How My Best Friend Impacts My Mental Health
Article by Jessica Hendriks
posted on August 4, 2017
This coming Sunday is National Friendship Day.
In 1935, U.S. Congress proclaimed the first Sunday of August as the National Friendship Day. Ever since, friendship has become an annual celebration.
The official website, friendshipday.org, says “Friendship Day is a revered occasion for friends all over the world. It is a day when people express love and heartfelt feelings for their best friends and buddies and promise to stand by them at all times in all circumstances.”
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “Friendship can play a key role in helping someone live with or recover from a mental health problem and overcome the isolation that often comes with it.”
I have had best friends come and go all my life. My old friends will always have a place in my heart, but we either drifted apart or they became too toxic.
My current best friend is the one that I hope stays for the long run. She is fun to be around but most importantly, she’s good for my mental health.
So, to honour National Friendship Day, I decided to put together a list of ways my best friend helps with my mental health.
Many people with mental illnesses isolate themselves or push people away because they are afraid of being a burden, being hurt by them or another reason. My hope is that someone will read this and begin to open up to the idea of being close to someone. Friends are truly a necessary part of a happy and healthy life.
My best friend helps keep me strong.
I struggle with anxiety and mild depression. Most days are good and I am able to manage it, but some days are bad and I struggle to handle what life throws at me. It is those dark days when my best friend helps me stay on track, makes sure I don’t fall too deep into my depression and keeps me safe.
She is encouraging.
She is there to encourage me on my bad days, and there celebrating with me on my good days. She’s my number 1 supporter. She is always encouraging me to keep going and to try new things. It really helps me push myself to where I want to be.
She makes me laugh.
She always knows how to make me laugh, even when I don’t feel like laughing.
She spends time with me, especially when I need it the most. I never have to feel alone.
Feeling alone is one of the worst feelings for someone who is struggling. Even if she’s too busy to physically see me, she finds the time to video chat or have long text conversations with me. I know that I am never alone and that someone is always there for me. It makes life easier, and my mental illnesses less debilitating, when I have someone by my side.
She makes my life more fulfilling.
I have a lot of things in my life that makes my life worth living. But my best friend is always the person I can count on to make me smile. Her love for me, and my love for her, is one of those things that will never get old. She and I are always finding new adventures to go on, which makes life more exciting as well. It gives me a sense of belonging and purpose.
My best friend has a way of making everything okay…
even when things suck. Life sucks sometimes. Whether it’s an depressive episode or some external source causing me pain or distress, she has a way of making me feel okay. Everything sucks a little less when she’s around.
I hope everyone is lucky enough to have a friend like mine. On Friendship Day, make sure you let your friends know how much they mean to you.
My best friend and I are celebrating Friendship Day tonight by going to Niagara Falls overnight. How will you celebrate it?
Photo taken by: Tara Walton