A really important factor that can aid in recovery from any mental illness is the presence of a support system that can help you with difficult situations and support you (hence the term).
When I was first diagnosed with an eating disorder my support system pretty much was my boyfriend. I hadn’t told anyone else, and didn’t want to tell anyone else about my ED because I was ashamed and scared about the judgements. When I finally told my mum (and when my sister found out) I was correct in my predictions of what would happen. They both became very controlling in making me eat and both became very emotional. They didn’t act in a supportive way in the way that I needed, and neither of them stopped and asked what it was that I needed or wanted.
Now, having being diagnosed and struggling with depression, dissociation, self harm and anxiety, I pretty much again, have no support system. I do confide in one of my friends, but she is also struggling with her mental health and I don’t feel it is fair to offload everything since it’s not something anyone can really deal with when they too are in pain. So I am left to my own devices (especially since my GP doesn’t really care either, thankyou the good old NHS).
I am part of my friend’s support system (or at least I would like to think so). She messages me when she is having a bad time, and I try and help her, in both saying the things that I would want to hear and trying to provide useful information that could be constructive. She has a lot more people than me in her support system. Her family and housemates are aware that she is struggling with her mental health, and her GP is very proactive in trying to find support from different services. I am so so glad for her, I really am because I know how much it really sucks to be left with no one to listen and to feel like no one cares. But I’m really struggling with feeling responsible for her wellbeing. If I’m having a bad day I feel like I have to pull on my disguise that I show to the world and give her what she needs. I feel like it would be wrong to say no and give myself the care that I need. It’s really wrong because I am just as needy and scared but I’m a tiny bit annoyed that she is leaning on me so much. She has such a support system, all these people that care for her, and worry and try their best to help and I have nothing and no one. And I’m struggling with the fact that I am cross when I feel like I shouldn’t be.
I suppose I need to learn to appreciate my feelings because they are valid. It’s just difficult when I know that I overshare and burden my friend with as much as she does me so I feel like a hypocrite. Hence my anonymous post into the ether I suppose.