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A Letter To My Best Friend: Let’s Talk About Depression

Hey,

I know that things have been difficult lately and I think I owe you a big explanation. But first, I owe you an apology. I am sorry for not always telling you everything, I’m sorry for breaking my promise, but I didn’t want anything to change our friendship. The truth is that you are the only person who still makes me laugh, like proper whole-hearted genuine laughter and I didn’t want to complicate that with conversations about my messy mental illness.

I didn’t want to worry you, we just aren’t the type of girls that make things complicated–we are careless and drink too much and apologize far too little and even now, I’m struggling to find a place for my depression amongst our mess. I don’t expect you to understand, I just want you to listen and know where my head stands. We’ve been through a lot together and I believe we can make it through this.

I wish things could go back to being as great and simple as they were two summers ago when choosing a haircut was our biggest dilemma. I wish that my depression was as easily resolved as the arguments you have with your boyfriend. But it’s not. I’m learning to live with this and hope you can too. I’m sorry for not spitting it out sooner, but wouldn’t it be weird if when you were crying over him, I was crying over…me. I feel so lucky that through the ups and the downs and the transatlantic journeys and late night drives we’ve always had each other’s backs–I trust that you’ll pull me through this too. You make me believe that I can do anything and you make me believe that I can fight this.

Even before you knew about my illness, you were helping me–subconsciously you were helping me fight my battles and if nothing else that’s a testament to the great friend you are. I am so glad that you force me to leave the house, if you didn’t make me do things, I would literally do nothing. I wouldn’t get out of bed or shower and I certainly would not go to school. This may shock you; the more consuming the depression becomes the more I start to fade. You are so important to me–you are a constant bright light in an increasingly gray world- you make me still feel like myself.

Also, whilst I’m still apologizing, I am so sorry that I don’t always answer your calls. I value you so much, but some days reaching my phone, even if it’s just on the other side of my bed, requires more energy than I actually have. Please don’t think that I’m ignoring you, that I don’t have time for you–I do and always will have, even if my brain can’t process you some days.

I’m glad I can tell you this, that I can talk to you about anything. Sharing makes this easier, bottling it up has caused nothing but pain and I’m so grateful to you, for always being willing to share the burden–you give me the strength to make it to tomorrow. It’s hard sometimes and sure, I get really low, but I’d never leave you alone in this world.

Just please don’t smother me. I know you and I know you mean well and just want to protect me, but let me live my life, still. I appreciate all the love and support you have always given me so freely, but please know that I have to learn to love myself and it’s the one thing you cannot help me with. Thank you for your efforts, though you keenness to help means the world to me.

Finally, I just wanted to say thank you, from me and the other mentally ill teenagers to you and all the best friends like you, for being people we can count on no matter what. My life is better for having you be a part of it, even on days when getting out of bed feels like turning the cogs in the Doomsday machine. Thank you for always being my cheerleader, for never judging me and for keeping it real. You keep my head up high and my feet firmly on the ground and I know that together we can tackle this.

Cheers Pal, for everything you have done and continue to do.

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Chloe is 17 and British. On the rare occasion she's seen without a pen in hand, she's probably on the hunt for stronger coffee or dreaming about city lights. In 10 years time she hopes to be a published author or living it up in San Francisco. For all enquiries please contact: gainfordchloe@gmail.com

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