Why is it so hard for people with mental illness to have friends who don’t have a mental illness? Why do supporters fail to see that we need friends as well as support? Why don’t our supporters share their lives with us, in the way we do with them?

Sometimes it seems as though people with mental health problems are not considered capable of giving. But usually they only need to be given a chance. (For nine years I supported people at my Living Room group and I helped many others one on one.) I may have a mental illness, but I’m a giver.

Having the kinds of friends I needed has been difficult. I want my relationships with others to be equal. Receiving alone isn’t good enough. I want the opportunity to contribute. My whole life has been based on that desire. But not everyone wants to give me the chance.

Am I so different from others? Do others with mental health issues run into this?

When I left my old church there was no one left wanting to spend time with me. If you’ve been reading up to this point, you may have seen what the reason for this could be. Although I had trouble with only a couple of relationships, word about me must have spread.

I’m thankful for this opportunity to build understanding.