It’s recently occurred to me, how much – though we may think otherwise – our friends are lacking our support. We call them our friends, in fact, in many cases we call them our family and as much as we protest that we are always there for them, the case isn’t always so. We offer them a shoulder to cry on, a ear to listen and a shoulder to hug – but how frequently do we seriously follow this through? The fact of the matter is, that saying this once only is simply not enough. Unfortunately, no matter that the intent behind saying “I’m here for you” is fully meant, our friends are often too proud to ask for help, or indeed a sympathetic ear.

The thought first occurred to me when I realised that I hadn’t seen one of my best friends for a number of months. I then remember promising to her on the day of her dad’s funeral that I was gonna look after her no matter what. Seeing her and her younger sister (whom I’d known for ten years) in that amount of pain brought me to tears – and I felt like a failure. And rightly so. I’d let myself – and above all – her and her family down. Which is something I can only make up for now. The death of somebody you love is not a grievance that goes way within a week, a month, or even a year. I should have been checking up on her constantly – just like people did to me when my mum passed away.

Unfortuantely, the pain our friends (and our ourselves) go through isn’t restricted to death. Another friend of mine was recently diagnosed with HIV, and he confessed to me that he found it hard to talk to anybody that didn’t have it. As someone that overcome an eating disorder I understand what it’s like to feel completely alone with an illness that you feel may consume your life. The thing is, these are all things that are ten times harder to overcome when you don’t have a positive support system and a strong circle of friends around you. I’m fully aware that I’m self-absorbed, as are many of us. But as you get older you begin to realise just how important it is to be there for the people that need you. Sure, we all have times when minute, irrelevant things seem to be the most horrific instances in our lives – but exactly how big are the issues compared to those around us? Similarly, things are just resistricted to our close pals; as I posted earlier this week, our gay brothers and sisters of Russia are desperately in need of our help – please take the time to sign a petition, campaign and share your thoughts about the tragedies those in less (successful) circumstances are going through; every little helps.

It’s our duty to start looking at things in the wider picture. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people are (or have lived with) some kind of mental disorder. By looking out for our friends, family and others around us, we can reduce this statistic dramatically – as sometimes all it takes is a close counter part to off-load onto, to reduce the pain. I’m by no means jumping up onto a high horse, as:
a) I have no place
b) she don’t have stilettos tall enough to clamber up pon Black Beauty

But I’m sure the thought of a time when we were all struggling to deal with some or other isn;t far from our minds. Think of how much easier it would have been to overcome with somebody there – or if you were lucky enough – how much it meant to have someone there. Extend an arm, ear or spare bed and embrace the ones you love – they will appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

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