When Do You Walk Away?

So a running theme in my life lately has been when to walk away from someone and focus on yourself. It is tough to tell someone you need some space to figure yourself out, especially when they are going through things of their own and you want to be a good friend. When does a person get to the point where you can decide to walk away? When is enough actually enough. How many times can you listen to someone ask the same question, with the same answer before you just stop letting them ask the question?

This is a tough choice, just as tough as when you decide to end a romantic relationship. However, we seem to have an easier time ending the romance. At least I do. For me it is easier to walk away from a difficult romantic relationship then it is to walk away from a friendship. In both cases when one chooses to leave this relationship, it is because something about it is toxic. You fight all the time, the other person uses you, you lose self-esteem from it, and any number of other things which are not good for sanity.

Now I advocate sticking around for people with mental health issues, so this is not about dumping someone from your life forever, but instead when to pull back a bit, so they have a chance to depend on more than just you. I am as guilty as some of the people I have decided to distance from, about being extremely dependent on my friends for all kinds of support. I also apologize when I realize I am doing this. Luckily I have friends who are honest enough with me to tell me when to shut up and leave them alone for a bit. However, I have some people in my life who I would help no matter what, yet make me feel like even more of a nut job than I already am.

This last type of person is the one who I really want to understand how to walk away from. I can honestly say that I am unsure in this area of how to do this. I had a conversation with a long-time friend recently, where we agreed that I shouldn’t read her facebook anymore because it was stressing me out. I can’t explain why it caused me so much stress, but she did understand and thought it a good idea for me to take a step back. This is a rare occurrence though, this is an oddity among the, at times, too much to handle friends.

How many times can you go pick someone up in the middle of the night, before you say you need sleep more? I am always willing to go out of my way to help a friend when I can, however, I have also been learning, that sometimes I need to take care of myself first. Well in fact I need to take care of myself first all the time, if I don’t help myself I can’t expect to be able to adequately help another. It is hard to say “no” to a friend in need. However, sometimes you just can’t spare the $10, or the two days to help. When this happens I feel guilty for not being able to help. I’m not sure why I feel like I should always help, but I know that I do.

I suppose the most frustrating aspect of these types of friendships is they tend to be one sided. One person needs something and the other gives it without question. This often leads to resentment of one of the friends, even if the other one is well meaning, it doesn’t always balance. So I think I have started to discover my answer—focus on the balance. If the relationship is give and take in both ways, with mutual respect, then it is healthy. If it isn’t, then I suppose that is when a person can take the time to distance themselves and reevaluate the relationship, whether it is romantic or just friendship.

Embrace the crazy, but search for the balance. Find that balance and the crazy and everything else will fall into its proper place. So will the friendships and everything else we look for to fulfill our lives.

But then there was this time, when my friend actually got stuck in a chimney… that’s when I knew it was time to distance myself. (We did get her out of the chimney first, of course. Don’t worry, her foot healed just fine, but I’m not sure about the rest.)


Just a Cry for Help?

One of the most irritating things which is said about suicide attempts is when it is called Just a cry for help. Then, someone decides to no longer associate with the person who they say is just crying for help. If suicide and peoples attempts at it are cries for help, shouldn’t we try to help that person and not cut them out of our lives? The main problem with this phrase is the word ‘just.’ It makes whatever caused a person to feel the need to kill themselves seem inconsequential. It takes the sense of social responsibility away from the situation. It gives people an excuse to walk away, because they don’t understand what they are saying.

If suicide is a cry for help, then I think it is our obligation as friends and parents, siblings and spouses to offer help. We should be making room for a person to know they are loved, and have a place to turn that isn’t dark. Take the ‘Just’ out of the equation and we have a person who is saying they need someone to understand that they are in a bad place, and it’s one they don’t see a way out of.

I know this feeling. I have walked this path. Depression is a serious issue, and everyone deals with it in their own way. However, when you get to the point of thinking that you cannot live anymore, it is a terrifying state to live in. You become consumed with the thought that nobody understands. Even when you reach out, you don’t hear comfort in the words of others, instead you feel more misunderstood. At least this has been my experience. I’m sure this is not true for everyone.

It is not easy to be around a person who feels like this. Often the depression makes it hard for friends and family to be around the person, because they don’t understand, won’t listen, or feel as if they can’t help and they give up. This is when the suicidal person becomes so isolated and alone with only their own thoughts, that it really does seem as if the only way to make the bad feelings go away is to just commit the act. No matter how selfish people view this act, the problem is that when someone is feeling that low, they honestly feel as if the world would be a better place without them.

