When I met my therapist, I didn’t really have any friends here. Sad, I know. Drop me down in Austin and I have a ton of people to call to meet up with. But here, in the suburbs of Virginia Beach, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot going on. I even got a part-time job at Old Navy for a year in an effort to make friends. Most of the employees were younger than me – like, by a decade. So the friend thing never happened there.
But my therapist wanted me to make 3 friends. That’s it. Just 3.
I found 3 friends, all totally different, through the website Meetup.com in some way.
One is my bestest friends here is always there. Whenever I call, she answers. She came into the wasteland that my boyfriend has allowed his house to become. She helped me pack. She meets me for coffee, lunch, movies. She knows I need support and so she is there and I love her for it. I will miss it when I can’t call her and ask if I can drop off brownies at her house.
My next friend and I aren’t that close, though we have had entertaining pedicures and I support her businesses. But she makes time to see me, drives far to meet me for coffee which lasts less than an hour. But I know if I needed something, she would be there for me.
My third friend is amazing. She also lives with mental illness so we can commiserate on hospital stays and meds we take. She is a bit flaky, canceling our plans to meet up time and time again, but she is always around for a phone call. I get it. Getting out can be hard. That’s the thing about knowing someone else who struggles with what you struggle with – you just accept and get it.
So that’s it, per Gail the therapist, the magic number is three. You need at least three friends nearby. Oh, hell, I have friends and family scattered across this country, but they can’t meet me for coffee or lunch at Baker’s Crust.
You need to have people in your corner. People who accept you – flaws and all, because having bipolar disorder is beautiful, but damn, if it isn’t hard.
Find friends. Churches. Support groups. Meetup.com. Your neighbors. Don’t be afraid to let people in. You need all the love you can get. I know I do.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net