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The Importance of Having a Friend to Talk You Down

take-friendship-next-level-honestyI’m stable. At least that’s how I usually am.

In the eight years I’ve lived with schizophrenia I’ve managed to find a pretty strong footing for my life. I take my meds and go to therapy and practice my social skills and hell, I even have a job, which is more than a lot of people with schizophrenia can handle.

That said, there are times where the stars align for madness and you lose yourself in being overwhelmed with feelings or thoughts that confuse and delude you.

This past week was one of those times for me.

I was so lost in a certain idea that I started to lose my grip on reality. It was almost like a sickness, a fever of the mind where no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I told myself, I could not shake this completely unrealistic idea.

To say it consumed me would be an understatement.

I suffered with this delusion for a good five days trying anything, meditation, self talk, even copious cigarettes to calm me down.

I was lost until two days ago when I struck up a conversation with a friend who’s helped me with this type of stuff before. When she asked me how I was doing I couldn’t help but unload and I told her everything, every gritty detail.

After some back and forth describing things more carefully she, in her unabashed way hit me with the truth, she described a thought I had had many times in my midst of delusion but her saying it out loud and, I guess, hearing it from another person, the thought finally started to put down roots in my mind.

In a matter of probably minutes I came to my senses and realized the reality of the situation.

The delusion was rooted in obsession and it simply wasn’t realistic to pursue it any further. I won’t go into details because it’s kind of a private matter but my point remains: Sometimes you need to hear the truth from someone else for it to really stick.

I told her later that I realized I probably needed to hear what she said just to knock myself back down to reality.

Even though the exact thought had occurred to me numerous times during the week, the way she said it and probably the fact that she said it at all reinforced the idea that I had been reluctant to accept.

I was just being willfully ignorant of the truth and hearing it from another person, one that I love and trust as a very close friend helped me regain my grip on reality.

Essentially, we need friends to help us with stuff, if it’s not help moving to a new place, it’s bouncing an idea off of them and learning to see the situation from another person’s point of view.

Good friends know you well, they know what sets you off and they know what needs to be said in order to calm you down. Sometimes it’s the blunt truth.

All said, I’m feeling better today, I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed by this idea and I’m taking things slowly again.

Maybe it was because it’s been a particularly stressful few weeks or maybe it was just, like I said, the stars aligning for a bit of madness. I needed to hear the truth though, and I needed to hear it from someone I trust. I’m thankful for that.

In essence, where would we be without friends? I know I’d probably be completely lost in my own mind.

The Importance of Having a Friend to Talk You Down

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). The Importance of Having a Friend to Talk You Down. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 14 Aug 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.