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To the Best Friend of the Person in the Psychiatric Hospital

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Editor's Note

This story has been published with permission from the friend mentioned.

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

To the best friend of the person in the psychiatric hospital,

Your love still works. It’s OK to feel. It’s OK to feel helpless or heartbroken as your friend is in the hospital. It’s OK to feel broken without them. It’s OK to hurt for them.

My story begins on the first day we ever hung out. I had no idea what was about to begin. The start of a sisterhood I never had but always wanted. Within months you gave me the courage to go get help for my own problems and my own darkness. You gave me the strength and courage to do the hard things. Your life as a testament to the mission of To Write Love on Her Arms. Again, I had no idea what the next three years would bring.

I saw you decide to get sober and stop drinking alcohol. I saw you struggle with that. I decided to join and help you do it with teamwork. I called you as you sat in the liquor store parking lot pleading with you to just drive home. I took countless razor blades from your apartment. Some of them you gave me, a few I just took, all because I love you. It’s OK to struggle. This fight of yours is OK.

I held you on some of your hardest nights as you cried and cried and begged for the razors. I just held you tighter and fell asleep holding you. I banged on the bathroom door because you had locked yourself in and were cutting. I grabbed your hand as you tried to end it one night. At this point I never knew how dark it was. My heart just hurt for you. Through all of this you apologized again and again, over and over, “I’m sorry for putting you through this” and, “You deserve a better friend than this,” were just some of the lies that your brain felt it had to say.

We now call each other sisters. Almost three years exactly from when we first met you were in the hospital. You were fighting the darkness. Just recently you let me know just how dark it was. I’m speechless, I’m helpless. I know my love can’t change it or fix it. I know you need to heal and take this time on your own to work on yourself. I just want to yell truths at you! I just want to fix it!

To the best friends, brothers and sisters reading this who have been in my shoes, your love still works. Your friend might tell you the truth, how dark it is. They might also lie. Their darkness may overpower all of their rational thinking and say heartbreaking and hurtful things, know that it the darkness talking — not your friend! Keep loving them. Keep fighting for them. Don’t give up on them, even when they push you away.

They might not be able to tell you things in the moment, but your love and never wavering encouragement is everything they need.

Your love still works. Don’t give up on them.

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Photo by Miguel Orós on Unsplash

Originally published: April 30, 2018
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