Whenever I find out that someone suffer from the same kind of mental illnesses that I do (anxiety, depression, ADHD), I automatically become inclined to talk to them more because I know how difficult it is to feel all alone and helpless. I would almost reflexively tell them that I’m there for them to talk if they ever need to. I do it, not only because of my protective nature, but also because I know that not many people care to talk to someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety or ADHD.
I have found few people to talk to other than S (which is why I spend so much time in his office and have been spending so much time in his office lately) so I want to offer that crying shoulder, and the comforting ear.
That said, I sometimes think that maybe I’m overexerting myself because depending on who I’m talking to, sometimes I end up feeling more distress myself because I’ve taken on the person’s burden on top of my own already-very-heavy one. I can’t seem to help it though – I always just would rather hurt myself than let others hurt.
Case in point, I have a friend who would message me whenever they’re down and despite all the encouragement, one doesn’t simply get out of being depressed – a fact that I know full well. Lately, I’ve been feeling stretched thin by my own struggles with the issues of abandonment, grief, confusion over trying to reconcile my faith with my identity, and overwhelming stress from school. So, every time I hear from my friend, I feel irritated.
I feel bad about it of course because I feel that this was my own doing – after all, I was the one who offered to be the empathetic friend who will always be there to listen and to help. Yet, I can’t help the exhaustion I feel. I don’t know if I am allowed to feel that irritation or not. In some cases in my life, my anger is justified and deserved, even. In some other cases, it’s not so clear – this being one of it.
I want to be supportive, helpful, and a comfort for all who need it from me. But I’m also exhausted. What do I do?