The friend I talked about in the previous post was a person I loved dearly. And I can see in this story how she tried to be there for me, despite her own illness. I tried – within my own limitations – to be there for her as well. But I was better able to support people with mental health problems and wasn’t great at bringing casseroles and giving the more practical support required by people with physical illnesses.

I’m wondering, after reading this, whether that’s why she started ignoring me, refusing to talk to me. I wonder if it’s because I was leaning too much on her for support at a time when she herself was very ill. I believe this could very well be the case. But when this started happening, I was confused and terribly hurt. I had no idea. I didn’t know.

This lady was one of the three friends who ended up rejecting me, causing the great pain and emotional turmoil I went through. In spite of her treatment I never stopped loving her. I never stopped loving any of those who rejected me, which made it hurt all the more. What was worst was that I wasn’t told why. In all cases of rejection by friends I never learned why.

The pain was excruciating. Numerous fears haunted me, never leaving me alone: What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong? Am I that bad a person? I felt as though I was hated, dirty, ugly, unworthy of friendship, thought to be inferior. I had done – and continued doing – everything I had felt God calling me to do and to be. Yet I was no longer worthy of receiving friendship from those who had not so long ago shown me the depth of God’s love.

Although these friends might have thought they were simply creating boundaries, this was stigma. I was rejected without being told what the problem was, not given an opportunity to try correcting my behavior. I believe that If I did not have a mental illness – if I were considered a “normal” person – they might have talked to me. It would have been far less painful.

I found out, in the worst way possible, what it’s like to be stigmatized. After I left the church, I endured great suffering in response to memories that came daily. This included frequent thoughts of suicide. Emotionally I’m a different person – currently receiving weekly therapy.

But I have hope. Developing my story using this blog, is helping a great deal. The healing is happening, though in roller coaster fashion – up and down. Yesterday I felt great, today I’m once more disorganized.

I thank God for the writing that helps keeps my mind organized. I believe he’s in it. My anchor.