THE BLOG

A Message for My Friends

30/07/2015 10:03 BST | Updated 27/07/2016 10:59 BST

Mental health problems can be so very isolating at times. Last week I was a bit of a social butterfly, catching up with three friends who I've not seen in far too long. Some days it's tricky, there have been times when seeing people has just been really hard and I've avoided certain social situations. This is a message to my friends.

To my dear and wonderful friends,

Thank you for your patience, for accepting that I've been fairly unreliable at times and for persevering with trying to make arrangements with me despite there being an oh so real chance I will bail at the last minute and cancel on you.

Thank you for your encouragement; for boosting my up with pep talks or reassurance when I'm feeling wobbly, for having hope in me and using that hope to help me realise that I can strive for happiness even on the hardest of days. Thank you for helping me to believe in myself.

Thank you for standing by me through my hospital admission. Inpatient treatment isn't glamorous and at times it's so hard to know what to say or how to support me. Thank you for not feeling awkward and for being there when I came back to the real world.

Thank you for driving me forward, for encouraging me to do things that were scary but oh so worth it. Thank you for helping me to never give up and for dragging my butt out when I was feeling wobbly.

Thank you for not judging me for my mistakes or what I saw as failures. Thank you for finding the positives and helping me to get back on track. Thank you for reminding me of my skills and what makes me beautiful and for not placing my value on my weight or appearance.

Thank you for the messages that I can't always reply to and for persevering through my frequent communication droughts. Thank you for the conversations that didn't run into difficulty, despite my mind telling me that we would run out of things to talk about or that you wouldn't want to spend time with me anymore.

Thank you for sticking by me, with the awkward third wheel that is my eating disorder. I have been a royal pain in the arse, source of worry, quite uninteresting and frustrating at times so thank you for bearing with me whilst I recover.

Above all, thank you for your love and continued support. Without you I wouldn't be where I am right now and I really and truly couldn't have done it without you.

All my love,

Kate

According to the Mental Health Foundation friendships form a crucial protective factor for mental health, friendships can play a key role in helping someone live and recover from a mental health problem and overcome the isolation that can often come with them.

How can you support a friend who has a mental health problem?

  1. Be patient
  2. Don't give up
  3. Know your limits and don't try to take on more than you can manage
  4. Seek support or advice if you are worried about your friend but try and involve them in that conversation if you feel able to
  5. Don't be afraid to ask questions

I'm excited to be blogging for the HuffPost and sharing some of my limited wisdom. I am recovering from an Eating Disorder so have first-hand experience of some of the stigma and difficulties faced by people with mental health problems. I hope, through sharing my blog, I will be able to offer support, comfort and hopefully improve understanding of mental health difficulties. I believe that by having these conversations, more people can get the help they deserve earlier.

Take a look at my full blog for more mental health related posts.