I can’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling. This evening (and night I suppose, it’s past midnight) I have gone through anger, upset, and disappointment.
Something happened today at university in which a person I have put a lot of trust in about my mental health started asking me a barrage of questions in an ableist way – which in itself is problem enough – but I have had the same conversation with the same person at least two or three times already over a long time. This complete divergence from what we were – and were supposed to be – talking about not only derailed the conversation, but me and the rest of my day too. I was supposed to do a lot of work this evening but I can’t concentrate on a thing.
I’m simultaneously cross, and hurt, let down, and disappointed. I was made to feel very guilty about my mental health and as if my potential to have problems would let other people down. I already feel that way most of the time, and I can’t even begin to talk about how sick I am of having to mitigate other people’s feelings because of my disability, and how much I have had to justify my life choices in a way that others do not.
On top of all that, the idea that I should be responsible for other people’s emotions and worries just by existing and having the conditions I do is unfair. I have a lot of friends with a lot of problems and sometimes things happen that might be upsetting – they isolate themselves, they self-harm, they are suicidal. I don’t get upset with them because I understand that it is a factor of their mental health condition. For me to get upset about it is to put fuel into the fire. It can be tantamount to emotional blackmail. I say I’m sorry. I say How can I help? I say What do you need me to do? I say I am here day or night to support you with what you need. I do not tell them I am worried about this, that, or the other because it might affect me, or my ability to get this piece of work done in time. I do not say I am worried about being your friend because you might do something that would interrupt my life.
I’m going to have to say something, however terrifying it is, as I need to see this person regularly, and I am both furious and deeply hurt, and those feeling are only growing.