Although I have previously wrote about romantic relationships on more than one occasion, I have never touched upon the subject of friendships. Since we are born, interacting with others, making friendships, and maintaining a social life is an important aspect of life; however, with a mental illness thrown into the mix, it can be quite a different story.
To begin, throughout my life I have always been rather introverted and more of a loner by choice. I have never truly understood the social aspect of life, or how others rely so heavily upon it. However, I have had a lot of friends throughout all of my life, particularly in school. I was never bullied or left out of things, in fact, I was very lucky to have the friendships and social life that I did. By the time I reached the age of 16 and finally left secondary school I experienced my first full blown psychotic episode. I was almost constantly hallucinating vividly, I was extremely paranoid and would rarely leave the safety of my bedroom; I had withdrawn myself completely from all social aspects of life.
For the next year, I was to remain this way. Once I began college in the September of 2015 at the age of 17, I was quickly reunited with old friends; as well as meeting many new friends. I did manage to somewhat successfully maintain a social life for a month; though it must be noted that I was in the midsts of a manic episode at this point. However, this all ended horrendously a mere month after college began Once the mania began to subside, I was immersed in what I believe to be the worst depressive episode that I have ever experienced, I was also moderately psychotic during this episode. Similarly to when I first left secondary school, I completely isolated myself once again. I will write about both my secondary school (high school) and college experiences another time, as they are both worthy of an entire article.
After leaving college, the remnants of my social life were to be find through my job at the time; however due to my mental illness I ended up leaving that job in the December of 2015. Therefore abolishing my social life in its entirety.
I have not changed since, nor have I ‘hung out’ with anyone since then. I do have a moderate group of acquaintances, although I rarely see them, and when I do we merely exchange a few words. I have two close friends, who are without a doubt my best friends; and although we may not be in the position to see each other as much as we’d like, I know that they are the people who would be there for them if I needed them, and vice versa. The only other friendships which I feel are worth mentioning are that of online friends, some of the best people I have ever had the privilege of talking to I have met online, and they are of as much significance as those you may meet face to face.
I am a very socially inept being. I remain isolated and withdrawn from the social aspect of life, for numerous reasons. I cannot handle face to face / physical interaction, as my mental illness makes it almost impossible for me. I have severe communicational problems, and all of my symptoms collectively contribute towards my lack of a social life and my ability to maintain one. However, I do not have a problem with this. I do not like people in general, and much prefer to be alone; I have no desire to establish and maintain friendships, though I do value the ones that I have very highly, and I am open to making new friendships.
Overall, as a person with schizoaffective disorder, establishing and maintaining a social life is not my forte.