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To the Friend Who Hasn't Heard From Me in a While

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Dearest friend,

I am writing to you because something just occurred to me. We haven’t spoken in a long while. I think it’s more to do with me than to do with you. When we became friends, we would make plans, meet up, talk and text all the time. We would laugh and make small talk.

That all stopped when I became ill and I don’t blame you for moving on. I know you still think of me — the texts and comments on Facebook make it apparent.

I know it can become frustrating when you ask me out and I agree, only to cancel on you or not turn up at all. I’m sorry for that. I do want to be your friend so very much, but right now my inner voice is telling me not to bother you and you don’t need me to bring you down. I really do appreciate despite this, you never stop asking me to come out.

I also don’t like to keep explaining I can’t afford to do a lot of the things we used to because I can’t work at the moment. So I just avoid the situation.

I recognize I am terrible at keeping in touch and when I do, I may speak to you for a while but then have to cut the conversation short. Sometimes my mind is racing so much I physically can’t handle even a simple conversation, as much as I really want to.

I’d like to explain it to you. I have depression and anxiety. Two conditions that completely contradict each other at times and at other times they work together to make sure I don’t seek the support I need, including your friendship.

My depression makes it difficult for me to keep myself and my house clean, so I feel ashamed to invite you round. My anxiety tells me you will judge me as lazy and I will be a terrible host because I find it difficult to concentrate on long conversations.

My depression keeps me locked in my head for hours, days or weeks at a time, meaning I literally don’t think about anything else. Even contacting the people who mean the most to me. My anxiety tells me you’re happier with things this way. It tells me until I’m better, I would only be a burden to you.

There are so many more things my depression and anxiety do to me, but I don’t want to bore you with excuses. (There they go again!)

I want to say thank you. For not being upset or judgmental when I do get the courage to contact you or when you contact me after months of not speaking. On those occasions, I feel “normal” again, even if it’s just for a few minutes, after the initial feelings of guilt have subsided.

I want to let you know how grateful I am you said you are always there for me, when you told me all I need to do is call or text and you will listen. When I explained I can’t always make the call when I really need to talk, you simply said “I understand.” You will never know how much this meant to me, how that simple phrase took away a lot of the guilt I was feeling at always leaving it up to you to get in touch.

My mental illness is an evil enemy, but as with all enemies, it is the strongest army that wins. With you by my side, I am sure each battle I face will take me a step closer to winning the war.

You are my cavalry, my inspiration. I am grateful for you, even when I appear not to be.

I love you, my friend.

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Thinkstock photo via Zoonar RF.

Originally published: January 24, 2017
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