For Everyone Who Is Friends With Someone Who Has Depression

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a tremendous opportunity to “strip the stigma” from those of us who have suffered, or are suffering, from various emotional and mental illnesses in our lives. This piece is a tribute to the friends who have stood by us in our fight, who recognize our value, and know that #ImNotCrazy
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To Our BFF,

Thank you for becoming our friend. Maybe we’ve known each other since we were both small kids. Maybe we took a class together, or just happened to sit next to each other on the bus. Maybe we go to the same school, or share a workplace, or maybe we live halfway across the world from each other.

Thank you for listening. We know that being friends with us means a lot of late nights for you. It means hearing our sadness, our fears, our emotional illness in full force. We know how draining it is for you. We know we are saddling you with our pain, but we don’t know where else we would go with it. Even when it seems like we are just talking in circles, you are lightening the load for us, making things easier.

Thank you for pushing us. You know when we truly need time to ourselves, and when we need to get up and…live. You call us, despite us bleating that we are “too tired”. Even as we reject your weekend plans for us, having someone who asks can make all the difference.

Thank you for telling us it is okay. Somehow you always understand. Your patience seems never-ending. Everyday we expect you to be like, “omg you are an annoying little shit! BYE Felicia”, but it never comes.

Thank you for making time. You always pick up our calls, even when it is 2:00am and you are on a super promising third date with your dream girl. You tell her that you have to go, and you come and wrest the wine bottle out of arms so that you can share a drink with us. We never have breakdowns when it is convenient, but somehow your watch is almost always set to our time.

Thank you for dealing with our anxious moments. You could probably write a Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook with all the content we give you. How you keep listening as we describe how our acne is probably fatal, or our headache is probably a brain tumor, we have no idea — but we are so grateful you do.

Thank you for dealing with our sad moments. Remember that time after winning five straight games of Euchre that we told you how we were a big loser who wasn’t good at anything? Or when we binge ate mozzarella sticks and lectured you about how we would certainly die alone? You expend no limit of energy in trying to convince us otherwise. It is almost like you bring out graphs, charts, and sloppily made Prezi slideshows and say, “See here, its not just me saying this, Figure 3-C clearly shows that you are not a moron!!”

Thank you for all the times you could have given up on us, but you didn’t. Everybody would understand, but the thought doesn’t cross your mind.

Thank you for calling us out on our bullshit. We have a lot of it sometimes. Like when we told you that we didn’t want to go to college, and twiddled our thumbs as application dates flew by. We told you that we weren’t smart enough. We told you that we were happy. You told us no, and also that there would be no more binge watching Law and Order SVU until we applied.

Thank you for encouraging us to get treatment. Because your love helps, but you aren’t a professional.

Thank you for the time that you told us that we made your life better. It was the most beautiful thing we ever heard.

Thank you. You are so loved, so needed, so valuable. There may be times where instead you feel so unappreciated, so used, so jerked around. Sometimes we have so many negative emotions and feelings they are directed at you, because you are the one person we trust to handle them. You are the reason we slog on against the current. You are the reason we have endured. We are working to get better — we promise — and we can’t wait to see you at the finish line.

Love,

Your Friend With Depression

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