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To the Friend Who I Want to Better Understand My Depression and Anxiety

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Dear Friend,

Talking about my mental illness can be hard. I want to scream it out to the world, get all my thoughts and feelings out in the open. I don’t want to be trapped in my own thoughts that are hiding within the darkness of my mind. I want to talk to you, but I’m scared.

I’m scared of being judged and rejected. I’m scared of the stigma surrounding mental illness. My experiences in the past have seemingly convinced me to keep my feelings to myself. When you share with the wrong people, it doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. It takes a lot of trust and honesty to talk about myself even with those who are closest to me.

I have depression and anxiety. I pick at my fingers daily (sometimes without even noticing it) as a way to calm myself down. I often lay at home on the couch, in the dark, staring at the ceiling, and just think. Mind racing, dark sad thoughts go through my head, and I can’t seem to stop them. I cry, a lot. Memories of happier times haunt me, and I beg for them to come back.

My depression has changed my life. It’s an awful thing to experience. It has impacted my relationships, friendships, how I act, how I think and how I interact with others. It tells me not to engage in conversation and not to talk about myself. It tells me no one wants to hear it because no one cares. It’s affected how I sleep, how often I eat, my memory and my concentration. School is a long blur of fighting to concentrate.

I fight myself every day. It’s constant. It’s exhausting.

It wasn’t until quite recently that I have decided to seek help from others and open up about my mental illness. I have started taking medications and have been talking to professionals. This was the best decision I have ever made to help myself.

I am telling you this not to make you feel bad for me or worry about me. I am telling you this so maybe you can attempt to understand me better, think about what it’s like for me to live like this and maybe even relate to it. I hope we can use each other for support and a shoulder to cry on when needed. Support from friends and family is one of the most important things when you have a mental illness. You feel so alone, and depression is the only thing by your side. Having support from those who love you can make life a hundred times more bearable.

I have learned a lot about myself in the past few months, and I feel as though I am slowly making progress. I have taken steps to become healthier and care for myself first. It’s a long hard process. I still have a long way to go, but I had to start somewhere.

I hit rock bottom. I felt as though I had lost everything and everyone who I put so much of my time and love into. I couldn’t take it anymore. So here I am, writing to you in hopes of furthering my own self-care. I am trying to find myself again, and I have realized I lost who I was a long time ago.

I want you to know the true me, who I am, my bright, energetic personality, which I know is inside me somewhere. It’s been difficult searching for myself amidst so much pain. A huge part of me has been pushed down and locked up. I’m battling the horrible, scary monster to save the girl I was, and I promise you I will win.

I know you may not know how to react, but neither do I. Thank you for being my friend, sticking by me even when I push you away or seem distant. Thank you for being a distraction, with whom I feel I can have fun and enjoy myself, even if only for a little while. I am genuinely glad to have you as my friend.

Yours truly,

The girl who is finding herself again

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 29, 2016
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