Sunday, February 15, 2009

In need of friends

This morning I had one of my little emotional outbursts and shed quite a few tears. This happens occasionally when I start thinking about my son and the things he is struggling with. What I thought about this morning was the tremendous difficulty my son is having because of his lack of a basic human need: friends.

My son has always been painfully shy. But throughout elementary and middle school he had a core group of friends and was reasonably social. Shortly after high school started, though, he was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety disorder, and the social aspect of his life started to deteriorate. Then came his aspirin/anti-depressant overdose. It was that event that drove all of his "friends" away from him, whether it was by their own choice or because their parents told them to stay away from my son.

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: If my son had cancer or some other physical illness, his friends (and their parents) probably would've flocked to him, offering their support and love. But mental illness is different. There is still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness and depression, and many people are scared of it; probably because they just don't understand it.

I don't think I have to tell you what happens when you take a person suffering from depression and anxiety disorder and take away every single one of the precious few friends they had. It only makes things exponentially worse.

I see the pain my son is feeling every day because of his lack of friends. He's 19 years old and really has no social life outside of the AA meetings he regularly attends. He's still very shy, so making new friends is something he is not experienced at or good at. He's lonely. He needs to interact with people his age. He needs people to talk to, to share his feelings with, and to have fun with. He needs that one thing that every human being needs and deserves: friends.

Here come those tears again. Damn.

No comments:

Post a Comment