16 Things People Want to Say to the Friends They Lost Because of Depression
It’s sad to consider, but it happens. Friendships are lost in the course of our lives with depression. Sometimes, those closest to us need to prioritize their own care. Sometimes it’s a matter of misunderstanding, and our loved ones believe we don’t care about them anymore. Or maybe they simply don’t understand the ways depression can affect our ability to maintain friendships.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that friendships come and go, and it’s not your fault if people don’t understand depression. However, hindsight and recovery can also bring clarity, and while we may not have gotten the chance to offer an explanation at the time, it can be both productive and cathartic to respond to those old friends now.
That’s why we asked our mental health community what they would want to say to a friend they lost on their journey with depression. We hope you can relate to their answers below, and be sure to join in by posting your own response in the comments.
Here’s what our community had to say:
1. “I’m sorry I always cancelled plans. I wanted to spend time with you more than you’ll ever know. But depression suffocated me and wouldn’t let me leave my bed. It was never anything personal.” — Amy W.
2. “In my desperation to have a connection with someone I trusted, I may have overshared my trauma. But I wish that you had the courage to stay the course and work through the trust issues because now, I feel like I could be a great friend to you.” — Monika S.
3. “I’m very sorry that I wasn’t able to be the friend you deserve. It’s not because I didn’t believe you were worth it, it’s because I didn’t believe I was.” — Chloe B.
4. “I wish you would’ve stood by me. I wish you would have tried to talk to me and ask me what’s wrong. I wish you had been there for me. I wish you had given me an explanation before just disappearing from my life and ignoring my desperate efforts to reach out to you. I wish you had been the friend I needed, and the friend I always was to you.” — Josie S.
5. “If you couldn’t stick by me when I was struggling, you don’t deserve to stand by me when I’m rising. True friends will not give up, or blame you for what you’re going through. A true friend will stand by you as best they can. I refuse to apologize for being me.” — Deb C.
6. “I would like to tell her I’m sorry I didn’t accept her invitations to go out, to talk. I’m sorry I avoided her and didn’t stay connected. I cancelled plans and I even lied about the reasons I was cancelling. I wish she could see that I was lying in bed, lost in my illness and so lonely, but I didn’t know how to embrace her friendship. I let my negative thoughts (or hamsters in my head) build scenarios I actually believed were true, and always led me to disappointment. I would like to tell her that I miss her and ready to pick up where we left off. Problem is, she has not called now for months.” — Lisette M.
7. “I know you think I was only friends with you because we worked together, and after I quit I wanted nothing to do with you. The truth is that without a job, it was the hardest task to simply get out of bed in the morning. I’m sorry I didn’t make more of an effort to keep our friendship afloat.” — Danja H.
8. “I just wish you knew how much I truly needed your friendship and company, and how much it’s hurt to see you lose interest and vanish. It’ll never stop hurting to know I was too much to handle, but I don’t blame you for it at all.” — Axl A.
9. “I wish you knew that I still care about you and hope your journey goes well. As for me in my own depression, I’m still gathering my thoughts and words to muster up myself, as I still feel lost in all that’s happened. It’s still a work in progress.” — Tatauq M.
10. “I am sorry. I really needed you to stay with me in those darkest moments not because I wanted to bring you down but because, at that moment, it is what I needed. I wasn’t perfect when you needed it and I looked for pity. Because of it, you saw me as pitiful. But I needed a body to hold when my insides hurt from the overwhelming sadness and despair I felt. That is all I needed and wanted, yet I ended up pushing you away. I still think about you and wonder how you are, and I still wish that we could grab ice cream and watch Netflix like we used to. I miss being able to dance with you and to make the jokes we used to make. I miss you. You not being there doesn’t make this journey any better. I lost you, and that isn’t worth anything.” — Jonathan G.
11. “When I was still undiagnosed, I didn’t know what was happening to me or how to deal, and you didn’t either. We grew apart because neither of us understood my depression. I’ve never resented you for it, though, and have learned not to resent myself.” — Madelyn H.
12. “I wish you knew, the last time you came over, how much I was suffering. I know you saw a dirty house which was unlike me. I know I didn’t talk much. I know I wasn’t fun to be around. You had no idea how bad I had gotten. You only saw the exterior and didn’t want to deal with it. I wish you knew how much I was crying out for help. I wish I would have tried harder to make you understand.” — Michael B.
13. “I forgive you. If someone is in my life, I need them to understand my illness and work with me on things. I know you couldn’t do that. It’s OK. I’m not angry. I just miss you.” — Sarah Y.
14. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you when you needed me the most… It’s one of my biggest regrets that I let my depression win and prevent me from helping you. I see you on social media and how far you’ve come and I’m happy you made it this far in spite of what happened to you.” — Kalei L.
15. “I’m sorry I pushed you away. I wish you knew I still care about you and I never wanted things to end the way they did. It was not your fault.” — Alyssa B.
16. “That was cathartic to type out and then delete. Thank you.” — Ashley S.
Photo by Nicolas Prieto on Unsplash