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To Those Who Stayed in My Life When I Wanted to Stay in the Darkness of Depression

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Dear __________,

I wrote this for you.

Today I am turning 18. Eighteen is meant to be a big milestone, but it means extra when you feel like the past four years of your life have been constantly shifting between not living and living hell. It has been exhausting.

For most of those four years, I woke up every morning with the feeling of dread. On most days, I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t feel like I was living; I was simply trying to survive, one day at a time.

I never imagined living past 18, for I hoped the world would have ended by then. I didn’t want to die; I just wanted all the pain to go away. It felt hopeless in the dark.

But here I am today, a freshman in college, singing “Happy Birthday” to myself.

I know you won’t take credit for this, but I wouldn’t have made it without you.

It must be hard to understand someone who doesn’t understand herself. Someone who is still trying to figure out what the words “depression” and “anxiety” mean.

It must be hard to love someone who is hurting. Someone who tries so desperately to tear apart her body because feeling pain is better than feeling numb.

It must be hard to care for someone who wanted to stay in the dark, even when she needed to be in the light.

But you tried anyway.

You made an effort to understand how I am feeling and how you can help me feel better. I absolutely hated talking about meetings with my therapist/psychiatrist, but I appreciate you for asking anyway.

You continued to put up with me, and my many irrational fears, with incredible amounts of patience.

You believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t give up on the hardest days because I remember you telling me you are proud of me and how far I have come; I didn’t want to leave you disappointed.

Thank you for pouring your love and care into me, both tender and tough, every day, but especially on the days I needed it the most. From you, I am learning to forgive myself and those who have hurt me, for you forgave me when I made mistakes and stepped across a line.

Thank you for giving me your time, whether it is spent sitting in silence, responding to my emails/texts, or drinking tea. You are always there, even when I cannot stop talking from being excited or am crying so hard that I can’t breathe.

Thank you for being my safe haven, for I never felt alone or unsafe in your presence. I don’t know if you realize the important role you played and are still playing in my recovery process, but I hope this at least gives you an idea.

You have stayed, even when I was so fixated on the people coming and going. Whether it has been four weeks or 14 years, I am still so thankful that you are a part of my life.


If you or someone you know needs help, visit our prevention resources page

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: September 14, 2016
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