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To My Mother, Who I Didn't Want to Burden With My Mental Illness

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Dear Mother,

Earlier today, you told me you’ve been holding grudges against me. You did not tell me what they were or where they came from, but I’m certain it’s because of words I uttered and actions I did in the past.

Mom, by the time you’re reading this, I know you’re now aware that I, your daughter, am suffering from mental illnesses — anxiety disorder and possibly a mood disorder. I cannot say all my words and actions in the past were because of my mental illnesses, but I’m sure a huge percentage of them were.

You wouldn’t have known I was suffering from a mental illnesses if the school counselor did not call you on a Monday to tell you I was suicidal. At first, I was hesitant about the school counselor calling you. I didn’t want to let you know because I knew you had a pile of problems with work and family, and I did not want to be added to that pile. But eventually, I knew I had to let her tell you because it had to be done for myself. From that moment on, I promised myself I’d accept my state. Also, from that moment on, the fear inside me started growing more as if my permission was a water and the fear inside me was a plant waiting to be watered.

I was at a room in the school clinic, lying on the bed and worrying about your reaction and dad’s reaction, when I heard you knock on the door. I was certain it was you because you even uttered a few words and my name. When you knocked, I was already thinking of how I should respond to you, and how I should explain my state to you. But then you opened the door, and you calmly told me to get up from the bed and go out because it was time for me to go home. Honestly, I was expecting a confused face and confused tone of voice from you, but from what I saw and heard, you were slightly pitiful and mostly accepting.

Until this moment, I have no idea what your reaction was when the school counselor told you about my state. It must have been hard for you at first to comprehend the words “your daughter is suicidal.” You were probably in the middle of typing an invoice or in the middle of a meeting when you received the call. You probably thought it was just one of the business calls you receive on the daily — and turns out, it was not. However, receiving that call was probably better than receiving a call telling you I had killed myself. I guess that after all, there is somehow always a silver lining even in the worst of situations.

Mom, I am sorry for being secretive. For almost my entire life, I hid all the emotions and internal struggles I have with myself. I guess I was secretive because I was afraid of trusting you. I’ve always known that each of us should have some privacy, but I guess mine went a little too far. Mom, I am sorry for not trusting you. I would not have known you were trustworthy if that incident did not happen. Mom, I am sorry if I declined your help. I did not want to let you know about my struggles, because I did not want to make you feel as if my struggles were your struggles. Lastly, Mom, I am sorry if I doubted your strength. I thought I could make it far in life without your strength, but I know now I could not have gotten this far in life without your strength.

From this point on, I promise to share my journey in life with you — all the ups and downs — and to never forget to make you feel like you are a part of my life. Because after all, I would not have had this life if it were not for you.

Lovingly yours,

Your one and only daughter

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

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Originally published: May 10, 2016
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