Ah, the midsemester slump. We’ve finished our midterms, emerged from the depths of Main Stacks and have begun to see the daylight again. I don’t know about any of you, but for me, these past two weeks of midterms broke me to pieces. There were many nights spent crying and dancing around to Pitbull at the same time (because, as we all know, he’s been there and done that). What a pathetic sight this must’ve been, but there was no other choice — I simply didn’t have the time to be sad. Whether I was running back home from Moffitt Library at 10 p.m. to finish a paper due at midnight or waking up to the thought of what felt like an impossible amount of work I had to accomplish that day, I certainly had my fair share of breakdowns.
Each breakdown was different, however, as they were all in a different place, with different people and for different reasons. This sequence of breakdowns inspired me to think back on all the times I’ve had a breakdown and the best and worst people to be around while having it. Here’s my ranking of the kinds of friends to have around during a mental breakdown, from best to worst.
The “wise beyond their years” friend
Bless these friends, seriously. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those friends who’s the same age as you, but for some reason has the wisdom of someone many years older than they actually are, you’ve won. These friends have the most comforting energy. You trust whatever they say even if you don’t even fully understand it — just the process of talking to them makes you feel much better. There’s never an awkward moment and it always ends with a nice hug. I always leave conversations with them feeling much better.
The hype-you-up friend
Maybe it’s their own discomfort with vulnerability, but the friends who hype you up when you’re feeling down are actually the best. They remind you of who you are in the most provocative and intense way. They may not be as sympathetic as the “wise beyond their years” friend, but that’s exactly what makes them so special. They don’t let you sulk into the pit you dig for yourself; they drag you out and make you wipe your tears. They instill the confidence and fire you need to keep going.
The funny friend
This friend is always an interesting person to be around during a mental breakdown. They cannot handle the seriousness of the situation, so they’ll make jokes to lighten the mood. Depending on the severity of your breakdown, this could either provide some nice comedic relief or go very poorly.
The friend who you never get personal with
Yeah, there’s nothing more awkward than crying in front of the friend who, for all you know, never seems to get sad. Since there’s no history of being vulnerable with each other, the awkwardness between the two of you could make you spiral more into your breakdown. This conversation may end up with a pat on the back or repeatedly being asked if you want water or tissues.
I feel like not much needs to be said here — we all know what I’m talking about. The overconfidence, the talking over you or the nonstop talking for that matter. It’s really just more frustrating than helpful, but at least for a moment you are more upset about something else other than the original source of your pain.
Regardless of which friend you are around, the important thing to remember is that you are with a someone — you are not alone. I think the most painful scenario to be in is to go through some sort of breakdown or difficult time by yourself. So appreciate the funny friend and appreciate the mansplainer (they’re really just trying to help), but most of all, appreciate what you do have going for you and don’t let what’s going wrong bring you down.