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Dear Friend, From Your Local Schizophrenic

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Dear Friend,

I have known you for almost a decade and didn’t know I wanted to get to know you better until the last couple of years. Was it because I was afraid to open up because I have one of the “scary” mental illnesses? Probably, actually.

There just comes a point when I lose track of all the possible things I’ve said to keep people at bay in order to keep them away from the “big, bad” mental illness I have. Either way, there was nothing specific that deterred me from you for the past years since high school. I just understood you as an acquaintance and thought nothing about it. Maybe I became so desensitized by my own fear of letting people in that I just thought we were acquaintances, when we were actually friends all along. For the past couple of years I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what compelled me to show up to your house uninvited, but I did. Maybe it was the fact that you gave me air when I was drowning after the few Skype conversations we had about unhealthy friendships. I never in my life thought that Skype messaging you impulsively out of boredom at work (on break) would end in the friendship we have now.


I don’t understand, though. Why didn’t my other healthy friendships give me the same results? Was it because I had to grab their hand and not the other way around? I guess in a metaphor sort of way, you actually jumped in the water to retrieve me while everyone else threw the flotation device and kind of just hoped for the best. But that’s another story for another day.

What’s important to me right now is that you pick your friends carefully and you try to stay in a good crowd and I, with the “scary” mental illness, am one of them. You cared enough to tell me things I needed to hear, not just what I wanted to hear. More importantly though, I feel dignified that you take your time out of the day to get to know me, myself and I with open ears and respect.

I’ll never forget the day you willingly sat down with me as I let you in my world. You also did not try to fix me, and for that I thank you. Fixing something that is incurable makes me feel ashamed of myself and like the things I do are unacceptable, especially when it’s not hurting myself or anybody else. It also helps me cope with the fact that it might only get worse as I age. I may not remember all the things you said that I needed to hear, but I surely remember the feeling it left in my soul, and with that I thank you. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and the language that is mental illness. I appreciate you. I’ve waited 26 years for a friend like you to come along. Was it worth the wait and effort it took to get to this point?



Your Local Schizophrenic

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Thinkstock photo via lupashchenkoiryna

Originally published: July 3, 2017
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