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The Simple 3-Sentence Text That Changed My Life as Someone With Anxiety

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An open letter to my support people…

“I’m here with you. As long as you need me. What’s going on?”

Three sentences. Simple sentences. Short even for a text. Hardly a novella.

But with my collection of anxiety disorders swirling through my brain, jumping from imagined crisis to imagined crisis, like a bee flittering from flower to flower, just knowing you were here with me — even from thousands of miles away — was all I needed to hear.

The anxiety didn’t magically quiet. The delusions of panic-inducing scenarios in my mind didn’t morph into reflections of reality. My meds still barely made a dent in the symptoms I was experiencing.

But I wasn’t alone.

So many times, I’ve been told to walk it off, get over it, ignore it, just move on, find a distraction.

You didn’t do that. You sat with me… from thousands of miles away. Your presence was all you could offer, but it was everything.

And in the midst of a mental health crisis, those three simple sentences showed all the love in the world. They showed the compassion I needed. They saved my life that night.

I will always be thankful for your support with my mental illness. For the times you sat with me in silence, for the times you picked up my slack, for the times I called in the middle of the night and you talked to me. You are my support system, and you are so important to me. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to be the person I am, despite my mental illness.

I know the chronic nature of mental illness is draining to those around me. I know because it’s draining to me, too. Meds stop working, side effects come and go, life stress increases symptoms, or — even more fun — causes new symptoms to pop up.

I understand I’m an exhausting friend. I am high upkeep, and I’m aware of it with every breath I take. And even more significant, I know when I’m in mental health crisis, I don’t express the gratitude you deserve for supporting me. For that, I am deeply sorry.

But you never, ever treat me like the burden I believe myself to be. You leave your ringer on at night when I’m having a bad day. You always answer your phone. You don’t get mad when my plethora of sleep meds kick in mid-conversation, leaving you with only soft breathing on the other end of a phone call or unanswered texts.

I can only assume you’re tired… tired of the symptoms, the midnight phone calls, the side effects, the med changes. I assume this because I’m tired, too; I’m tired of hiding under my desk and not being able to get out, tired of meds that stop working, tired of the delusions that seem so real.

Please know this is my life — this is my normal — and I am doing the best I can. Please know I understand if you need a break; being a support person to someone with a mental illness is exhausting, and I won’t be offended if you tell me that.

But more than anything, please know those three simple sentences changed my life by giving me something to hold onto in the midst of the chaos of my own mind.

Getty Images photo via banusevim

Originally published: July 19, 2018
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