‘She sent a text: ‘Hey, are you doing that thing where you don’t take my calls?’ I was okay, and I kind of wasn’t.’: Woman struggling with mental health says ‘it’s OK to disappear’

“I disappear a lot.

One week I will be active on social media, calling my friends, texting my family, masking up and heading to the store.

And the next week… *poof*

I’m gone.

Friends get their feelings hurt over this fact, and I’ve had family grow concerned as well. But the longer I’m alive, the more I realize, this is an important act of self-preservation.

There are times I need silence so I can hear my thoughts. I need space so my mind can breathe. I need that moment for my spirit to rest and recover.

This is a natural thing, and it doesn’t make me crazy. If anything, it’s the other way around. Society has gotten so over connected, that it’s cultivated a weird sense of entitlement. We think we are owed access to the people we love, whenever our heart desires it.

I’ve certainly been guilty of this entitlement. I’ve accused quiet friends of ‘ghosting’. But let’s be clear, there’s a big difference between disappearing from other people’s lives and taking a moment to focus on your own.

Last week, a dear friend checked in on me in the most loving way possible.

She sent a text that said: ‘Hey you are doing that thing where you don’t take my calls. This is fine as long as you are okay.’

I was okay, and I kind of wasn’t. But the point was, she understood. She respected my need to withdraw from the world, and she didn’t demand I return.

Listen to me, people who feel overwhelmed.


It’s not crazy and there’s nothing wrong with you. For some, it’s as natural as breathing.

Honor your need to withdraw on occasion, and ask your friends to honor it, too.”

Courtesy Mary Katherine Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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