i just wanted to protect you

Something I really strive to do is protect other people from sadness and anxiety and other related things. When you think about it, it makes sense. I know what it’s like to be sad nearly all the time. I know what it’s like to be afraid of things I encounter on a daily basis. So it makes sense that I would want to protect others from these emotions. But this desire to protect others is draining me. It causes a lot of problems in friendships and dealing with that drains me. A lot.

Last night, I was in my friend’s dorm for about 7 hours. We ordered food and watched music videos and dance videos and other stuff on YouTube. I cried for the majority of that time. She asked what was wrong and I said I was fine. She asked again and I repeated my answer. I eventually told her a little bit, but I didn’t say everything. It got late, and it was time for me to go back to my own dorm.

I realized at the end of those 7 hours that I spent the entire time not telling her what was really going on. I realized that in general I had told her so many lies so she knew only about 3/4 of my anxiety symptoms and stuff. And while 3/4 is most of it, she is practically my older sister and should know pretty much all of it at this point.

I have this inclination to protect others. I think that it would be better for me to not tell others because then there are two sad people instead of just one. So I keep a lot of it inside. I lie about how bad things are so others don’t worry so much about me. My mind tells me that I shouldn’t make them sad too, so then I end up avoiding doing what will help me get better. She asked several times. She was prepared to listen to what was going on. She let me stay for 7 hours, thinking I would eventually tell her, but I didn’t. It hurt her, because it makes it seem like I don’t trust her. And it hurts me, because I avoiding talking about what’s been going on lately. And now I might not have another long period of time to talk about everything until next weekend or maybe later.

All this is to say, when someone asks what’s going on, and it’s someone you trust, you should talk to them. If you’re like me and want to protect people, be careful that you don’t protect them so much that you hurt end up hurting them. It’s counterproductive.