Do you feel lonely even when surrounded by your people? Are you sat on your own when your partner is off doing something else or maybe a bit sad because your friends never invite you to anything? Do you feel criticised and hurt by your peoples comments? Do you sit quietly when the people around are arguing about their opinions? Do you have to bite your tongue or keep quiet often? Sounds like you’re spending time with the wrong people, go and find your tribe.

Here’s a starter for ten… Friends and family shouldn’t make you feel anxious, upset, low or lonely. They should build you up, respect and look after you. You need to find people who love you for who you are, who make you feel happy and relaxed, who care if you’re sad or upset and care enough to put you before them, people who have similar values to your own or if not, respect yours, who you can have fun with… and most importantly who realise that you have a serious mental illness that makes you more fragile than most people and that you need treating a little bit differently, with a little bit more kindness and care.

I hate conflict. I hate arguing. I hate being around people that make you defend your opinions and are so opinionated themselves that they’ll argue until they’re blue in the face to get their point across. I like relaxed, chilled souls, people who can chat easily on any subject and most importantly people who understand that the thoughts in their heads aren’t necessarily fact and that opinions are personal things and by definition are neither right or wrong.

I have a very small group of friends… and an even smaller amount that I confide it. My family are all bonkers, we love each other so much and have a lot of fun. They’re by no means perfect, nor am I, but we’d do anything for one another and if, god forbid, I ever hurt one of them I’d instantly say sorry and feel terrible for making them feel upset. So why do I know so many people that happily go around arguing their opinions, causing conflict, being critical and unkind? Do we live in a world where it’s ok to upset someone? Can’t we all just lead with kindness?

I’m currently feeling horrendously low after a recent conflict. It wasn’t my doing, I didn’t want to be involved with it, but I got backed into a corner by two people who felt the need to tell me that my opinion was wrong, over and over again. I ended up getting so upset that I sat in a porta loo and cried. Then after about three hours of a racing heart and head, I crashed… down, down, down. Stress causes people like me, people with mood disorders, to sky rocket. I can’t deal with stress, it is my biggest trigger. So what happens when my body is flooded with stress hormones? My meds kick in, they reduce the dopamine in my brain even further and then down I go. So I’m writing this from my bed, with an imminent migraine and a very sad feeling in my heart.

So why do we spend time with people that make us feel like this? Maybe we’re scared of being alone? Maybe we forgive to easily? Maybe we blame our illness and actually end up saying sorry to the people that should be saying it to us? I’m not sure. All I know is this… before you’re critical, unkind or argumentative, think first about who you’re speaking to. If it’s someone who you know has mental health illness, stop and lead with kindness. And if you don’t know that person, always be kind, you don’t know the struggles that anyone is going through. You may feel strongly about whatever you are about to say, but words can cause an awful lot of damage and are dangerous weapons to people who should be treated a little bit more softly.

Go and find your tribe and stop spending time with people who aren’t.

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