Dear Friend (is it still okay to call you that?)

dearfriendwithtext

Dear Friend (is it still okay to call you that?)

I have been a lousy friend to you and I’m sorry.

I miss you.

Years ago, depression came out of nowhere and knocked me to my knees. It felt as though overnight, I turned from a lifelong member of our friendship circle into someone who felt so incredibly unworthy of your friendship.

And ashamed.

So very ashamed of my illness. And also ashamed of the way it made me feel and then how those feelings ruled my behaviour.

Not understanding enough about what I was going through, it simply felt easier to decline invitations, to hide away and to spare you all the trouble, the trouble that I felt I was. I didn’t want to be a burden to you, to ruin the fun times, to be a source of worry.

As time passed and I became more poorly, I felt as though I’d set you free from it all. As though, in my depression-warped mind, I was being a good friend in saving you from this new lacklustre version of me, from the awkwardness of navigating this new frightening landscape and the negativity that had invaded my mind and was bound to seep out into all that I would do. It felt safer to withdraw from our friendship, from many other friendships and well, life really. As my self-confidence took a battering, you became higher up on the pedestal you were already on. Why on earth would you want to be my friend?The fear of rejection was so acute, it gave depression power and became it’s own self-fulfilling prophecy. I see photos of you all, celebrating marriages, christenings, school reunions and landmark birthdays and I know I should be there. I yearn to be there.

Many years have now passed. Ironically, my actions which served to protect you, did the exact opposite. My understanding of depression has increased and I realise too, that I didn’t consider how hurtful my actions might be. How hurt you’d feel that I’d cut our friendship off, that I’d “checked out”. How confusing that must have been for you, that your loyal friend became prickly and flaky. How I wasn’t giving you a chance to care, to be a friend. How my many excuses must have felt as though I was fobbing you off. How you must have felt you’d done something wrong.

If I could turn back the clock, I would probably write you a letter to explain what I was going through at the time. I would hope that might have sparked a conversation between us and that we could navigate the hell of depression between us, as a team. We’d still be friends, perhaps even stronger than before because by opening the door of vulnerability to you, it would have allowed you to do the same.

I’m so sorry.

Jayne

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  • v6200man

    I can relate to this bigtime – having a tough spell right now but will try and take this onboard – thank you

  • Rachel Cartwright

    I couldn’t have written this any better myself, I felt this way towards a very good friend of mine and I am so thankful he has still stuck around, even tho I often feel like a bad friend.

  • kathrynbingham1

    I have pushed so many friends away when my depression is really bad- to protect them from me and the awful person I am, Thank you for writing this- I really relate.

    • The Blurt Foundation

      We understand what this is like Kathryn. But the fact you sacrifice friendships in a bid to nutlet your friends suffer in itself proves you are a wonderful person. The thing is though, you’re NOT a burden. Depression just makes you think that. A good friend will understand. Hugs <3

  • Halfaxia

    Most people don’t want to care about people with depression or don’t act like “one of them”. Life is a series of interactions where in you’re walking on eggshells always trying to spare other people’s feelings. Everyone always wants you to walk on their eggshells instead of listening to your feelings, and the moment you voice your feelings and it’s out of line with the majority, your ostracised, you’re the acted out of line.

    No one will ever asked “why do you feel that way?” Unless you have a support group of friends because you act in a certain way, In this contemporary climate you will die a lonely insignificant death.

  • Claire Wallace-Sims

    This really spoke to me. Thank you for writing it

    • The Blurt Foundation

      We hope so Claire. Thank you for commenting 🙂

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  • Gaz

    It’s never too late to say I’m Sorry.

    Incredibly brave and honest

    • Jayne Hardy

      Thank you very much Gaz.