I don’t know who needs to hear this, but your depression doesn’t make you a bad friend. Your anxiety doesn’t make you a bad friend. Your bipolar doesn’t make you a bad friend. Your OCD doesn’t make you a bad friend. Bottom line—your mental illness does NOT make you a bad friend.
It’s easy to look back and reflect on all the birthday brunches you skipped. All the bonfires you didn’t attend. All the nights at the bar you declined. All the things you skipped out on and feel shitty about yourself.
But you’re not a shitty person and you’re not a shitty friend. You carry a heavy load and sometimes staying sane means saying NO.
I’ve lost plenty of friends over the years because of my depression. Those friends didn’t understand that it’s not that I don’t want to celebrate them—it’s that I put an insane amount of energy into putting on a face during the whole work week to appear “normal”, that faking one more smile on the weekend seems literally impossible.
I’m exhausted, feeling beaten down, and by the way, each day I go ten rounds with the negative voices to keep them at bay.
So, saying “no” to protect your peace doesn’t make you a bad friend. It makes you human.
Don’t guilt yourself into thinking it’s your fault those friendships/relationships ended. The real ones won’t ever leave.