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To the Friend Who Sits With Me in My Pain

Dear friend,

When I texted you to ask if I could sit with you in your car, you texted back a big smiley face and the two women wearing cat suits. And you sat there as I opened the door to your car, tears streaming down my face and trickling onto my neck.

You sat there as I sobbed so loudly, it sounded like I was screaming in pain. And I curled up on the gray seat and just let my body convulse. You looked at me with pain, confusion and empathy. And I knew you were inviting me to talk whenever I was ready, but that there was no pressure and no rush.

You knew I just needed you to be with me. To sit with me in my pain. And I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for you.

When I finally did talk, the words came out jumbled in between sobs. But you pieced them together like a mismatched puzzle.

When you finally spoke, you didn’t reply with judgment or fear. You wanted to help me fix what was going on and that meant so much to me.

But what meant even more was when you told me that even if we couldn’t fix what triggered my break down, you would be in this with me. That no matter what happened, I wouldn’t lose you as a friend. That you’d be here and would go through every step with me. That I would’t have to be alone.

You validated my battles and made sure I knew you were aware they would probably get worse before they got better. But that you still wouldn’t walk away. You still wouldn’t get tired of me. You still wouldn’t get overwhelmed or feel burdened by me and my mental illnesses.

You reassured me that I wouldn’t lose you even when I tried to push you away because I felt so guilty for bringing you into this battle.

You told me you weren’t annoyed by my constant questioning. My constant need to know if you hate me because I really do believe you hate me sometimes — because I don’t feel like I am worthy of you and because I hate myself. If you need space, if you don’t want me to text five-page long messages at 2 a.m when I can’t calm down. If you feel overwhelmed, if I’ve shared too much (I struggle with knowing what too much is, and I either overshare or under share). If you want to talk about something else. I worry I am self-centered when I talk about myself and my struggles a lot. I want you to know I am always here for you too.

You told me you’d rather I tell you when I feel like you hate me so you can tell me you absolutely do not. That you’d rather I ask if you are planning on leaving me instead of sitting in my bed late at night, panicking because I feel like I’ve messed up yet another relationship.

You told me you want to know if I hate myself or if I’m blaming myself so you can tell me what you see in me. That you see a girl who is struggling so much, who is being put through battle after battle, who is so much stronger than she believes, but who is only so strong. Who is human. Who needs help.

Because everybody needs at least one person. One person they can turn to, depend on to be there, to listen, to care, to try their very best to understand (and to ask questions if they don’t), to not leave. To stay.

One reliable person who is there even when the relationship gets bumpy. Even when one person may be going through insurmountable struggles. Who sticks around through those struggles and after.

You once told me you are just as happy sitting in the old beat-up, broken down car as you are sitting in the shiny, bright and new one. That no matter where we are in life, whether we are battling for my life or we are just enjoying the ride, you will be there.

You told me you see so much more in me than my depression, my anxiety, my borderline personality disorder (BPD). You see me. You don’t underestimate these battles by just telling me I am strong enough to get through them. You don’t give me false hope. But you don’t define me by my illnesses. You don’t just assume my thoughts and feelings are a by product of my BPD. You don’t stigmatize me. And I am sorry I worried that you would.

I want you to know you make my too dark world brighter. That you are the light when my last lightbulb has flickered into nothingness and I am sitting on the tiled floor of my bathroom, shivering in the dark.

You are a beautiful soul who deserves so much.

I don’t feel like I deserve a friend like you. But I feel so grateful you are in my life.

It can’t be easy to sit with me day in and day out as I cry to you about my pain, my confusion, my desperation and my abandonments. As I tell you I am afraid. That my temptations to self-harm have spiked. That I don’t want to lose you. That I need you. That you should probably leave because I feel so toxic to you.

But still, you sit with me.

Thank you, my friend, for staying with me when I am at my worst as well as when I am at my best.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via william87