right but halfway through I couldn’t take it any more. I didn’t believe any of the words I was saying. Something about Jesus, and how he would destroy death and save everyone who was in pain. Not only do I not believe that, but I think it’s insulting to everyone else who DOES believe that for me to be the voice of those words. I lost it at “he will destroy death forever”, because that’s just a blatant lie, whether you’re religious or not, and it seems so wrong to tell grieving people something like that. And then it got even worse, as the reading proclaims, “the Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek.”

I’ve spent more days this year crying than NOT crying, and I can’t possibly convey how much I would like to believe that. But the thing is, no one is there to wipe away my tears. There’s nothing that anyone could ever say that will make me believe that. So I cried not just for my grandmother but for everyone and everything I have lost in the past year. There has been so much. People that I have loved with all my heart, and in one case more, have walked away from me like it was nothing. They’ve kicked me when I was already down, refused to help when I reached out. I’ve never been able to make anyone else understand that pain.