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To the Friend I Met in the Trenches of Depression

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Dear friend,

When we met, I’d been fighting my depression alone as long as I could remember. I carried the scars — seen and unseen — of a 30-year war, on my body, in my mind and in my spirit.

Alone, I’d been a master of survival. My life had all the trappings of success — but making it through alive wasn’t living for me. In you, I saw an ally. Someone who saw me. Someone from whom I couldn’t hide my scars, but who taught me to trust that baring them wouldn’t make the walls cave in.

In you, I found someone who’d fought tougher enemies — and who’s still fighting. In you, I find inspiration, acceptance and validation in my brokenness. Trusting you — because nothing I shared could shock you — gave me the foundation I needed to start my climb out of the trench. You made me want to stop surviving and start living.

Sometimes a war is at its most terrifying before it can end — and I think that’s where I am now. It’s risky and bloody and costly, but there’s also the promise of peace on the other side. I see it, and I want to get there — but I won’t leave you behind. You gave me the boost I needed to stop hiding and surviving, amd instead to go out and fight. I know how scary it is out here, but I also know you’re stronger than you think.

I hope that for a moment, you’ll let yourself believe the things you taught me about myself — that I’m strong, smart and capable. If those things are true, I just might be right about what I see in you — what I know you can do, and what I know I will fight alongside you to make happen. I know you can do this. I know I will never give up on you, and I will never leave you behind.

Maybe you can come with me now, and we can fight this next, exposed, battle together. Maybe you need more time to gather your resources — and that’s OK, too. I’ll forge on ahead and try to clear a path for you. That’s the thing; you staying in the trench a bit longer isn’t holding me back, but I will not for one second consider leaving you there.

Whatever it takes, we’re getting out of here. Both of us. We’re going to stop surviving and start living. Because of you, I can see what peace looks like — and even if I am the only one of us who can see it now, trust me. It will be like coming home.

Your sister in arms

Originally published: July 19, 2016
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