I had a breakthrough on Saturday afternoon. I was talking to a long time online friend and I got to talking about the past, and how I missed it. See, when I was 12 and first got on the internet I started collecting friends who were usually kids a couple of years younger than me. These friends usually had a lot of problems. Depression stemming for things like child abuse or neglect, suicidal thoughts, self harm, etc. My therapist and I had talked through all this and she had told me I basically became a mother to these friends, because I was the one there to listen, advise and comfort because they had no one else. As a child, I could never separate myself emotionally from their problems, so I would become depressed and terrified for their safety and it would add huge amounts of stress to my life. I still invest myself to emotionally in other people’s problems today, though I’m slowly getting better about it.
Well, this friend I was talking to is one of those friends I helped take care of then. I told her how hard it was lately, how I missed having her and the others to take care of. How I felt like I wasn’t a good friend anymore because everyone had grown up and didn’t need me like they used to. I felt guilty for feeling that way, because I am also so proud of all of them, because they went through so much and they are productive people today working on fixing their problems. I felt lost and broken without being able to be that person anymore. I, at some point, started to have a break down as I was telling her these things, which I really needed to do. I had been thinking about this stuff a lot over the last year, and every time I did I felt like crying but just couldn’t bring myself too. I didn’t really know why I wanted to cry until I started letting it out to her.
I sobbed, I hyperventalated, my head hurt by the time the tears stopped. But I feel better now. I feel like I can let it go and move on. It was something that weighed heavy on my heart and my self worth, and I don’t think I could have really gotten past it without being able to talk to one of the friends involved about it. I think I had to do that to really see that I was still seen as a good friend, even though I am no longer anyone’s emotional crutch.
Like the awesome friend she is, she talked me through stuff and comforted me. We talked about her struggles and how she is doing so much better now. She has worked through some of the same issues I’m currently working through and is healthier than I am today, which is quite the switch from 10+ years ago when we were kids.
Sometimes it’s very hard for me to separate my self-worth from what I do for other people. If I’m not helping or being useful to someone I don’t feel like I’m worth much. To be honest, it’s near impossible to feel like anything you are doing is worth much of anything when you have had periods in your life where you have actually kept people from killing themselves just because you are that person’s only friend. An 8-5 job just seems like a waste of time when someone out there, in the same situation, doesn’t have a friend to talk to.
I am slowly realizing that I can’t save everyone. That I have to stop being so codependent. That I can’t be that person all the time because it makes me unhealthy and unhappy. I have to learn to not base my self worth on the happiness of other people, because I will always be unhappy if I do that. It’s a hard lesson for me to learn, but it’s starting to sink in. I deserve to be happy and to take care of myself before others. There is nothing selfish about that, there is nothing wrong with it.
This was kind of a rambling post, but I needed to get it out there. Thanks for sticking around through it if you did 🙂