I remember a time when I was at a low point in my life yet I would still find, even make the time for both friends and strangers, and the only thing that kept me going was being their shoulder to lean on. That was all I knew.
Now after months of therapy, I find myself giving more and more time to my own needs, and consequently not being there for people as much as I used to.
A part of me knows that that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because if anything, giving yourself time and space is incredibly important for your own mental health.
But another part of me is scared. It fears that a part of me is now broken, rather than fixed, because of all the time I take off for myself. ‘It’s for self-love,’ I think to myself. Well I don’t feel like it’s self-love anymore, I feel like it’s selfishness.
I don’t know what to make of the feeling I get when I find out a friend needed me and I couldn’t be there for them. There’s a lot of guilt of course, but it’s lesser than it used to be. I don’t know if I like this newfound diminished version of my guilt. It feels foreign and incomplete. I feel like my mind is healthier now but my spirit has grown weaker. I seem to care less than I used to, and that feels like a betrayal to every person I have pledged my friendship to.
How do you draw the line between self-love and selfishness? How do you be there for people as much as they need while simultaneously giving your mind the attention that it needs, especially if the amount of that attention is a lot?
Did I lose a part of myself in the process of putting my pieces back together? Did I accidentally erase a part of me that I loved and never wanted to lose? Has the medication helped me or ruined me?
Artwork by Karol Bak