To My Family and Friends Feeling Alone in Mental Illness

There was moment back in February when I was sitting in a conference meeting in Houston, Texas. I remember the keynote speaker making a statement that has stuck with me ever since.

He said, “There are things in this world we are passionate about. Things we want to change. What is your passion?”

The first thing that came to my mind was mental illness and the stigma throughout society. You know that moment when this unexplainable chill goes from the top of your head to the tips of your toes? Yes, that happened, and that’s when I knew.

At the February conference, I attended a workshop with the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, not knowing who he was or what the organization was about, until a friend told me they help to encourage and inspire people who struggle with mental illness.

The workshop was a time of Q&A, which brought about open and honest conversations about the topics we like to avoid. As I learned more and more of how to walk through this life with people who struggle with these things, I received a message from one of my friends as I was in the workshop. In the moment, she opened up to me about some things she was struggling with.

I don’t believe in things happening by accident or coincidence. There is a reason for everything. Timing is everything. This may be long overdue, but to my family and friends who struggle amongst the darkness, this is for you:

Dear You,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for those long, sleepless nights and your hardest days.

I’m sorry for the struggles you consistently carry on your shoulders because you don’t want to burden other people.

You shouldn’t have to do that. You shouldn’t have to feel that way.

I’m sorry for those times I said things out of frustration because of your mood and how you treated me. They say, “Hurt people, hurt people.” This shouldn’t be something to frown about. It should be something that starts the honest conversations that we as a society try to avoid.

Maybe that’s why you don’t like talking about it. If we avoid those conversations, then it just clarifies, in your mind, that no one cares.

It shouldn’t be that way.

I’m sorry for those days where you feel as if no one cares, but I can promise you that people do care.

I’m sorry for those days where you feel worthless and unloved. You feel like a nobody.

No one should have to feel that way.

Throughout our friendship, I have learned to see behind the smile and the positive attitude. I want you to know it’s OK. You don’t have to hide it. You don’t have to pretend. I think that the moment we begin to be vulnerable and have those honest and open conversations, real change and transformation can start to begin.

The sad reality of mental illness is no one sees it. No one knows about it.

Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, simply says this, “People need other people.”

We weren’t created to go through this life alone. If we were meant too, then God would not have given us this beautiful blessing and gift of friendship. Friendship is important.

Lastly, I want you to know, even on your darkest days, there is hope for brighter days. Those days are possible when we have family and friends who remind us of three things: We are worthy. We are loved. We are somebody.

You are my friend, and you always will be. You are my family and you always will be. I will help you to have hope for brighter days.

You are worthy. You are loved. You are somebody. I want you to always remember that.

This post originally appeared on Puker Mob.

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