So, if an attempted suicide is a cry for help, and often it is, it is never ‘just’ a cry for help. It is an impassioned plea for someone to notice their pain. It is the person’s way of screaming to everyone they know all at once to say “there is something wrong with me and I don’t know how to fix it, can someone please show me the way?”

So, now I say to embrace the crazy, and I mean in this sense to give them a hug. Show your support, your understanding. Be the person with compassion. You do not have to understand the sadness or the feeling of hopelessness in order to just be there for the person. Remember, actions speak louder than words, and often we think that just by saying the person can come to us doesn’t make them understand they can. Be present. Be there when you can. You don’t have to hold their hand every second of every day, but sometimes all someone needs is for you to reach out, hold their hand, and let them feel for a moment that it won’t always hurt. Things can get better. But this will only happen if we stop ignoring the plea.

We should remove the word ‘just’ from our vocabulary, at least in regards to mental health. It isn’t just depression, it isn’t just anxiety, it isn’t just addiction, it isn’t just anything. And suicide is for sure not Just a cry for help.

Guys in Their 30s are Weird

So recently I have attempted, at a very slow rate, to try dating again. I decided to try one of these online dating sites, which work as apps on your phone. My previous experiences in online dating had not gone well, but out of boredom I decided to give it another shot. I discovered, that while this approach to dating might work for some people, I should probably stick to the bar scene. At least with meeting people in a bar they are upfront about their intentions.

I met several interesting people in the past few months playing around online dating, but the major problem is that each one of them says that they are interested in getting to know you before you meet, or that they are willing to wait for a sexual relationship, and in reality they seem to use these sites as places to find one night stands or sex buddies. Now I know that this will not come as a shock to most people, but it is darn right annoying, especially when you are really just looking for friends who may or may not turn into something else.

So a person reads your profile, and then messages you, and based off your pictures and profile they decide if they want to begin a conversation. This isn’t much different than going to a bar or a club. We all gravitate towards people whom we find physically attractive. The problem with the online dating side is that in a bar, you almost expect someone to try to get lucky the first time they meet you. Online, you generally talk to someone for a bit before you meet, and at least for me, I don’t know if I am truly interested in someone until I meet them in person.

A text, email, or online message doesn’t convey the intentions of each party as well as a face to face conversation. We as a society are already losing the ability to properly communicate, so online dating I think makes this issue more difficult. You say one thing and they don’t understand it is a joke, or they think it is a joke when it isn’t.

The worst is if you bring up the issue of not wanting to jump into bed with someone and you say this repeatedly, somehow this keeps being translated into “Please, pressure me into doing something I really don’t want to do.”

Now I understand guys pretty well, many of my oldest friends are male, but none of them seem to understand this new online dating obsession with sex from the starting line. This is more difficult for a girl like me who has PTSD issues surrounding sex and intimacy. This is from a long year of having jobs which put me into situations which caused fear and trauma in regards to sex. Also, I have dated many guys in the past who thought the entire relationship should be sexual and then everything else comes after.

Now I have told the last two guys I went on dates with that 1. I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, I have to get my job situation and my life straightened out before I can seriously focus on that, and 2. That I am not ready for a sexual relationship at this point in my life. Now I don’t think that it takes a rocket scientist to understand these two things. However, the modern American male in their thirties, can’t seem to grasp this concept. I don’t mean to say that every male is this way, but it seems like the ones attracted to me are.

Pushing sex, kissing, or physical anything on a person who is terrified of intimacy for whatever reason, tends to make a person pull further away. For me I become distrustful of the new person, I pull away physically and emotionally, and tend to go a bit crazy. I get angry with them and use all the little red flags I find in their conversations against them. I know this isn’t fair, but neither is having someone fault you for not wanting to jump into bed with them the moment you meet.

Call me crazy, everyone else does, but is this what we want our future to be? Do we really want to perpetuate the idea that it is okay to force yourself on someone because they worked in a certain job, or are of a certain age. Just because I am a single mother, doesn’t mean I put out for any and all men who cross my path. I don’t like to be a sexual object, I like to be treated as a person, with a brain, who knows what they want. People should have more respect for the person who wants to wait, but it seems these days everyone is just on a mission to get laid.

I am all about embracing the crazy, but these situations have pushed me more into a fear of sex and intimacy. I am distrustful of new men, and I think that is sad. I shouldn’t have to think that all a male wants from me is my body. However, after the last year of my life (with the exception of a couple awesome guys I have made friends with) it seems that the guys I meet are in it for only one thing, and that is not my conversation.