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To the Friends I Haven't Seen Much Because of My Anxiety


Dear person in my life,

It’s possible that I’ve shared with you what’s going on with me. It’s more likely I haven’t. I want to be clear this isn’t because I don’t trust you or we’re not as close as you thought we were; it has nothing to do with you. I didn’t tell you about it earlier because how do you say that? Like, hey! So I’ve been a shitty friend and it’s because I’m dealing with some intense mental health stuff and that’s why I’ve basically fallen off the face of the Earth. Who does that?

So instead I’m telling you here. Over the last year and a half, give or take, I’ve been experiencing panic attacks of varying intensity, as well as smaller, more constant anxiety. It’s not so much that it impacts my day-to-day, but sometimes it can knock me flat on my ass. There are days when I literally am Chris Traeger.

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I’ve been trying really hard to learn how best to manage this so that I’m addressing it, but not letting it interfere with my life. And it’s hard. I’ve tried lots of different things; some have worked, some have not, but I’ve learned that the ones that do work deserve my time and commitment. That’s why I’ve retreated to my couch and stopped asking you to get Shake Shack or if I can stop by the office. It’s why I took the summer off from a job I truly love and gave up spending my days with the people I love most. At the time, that was what I needed to do. So I did.

But I miss you. I miss laughing with you and celebrating your joy with you: your marriage, your first kid, your move. I miss sharing my joy with you and sending you regular texts. I miss going to movies with you and doing our secret handshake and knowing when I’m with you that I’m in a place where I can truly be myself. Please know that my heart aches for that, and that I promise I will be around more soon.

Normally I would apologize, but that’s not really what I want to say. I want to say thank you. Thank you for not making me feel like I’m bad friend for failing to hang out with you for a long time. For remembering me in little ways and sending me texts to let me know. For being patient with me when I canceled plans or left early or didn’t reach out. For not judging me, and for always showing up when I ask you to. And for loving me and my mess and for listening with a supportive ear when we talked about my anxiety; for reading this with a supportive heart if we haven’t. And if I haven’t told you in person, I’m sorry for that. You deserve to hear my voice saying this and not to read it on the internet, but to be honest, this is much clearer and it allows me to only have to have this conversation once; over and over is emotionally taxing, and that’s difficult to do. If you want to talk about it more, let’s get together and do so.

But most of all, I want to tell you that I love you, and that I am so grateful for your presence in my life.

XO

Follow this journey on It’s Only Fear.

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.