advice - telling friends?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by alison, Oct 26, 2010.

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  1. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    Quick summary of my situation: I was in grad school, but I've been on psych leave since last spring when I overdosed several times and let other 'maladaptive behaviors' get out of control. I did partial hospitalization, and have since been doing weekly therapy, weekly treatment sessions at the hospital, and have been (mostly) good about staying on my prescribed drug cocktail. However, I found out recently that I will not be able to go back to school for this upcoming spring semester (my psych team doesn't think I'm ready).

    I'm bad at relationships and talking about serious things to people, so none of my friends know about any of this (except for one). They think I'm in school still working on a thesis, and to avoid any potential for them to find information out about me, I've been isolating most days and avoiding encounters with them (screening phone calls, ignoring ims/texts, not going places where I might see them).

    I went out with a few of them tonight, and I tried to keep pulling the conversation towards trivial nonsense, but they asked about my thesis and it just got awkward. The thing is, part of me WANTS to tell them at least some of what happened. I hate hiding and lying about everything.. I just want to feel like I don't have to hide anything.

    But at the same time, I don't want to act like I'm attention whoring or looking for sympathy. The last thing I want is for them to think of me as attention seeking. I HATE being the center of attention, and I much prefer talking about other people. I just don't want to feel like I need to hide from them all the time.

    I guess what I'm thinking now is that I do want them to know this information because lying/hiding makes me feel very distant from them... but I'm not trying to get sympathy/support/attention about it.

    How should I approach telling them? I could write letters to them because telling them directly scares me (I have social phobia among other things lol/sigh), but that's pretty awkward, right? Telling them one by one seems daunting to.. so I could hold a 'press conference' of sorts and tell them all at once... but OBVIOUSLY I can't do that lmao. Telling them all at once is the opposite of what I am able to do, but having like 8 separate awkward conversations is scary too. Can I tell one of them, and tell them to just tell everyone else, and have them ask everyone to never ever bring it up again? lol I don't know. I'm sorry, I'm just at a loss for what to do. It's just getting to the point where it's incredibly awkward and I just want to be friends with my friends again.
  2. LogDork

    LogDork Senior Member & Antiquities Friend

    If they're close friends, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to lay on them, and what might be better left out of conversation.
    Better to make some chit chat, being a little distant is better than cutting them off.
    Maybe you are feeling guilty about withholding from them, and avoid connection.
    kinda where I'm at.
  3. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    I think I know what I want to tell them. I want to tell them that I've been on psych leave for awhile, but that I'm okay. I want to tell them that I was in the day hospital for awhile, but now have been doing intensive outpatient work. I want them to know that I'm not telling them because I want them to worry or because I need help (I have a strong support system in place), but more because I don't like deceiving them and hiding from them.

    Yes, this is exactly where I am. I'm sick of the avoidance. I want to not have to feel shame when I'm around them and just be friends again.

    thanks for your response, sorry your in the same place
  4. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    There is such a pride in being genuine...tell one person, the most empathetic one and see how it goes...that way, you can determine what you will say as you go along...and ask ppl here to help you construct the dialogue...maybe that would help...PM me if you need me...big hugs, J
  5. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice :)

    I think I've decided who I want to talk to first. But I know that if I just wait until the time 'feels right' I'll never tell her (I've been waiting for that for several months now lol).

    Would it be weird to send her a quick message on facebook (private of course) saying that I wanted to talk to her about something, and asking her if we could set up a time to go get coffee or something?

    Bahh I need social skills training lol. Actually.. this group I'm a part of just finished "interpersonal effectiveness", so I suppose now I'm officially socially trained. Woop :tongue:

    I've been feeling strangely confident about this yesterday and today. I think I'm really ready (finally lol) to come out with this.
  6. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    That sounds like a plan...please let me know how it goes...and remember, if it does not go well, that is just the price of being of luck and big hugs, J
  7. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    These are your friends you are talking about! They love and care for you. I would tell them and get the support they have to offer. If you truly believe they are your friends then you should treat them accordingly and let them in. JMO. Blessings..
  8. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    Just an update: I kind of freaked out about this and put it on the backburner for awhile. And then I handled it in a completely 'maladaptive' and immature way - got drunk at a halloween party and told her everything.. well not everything, the specifics of my 'maladaptive behaviors' were left out (self injury, bulimia, drugs, etc).

    Fortunately though, the end result was good. I was less drunk than I was pretending to be, so I worded things the way I wanted to. I made sure to tell her that I was doing okay now and that I wasn't trying to ask her for anything, just that I'd been avoiding her because it was a big secret and I wanted to be friends again. I can't imagine a way she could have reacted better. She already knew I was stressed and told me she was really worried about me in that time anyway, because she could tell things weren't right. I apologized for not letting her in and telling her sooner, and she told me not to apologize and that I don't have to tell her things I'm not ready for, and she thanked me for letting her in. It was really perfect in every way.

    There's one other girl I want to tell, because I feel weird and avoidant around her (my other closest friend). I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it for a little while though, still kind of overwhelmed.

    Even though the circumstances of telling her weren't what I'd wanted to do, I did say things mostly the way I planned. So I'm happy =] thanks for the help
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2010
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