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To the Friends I Fear I'm Losing to My Mental Illness

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This originally started out as an apology letter to my friends. I wanted to tell them I’m sorry I’m not the friend you need most of the time. I’m sorry you’re probably afraid to ask how I’m doing because there’s always something wrong. I’m sorry we can’t have an “easy” and simple friendship like so many others have. I’m sorry I’m that friend you have to worry about. But as I was writing, I realized that many of the things I’m sorry about come from a place of insecurity and guilt. Insecurity, because you have other friends that won’t give you this much grief; and guilt, because we could be so much better together. We should have that effortless friendship that we once had.

I wish you could ask me if I’m OK and that I could honestly say that I am. I wish I didn’t have this weight on my shoulders and fog in my mind that makes me not so great to be around sometimes. Half the time I’m a crying mess and the other half I’m numb and boring. And yes, I can still be depressed and funny, even if it’s at my own expense. But the jokes only hide the harsh reality that this is an everyday struggle, that every interaction is tiring and that depression is a lonely illness that changes my perception and my very way of life.

Sometimes I wish you could really understand what it’s like to be depressed so you could see life through my eyes. But then I chase away the thought because I wish you no harm and depression is better understood when lived. I never want you to be depressed. I never want you to feel like life is a hassle or that something as simple as getting out of bed could seem like a monumental task. I want you to be your happy and healthy self. But I promise to be there for you when and if you’re not.

I want to thank you, friend, for being there for me at the lowest points of my life. I want to thank you for trying to make me feel better, for listening to my endless rants, for dealing with my irritability, for waiting for me when I isolate myself from the world. I want you to never stop trying to reach me because I need you. I promise I’m doing my best. Be patient with me on my bad days and I’ll be there with you on my good ones.

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Unsplash photo via Sushil Nash

Originally published: August 28, 2017
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