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To the Friends Who Didn't Give Up on Me When My Depression Wanted You To

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About nine months ago I began showing signs of depression and anxiety, however I dragged myself around thinking this string of just “bad days” would soon end. I did this for two months before I sought help and was officially diagnosed with both major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

I can still recall being in tremendous emotional and physical pain, not able to eat, sleep, leave my bed or even on some days speak. My body felt heavy, weighed down into my mattress and I didn’t have the physical strength to move or even attempt to sit up. At the same time I felt so light and nonexistent — like I wasn’t even there, wasn’t even alive. Everything was a challenge. For a while I isolated myself, hoping all of my friends would forget about my existence and I could just lay in my bed forever and eventually just fade away. Luckily and predictably, my friends didn’t forget about me during these times and would continue to reach out to me.

So to the friends who never gave up on me, both before and after my diagnoses: thank you. Even though sometimes you just verbally, physically or emotionally supported me through the smallest acts of kindness, part of the disease is feeling constant guilt. Even though, if our places were swapped, I would undoubtedly do the same for you, I would always feel bad for taking up so much of your attention and time. You listened to me in person or over FaceTime, let me sleep on your bedroom floor and texted me a daily inspirational and happy quote. You checked up on me to make sure I was still taking my medicine and brushing my teeth. 

Without your unconditional support, I may not still be here today. During some low patches in my depression, I began feeling suicidal. I didn’t see a reason to live, to keep going, to hang in there. I held onto life through all of these times because you held my hand through the pitch black darkness and into a dimmed light, where the dark was still heavily present but also accompanied by some light. Thank you for empathizing (and not sympathizing) with me, and thank you for believing I can make it through.

Now that I’ve made substantial progress in my recovery and am in a significantly better place than I was last fall, I can more clearly see that all of the big, audacious tasks I demanded of you really weren’t arduous at all. Thank you for reminding me you are always there for me and are willing to help me out in my hard times. Because of your unwavering support and love I am able to sit at my laptop and write this article today, which can hopefully inspire just one friend who knows someone struggling with depression. Please remember to always show your love and support; I will always be grateful of the friends who did that to me and who kept me alive.

And to those of you reading this, either in the darkness themselves or a friend to someone trudging through the darkness, remind yourself (or your friend) that you are not alone, and it is indeed possible to once again see a small glimmer of light.

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Originally published: May 18, 2016
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