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To the People Who Hurt Me When I Was Dealing With Depression

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Dear People From My Past,

I’ve thought about you all a lot. I still do. The thing is, if you were once a part of my life and if I trusted you with a part of my heart, there was something within you I respected and trusted. If I laughed with you, texted you, made an effort to spend time with you, then you mattered to me. If you were my friend, then I saw something tender, kind and passionate I wanted to be around.

If you left or I left, then you hurt me. Yes, you hurt me. When someone tells says you hurt them, you don’t get to decide you didn’t. Another thing is, I know I probably hurt you, too. When people are very different, yet value their own beliefs more than their differences, hurting each other can be inevitable.

I’ve cleaned out my closets of all the demons, the hurts and lack of forgiveness, and I’ve taken whatever gifts I could from them. For those gifts, I want to say thank you.

To the friend, who deemed me weak when I fell into darkness and depression, leaving my purpose and passion in life for a while, thank you for the times you set the example of being a strong person. Thank you for teaching me to continuously strive towards greatness and perseverance. Even though I couldn’t do it at the time, I needed you to give a damn, to give many damns. I let you go and took the admiration I have for what a strong woman of God you are, your achievements and successes, with me. I cried one last time over your oblivion to my pain and walked away.

To my sister, whose brain runs on a track completely perpendicular to mine, I’m sorry my rigidity hurt you. I’m sorry your carelessness hurt me. When I was emotional, you were guarded. When I was controlled and focused on work, you were lost in a world of color, passion and fantasy. When I saw one view, you saw another. When you imagined possibility, I feared failure. Somewhere we needed to find a balance. Yet our hearts were just as sensitive and full of love. Maybe that’s what kept us together, regardless of our opposite minds. Thank you for the consistency of your sensitive heart, for teaching me to let go of my rigid attempt to control the future.

To my dad, your coldness and distance from emotion made me fear you. Your harsh words and nonchalance to me on the days I lied in bed, incapacitated by depression and crying like a wounded animal, made me build an armor around my heart to withstand people’s words and judgement. It forced me to become stronger and rely less on my emotions because not everyone whose hands you put your heart in will hold it carefully. Instead, they might just drop it and walk right over it. Emotional neediness is a sure way to have your heart dropped and I was done dropping mine in dirt and tears.

To the people, who made empty promises of staying in my life in the times my mind was in darkness, thank you also for teaching me to be my own hero. In reality you wouldn’t cross a puddle for me. You taught me to thrive in independence, to build my own strength instead of relying on yours and to crawl when I couldn’t stand. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to never make promises one cannot keep. Thank you for enabling me to draw out the strength I didn’t think I had left to survive.

To the people who judged my mental illness, the depression and darkness completely enveloped me and I couldn’t offer you what you wanted. I couldn’t dance or laugh with you. I couldn’t see the truth of life because on the inside I was dead and dormant. I am sorry for only carrying darkness with me, even when you were by my side, because you deserve to be surrounded by beauty and happiness. Thank you for reminding me what I needed to fight for by showing me what a happy life looks like, what your life looks like. By judging me and negating my worth as a strong woman, you gave me a greater voice to make mental illness known to the world, to pride myself in each baby step I made towards gaining back a smile, to give myself the space to fall down, get back up and to not hate myself for falling, to fight a war and take time to listen to all those who are within the throes of depression.

To the brother I never had, you destroyed yourself with drug addictions and now a mental illness has destroyed you. I understand how substance abuse can wreck one’s life because of you. I understand the intensity of the fight.

Finally, to my mother, who left this earth five years ago, your death might have almost killed me too. In the end, it propelled me forward in life. It was time to rise up and be the woman you raised me to be, to find my own strength, when relying on yours was no longer an option; to walk in love and kindness as you did; to face the rest of my journey, now that your part in it is over.

To all the people who hurt me, that saying is really true. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, if you choose to let it. Thank you for playing a part in my life and for teaching me how to be strong.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Originally published: June 20, 2016
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