It’s not you, it’s me: An open letter to my friends

Today is World Mental Health Day. I am going to do my part by “coming out” to some friends that I have missed. I am going to share this post (and the truth about my mental illness) with a few good friends who I have lost touch with.

Hi Friend,

I know that I haven’t been in touch enough (or at all) in a year (or two, or three). But I want you to know that I think of you often and wonder how you are doing.

I really hope that I haven’t hurt you by not being there for you when you needed a friend. I know that lots has happened in your life this past while and I am so sorry that I haven’t been there to celebrate and be with you.

I also want you to know that the reason that I have fallen off the face of the earth-as-you-know-it has nothing to do with you. I like you. A lot. I want to be friends. That’s why I am writing you this letter.

As you read through this blog, you will see that I’ve been really sick lately. It’s ok. Please don’t worry. I’ll get better.(I hope.)

I imagine that the connection between my sickness and my inability to be a good friend is clear- but maybe it’s not. One aspect is that it is really hard for me to think ahead and make any social plans because I never know how I may feel the next week. And sometimes when I try to write you a message, I get so nervous and unsure thinking about when I could commit to seeing you that I just delete the draft.

It’s also really hard for me to remember that anyone actually wants to be my friend. Sometimes I forget that I ever had any friends at all.

But when I am able to remember, I miss our friendship and I think about how I will work to rebuild it one day and I hope that you will take me back. I’m just not sure when that will be and I really don’t want to keep messaging you when I feel okay and then letting you down again by disappearing.

So, the purpose of this letter is just to say hi and I’m thinking of you and please don’t take it personally if you have invited me somewhere and I didn’t come. Even if this happened more times than you care to count. In addition to the normal craziness of having a full time job and two small kids, sometimes the pressure of having social plans, even though I want to see you, is just too much for me that in order to protect my anxiety for the week before, I need to turn down invitations that I would love to take. And sometimes I forget what month it is or that time keeps passing in the outside world while I hibernate. And sometimes I just go batshit crazy.

I wish that I could tell you that I’m back and I’m ready to be a reliable friend.

But right now, I’m frustratingly not able to have a day where my crazy doesn’t trump everything else. I know that I’m still no picnic to be around.

But… if you like going out with someone who forgets to brush the back of her hair and gets distracted and confused three times while trying to pay for a bagel, I’m your girl. And if you like coming to someone’s house for coffee and cleaning their kitchen while they shower, before making yourself a coffee, come on by. And if you like making plans with a friend who will not travel to where you are and may or may not cancel for no good reason, I’m here.

Lyla (or whatever you call me…)

My kind of friendship

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