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To the Friend Who Has Been There Through My Bipolar and Borderline

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” — Walter Winchell

I met you just over two years ago and from day one, we just clicked. It took a while to fully build up our relationship but I still remember that day in April 2018, when I caved and told you my struggles. You didn’t force it out of me but instead allowed me to tell you when I was ready. Anyone else would have walked away, but you didn’t. By this point, I had lost most of my friends, only having a close few since I was so wrapped up in my blanket of mental illnesses.

You walked into my life when I most needed you and stayed by my side. The past 18 months have been rocky, to say the least. I’ve been on countless emergency room trips and been admitted to hospital three times. You were there, supporting me, regardless of what I put you through. I never realized quite how much you cared until I saw my hospital admissions break you. You gave me a reason to push through and try to get better instead of allowing myself to continue to spiral downward.

Even though I have sometimes pushed you away, you have point blank refused to walk away. Despite every single thing I have gone through, you have never given up on me. You celebrate the little victories with me almost more than the big ones everyone gets to see. You know me inside out and still, for reasons I’ve never understood, you are still here beside me, holding my hand, every step of the way.

Regardless of my darkest days of depression or the brighter days of my hypomania, when I’m even annoying myself, you still put up with me. My bipolar disorder has never been an issue for you. When I’m in ensconced by anxiety, you remind me to breathe and take my medication and tell me it will be OK. My anxiety has never been an issue for you. Despite the intense fear of abandonment and anger and self-destructive behaviors brought along by my borderline personality disorder (BPD), you never get sick of me. My BPD has never been an issue for you.

photo of two women, one older, posing for photograph

You may wonder why I’m writing this but I don’t know how else to show you how eternally grateful I am for you. Sure, like anyone, you have your own struggles and you have a family. But you still do everything you can to be there for me when I need you. I know I can be myself around you and you’ll never judge me. You have been there on the absolute worst of days, but you’ve also been there for the absolute best days of my life. Neither of us knows what the future holds, but I can tell you one thing: You will continue to be in my life and I will continue to be grateful for you every single day.

Now, to anyone who has a friend who lives with a mental illness, be that mild or severe: Please don’t give up on them. Your support could mean the difference between them giving up on themselves or choosing to fight another day. I promise you they will be eternally grateful for every little thing. Chances are, they don’t like themselves very much and won’t understand why you like them. Some people struggle to look past the blanket of mental illness, but I promise you there is a person in there — someone who, no matter how it looks, needs your love and support.

To my best friend directly: I love you, E. Thank you for every single little thing you do for me day in and day out. Thank you for never giving up on me even when I’ve given up on myself. And I’m sorry for everything I’ve put you through. But I’m beyond grateful that you have never, ever walked away. Thank you for being like the big sister I never had.

I truly believe the universe puts everyone in each other’s lives for a reason. So, if you have someone in your life who is struggling with a mental illness, they’re in your life for a reason. Keep them close and look after them. Also, look after yourself too. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Image via contributor.

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