It's been a deeply emotional week, and I actually feel rather exhausted because of it.
Last week, I did something that, from what I've heard since then, may have led to some undesirable consequences for someone who was, up to that point, a close friend (and for one or two of her friends as well). It was unintentional, and if it hadn't been for the written equivalent of a slip of the tongue, I might not have caused any damage at all. But I did make that mistake, and I still feel terrible for it, though I'm no longer in the state of self-loathing that consumed me for several days after I was informed that I'd made a severe and potentially harmful misstep. I did what I could to fix the mistake, and I apologized as much as I dared to, given how upset my friend was, and knowing that I was quite possibly the very last person she'd want to hear from at the time.
I've consciously kept away from her—and to a certain extent, our mutual friends as well—since then; I'm terrified that she's still angry with me and I'm afraid that I've done our friendship irreparable harm both by doing what I did and then keeping such a low profile afterward. But for a few days I was in absolutely no shape to talk to anyone if it wasn't totally necessary. Experience has taught me that when I'm that upset, it's best to shut off my more social inclinations for awhile. I ultimately end up truly hurting fewer people that way. The person I am when I'm depressed, or even when I'm just somewhere on the outside edges of depression territory (as I was last week), is not a particularly pleasant person to be around; I don't become cruel, but I do become very gloomy, and people tend not to appreciate the company of someone who is that negative.
And then, a few days ago I heard from another good friend, a person upon whom I've come to depend perhaps a little more than I ought to, that he had the opportunity to leave our mutual hometown to work somewhere else. There were several reasons why going elsewhere would probably have been a good decision, as well as several reasons why it might have been a mistake, but it's not my story to tell, so I can't say much more than this. But I can say that I encouraged him to go; as much as I'd have missed him, I truly believed that he'd be most content with the decision to leave. However, he eventually decided that he'd be staying here for a while yet after all; he says that he's at peace with that decision, and as for me...well, it was quite possibly the first good news I'd had in a week.
That these things happened more or less all at once was an interesting coincidence, if not an easy one to deal with. And it's got me thinking about the importance of social interaction. You see, although the friend whom I accidentally hurt last week is someone I've known for somewhere between eight and ten years (we had a couple of classes together in university), and one of our mutual friends is also an old university classmate of mine, the other people I've come to think of as particularly good friends are of a much more recent acquaintance. I met two of them last May, and the other late last September.
Given that it's usually very difficult to earn my trust, it's rather remarkable that I let all of these people become so close to me, most in a fairly short period of time. Because of them, I've become more social in the past year than I had been in years. And it's changed me. Although I still maintain that nobody can make other people happy, and that looking for another person to complete oneself is foolish at best, because of these friends I feel more more alive than I did at this time last year. Because of them, my mind and my heart are more full than they were, more engaged, and even healed from some of the more significant hurts in my past. My life is better because of them, and I hope that I've been able to be at least a little helpful to them as well in some way, in spite of the problems I might have caused last week.
I don't use the word "friend" lightly. And my faith in myself was severely shaken by the mistake that I made; I felt that I could not be trusted and that I wasn't fit for human company. I'm out of that initial shock of self-loathing now, but the results of my mistake last week are still somewhat unclear to me. Perhaps in a few more days I'll be able to muster the courage to ask my friend if she's still upset with me, but for now, I remain a coward. Perhaps it's for the best; if what happened after my mistake did happen as a result of it, I suspect that I might still not be the most welcome person in her life at the moment.
So, yeah. This has all been fairly exhausting, and I hope that the week ahead doesn't hold any more unpleasant surprises. I still need some time to catch my breath from the ones I've already had!