To the Friend I’m Ready to Tell About My Mental Illness
We are in an exciting place, you and I. We walk the edge of a new relationship, and it’s as amazing and special to me as it is to you. But sadly, dear friend, there are things I haven’t told you yet. There are demons that haunt me, that you may understand, but because of my fears and the pristine nature of your thoughts toward me, I’ve held them back from you. Writing this letter is my way of letting you see a little more of who I am and to bring you closer into me.
Here are some things I thought you should know:
1. I am a work in progress.
Dear friend, you have met me at a time where I am journeying from sickness to health. I have gained a lot of ground, but I’m not yet complete in my travels for wholeness. There’s still a long way to go, but I would love to have you along for the ride — to bring you into the appointments and to show you my fear. For you to be a light in the darkness. You’re not the only light in my life, but I can see you may be able to illuminate a bit more of my steps if we walk together.
2. There will be times I stumble.
I still struggle daily with simple things, still struggle with things I have conquered in the past. I will break down, will freak out, will panic about things you can’t see or hear, and in those times I will need you most. Not to do anything in particular, but just to sit in the hurt and the pain with me and slowly bring me back to Earth. I’m fighting a battle with my brain, and sometimes it wins, but I know that in the end, I will prevail.
3. I’m so much more than my illnesses.
You will get to see so many different sides of my personality. Sometimes I am wild, loud, excited, passionate, overeager to see you and bubbling with energy. Other times, I will be withdrawn, shy, tired, pensive, quiet and I will feel hopeless. Please know through all of these ups and downs, I am still me. I’m still the girl who laughs in awkward situations, still the girl who talks too much. My illnesses can steal my light sometimes, but I’m still here, underneath it all.
I’m learning to let people in. I’m learning sometimes it’s better to walk slowly beside someone than to charge on ahead without a friend in sight. I’m enthusiastic about getting to know you better and walking together for a time, sharing and growing and laughing and being exactly who we are, fully and wholly. If this is your struggle too, please let me know. We shall share our light as we wander through the darkness.
The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.