FRIEND — An Important Ingredient to stay Mental Healthy

Friend’ as a noun has been used before the 12th century. It derives from a Middle English word ‘frend’, and then from Old English frēond. Stemming from Old High German ‘friunt’. Which relates back to Old English from the words ‘frēon’ meaning to love, and ‘frēo’ meaning free.

From all that — a friend is a person you are free to love. (And if that doesn’t give you all the warm fuzzies, I don’t know what will.)

Just for the sake of tradition- here are some official definitions:

“One attached to another by affection or esteem”

“One that is not hostile”

“One that is of the same nation, party, or group”

“A favored companion”

“Speak Friend and Enter. What is the Elvish word of ‘Friend’?”

A true classic quote from Lord of the Rings, by our own Frodo Baggins. Now I may not speak Elvish, but to me to “speak Friend” means a lot of different things. Also considering that June 8th is officially set aside and set apart as “Best Friends Day” I thought I would give a little shout out to all the Best Friends out there. Having true friends makes the world better and add pillars of strength when you feel yourself falling.

There is a saying that “Friends can make or break you.” They literally can, thus it is so important to make sure that you choose friends that build you up and aren’t in the friendship with you solely for selfish reasons or to make only themselves look or feel better. I’m not going to say that I am a “friend” expert. I’ve had people in my life that were good, better, and best. I’ve had people drop me when I didn’t fit their agenda anymore. I’ve had friends make my mental health plummet; but more importantly, I’ve had friends help me rise to the occasion.

Thinking over the years of my best friends, each on has taught me something that has led me to be who I am now. Even though I may not be close to some of them anymore or haven’t spoken to some of them in years, that doesn’t change the fact that they are any less important to me. I believe that best friends happen for a reason and that each one I’ve had carry a different meaning and importance and title in my life. They each give me something to fight for as I have struggled through the hard times. If you ask me, friends so give you a reason to keep trying to fight for good mental health. They can also be a huge help in maintaining good mental health as well.

Since I was a young age, I’ve been taught that a girl needs at least seven best friends. Important people collected throughout life, who are irreplaceable in helping you to develop as a person. Let me tell you about some of my best friends- hopefully as you read, you will think about what your best friend(s) have done for you. (Hopefully I can keep the mushiness to a minimum.)

To my cozy childhood best friend, thank you for all the warm and fuzzy memories of childhood. You helped me learn how to explore the world as well as thoughts and ideas. You showed me from an early age what companionship should look like. You taught me what it looks like to be freely creative, unencumbered by societal expectations. Also, how to speak up for yourself and your needs. Your example of strength in hard times was invaluable to me and still is as I have struggled.

Lesson Learned: How to have strength to pull through and roll with the punches.

To my playful foodie best friend, thank you for showing me how to not be afraid of my shadow and to accept the goofier side of me. Inhibitions are not in your nature. Together we supported each other in our dreams because we were too young to realize what life was going to bring to our doors. We conquered and laughed a lot together. Thank you for teaching me never to be ashamed of who I am and to love the journey through the positive perspective.

Lesson Learned: Life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, preferably laughing and smiling.

To my wise teacher best friend, thank you for always supporting me and guiding me through life. Your unwavering faith in me knows no bounds and always knowing I’ve had that means the world to me. Never once have you made me feel not loved. You example of perseverance through tough times have helped me overcome trying times and will continue to do so.

Lesson Learned: Have faith in yourself. You are loved. You can persevere thorough anything.

To my storytelling best friend, thank you for your openness and creativity. Your passion for writing stories and your never-ending assistance in giving me perspective has helped me dissect and see clearer what goes on around me. Your compassion has taught me to never close off an opportunity, but to always continue to hope. It helps me be a kinder and gentler person.

Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid of expressing yourself, be open and stay open for all the possibilities.

To my party star best friend, thank you for showing me how to be bigger than life. How to be loud in a good way and to smile through the hard times. You provide a perfect example of how “I can conquer anything with the tallest heels and boldest lips.” Thank you helping me reach new heights in thinking outside of the box with confidence.

Lesson Learned: Live boldly. Live proudly. Don’t apologize for reaching higher.

To my silent honest supporter best friend, thank you for your unadulterated truths. You’ve always told me how it is and have kept me in check. You are never afraid of telling me what is up and down, no matter how hard it might be for me to hear it. Your words and voice have pulled me from dark depths, and I will forever be grateful as you continue to keep giving me reasons to keep going.

Lesson Learned: Better to tell the truth and stay on course, than try to keep up appearances.

To my deliciously dark best friend. Thank you for helping me realize that I am never past hope. You help me stay grounded and give me a listening ear. I always feel safe trying out ideas on you first, and never once have you made me feel stupid or weird as I embrace more fully of who I am. (Especially since you talk to me about all your dark, off the beaten path obsessions.) Thank you for teaching me what healthy friendship looks like and being there when the hard diagnoses hit. Also, what it means to be fiercely loyal and to always have each other’s back.

Lesson Learned: Never hide what makes you happy or your authentic self. Stay loyal to who you are.

I realize this post might be kind of sappy, but it serves as a powerful reminder as to how important it is to have a support group around you as you are struggling with mental illness. The lessons I have learned from each individual pays a huge part in my mental healing and a huge reason of why I am here the way I am today. All in all, having good people root for you, helps you see your worth, why you are special, and why you are wanted.

So, to all the best friends out there. Thank you for help keeping the fight against life’s hardships worth it. Thank you for speaking “Friend”. =)

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