A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend

Dear Friend,

I was not always this way.

I did not always hide away from the general public for months or weeks at a time. Once I was quite confident. I occasionally felt happy. I had a full time job and I could face customers with no concern. I would chat to people over the phone, make an effort to see friends, be interested in daily life. I could cope with negativity. Overcome it, even. I wouldn’t let anything bring me down because I had something inside me that made me keep going out there, into the world, facing it all.

But sometimes, Friend, things happen. Sometimes just one thing. Sometimes many things. The courage to face these things is strong at first, at least stronger than now. But depending on luck, or coincidence, or fate, or opportunity, eventually the voice of that courage for some people is quieter. Weaker. And sometimes, silenced completely.

It is not your fault these things happened. And if you hear the tales of what they were, you will likely hold an opinion in your head of what could have been done or said as a result to resolve the issue. But your experience in this life is not the same as mine, Friend. No matter what we have in common, we can never share the exact same perception. Please make sure not to confuse your perception with mine. We are different.

Sometimes I need a break from people. Usually the people who I don’t yet know completely, but like, and with whom I want to hold some kind of friendship. I’m already tired of feeling anxious and sad and don’t want you to grow tired of me feeling anxious and sad. I’m sure you care and would be happy for me to confide in you, but I’ve confided in friends before and been burned and heartbroken in return. I can’t bring myself to take that kind of risk again.

I’m afraid I won’t be good company. I’m afraid I’ll burden you with my emotions which I don’t feel would be fair on you. I have heard of your struggles too, Friend, and would like to help you, but I can’t. I take all struggles as if they were my own and my load is already far too heavy. Sometimes my whole world is devoid of any good news, and any conversation we could have would be very quiet on my behalf. All I can really do is listen, because if I speak I might burst into tears. But I don’t feel strong enough to pretend to be holding myself together right now, so I’d just rather not.

I’m sorry you feel I’ve been avoiding you. You see me comment on social media but I ignore your messages. This is because commenting on social media is usually not personal. It’s a distraction. It’s a way to have adult conversation without the spotlight being on me. I can do it in my pyjamas without having done my face to look like I’m prettier than I feel on the inside. I don’t run much risk of having to answer the question “How are you?”

…because I don’t want to lie to you. That would make me feel anxious when I’m already feeling anxious. I don’t believe in lying to people, especially people I care about. I don’t want to fake a smile, tell you I’m fine, and divert your questions while screaming inside how I’m anything but fine.

You may see me posting an update about a group I went to, or am going to go to. Maybe inviting someone along. But I still haven’t answered your messages. This does not mean I’m feeling better and have purposely skipped you. This doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. My doctor told me to do things in the community so I don’t completely shut myself off. This is what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get myself back into the habit of being seen in public for something other than to run a quick errand. I’m trying to quell the self-talk in my head that tells me everyone hates me and thinks I’m weird. Sometimes when I meet new people and they smile at me, I think that perhaps I’m not all that strange. “I can do this… I can do this…” I say to myself.

You see, Friend, with a head full of thoughts like mine, there is no invisible ticket machine. In a perfect world I would answer all messages and requests in order, and you’d be able to know when I’m going to call your number. But that’s not how this works. There is no ticket, no number, and if I can’t shut off the feelings inside me, I might never get to you. Or I could respond to you tomorrow. I really have no way of knowing.

To expect that I give you attention specifically is just unrealistic, and I’m sorry. I regret that the nature of this beast is not one where I can gain complete control whenever I want to, and give all the people all the attention they want or deserve. You may be lonely too, and I’m sorry. But I’m training myself to take care of myself and my needs, and to give myself all the attention I deserve, because that’s what is supposed to help me recover, or at least cope.

Part of the reason I got into this mess is because I put everyone else’s needs before mine. And they took, and took, and took some more until there was nothing left, because I was so willing to give. I regret being so naïve. I love to see people happy, but I forget that I need to be happy first. You might not be one of those people of whom I speak, but that’s unfortunately irrelevant. I can’t handle any of it yet.

Maybe we struck a friendship during a time when socialising wasn’t so daunting. Maybe you think it’s totally uncharacteristic of me to be silent and surely you must have caused offense. But Friend, understand that this condition is unpredictable and the best thing you can do is just wait.

There is no forcing a friendship with me. I need time. I’m grieving that part of me that no longer exists and that bright future I thought I was going to have.

As part of my anxious predicament I’m regretting so many things. Things that are long since dead and buried, things that happened yesterday… The way I reacted to something, the person I shouldn’t have trusted but did, the thing I said that surely must’ve made me look like an idiot. The fact that I feel this way in the first place. The fact that I can’t make it stop. The fact that I’m hurting my friends by accident by apparently turning my back on them. The fact that I don’t have the strength to be what my loved ones need any more. The fact that I can’t talk to you about this in person because it’s too hard. The fact that I can’t have friends because I can’t talk to my friends and therefore none of them can begin to understand why it’s hard for me to keep friends. The fact that I am so alone I don’t know when I’ll ever be less alone. The fact that there are people depending on me that deserve better than for me to be so afraid of so many things that I can hardly function.

I’m trying, Friend, and I’m so sorry if you’re hurt by me. If you want to walk away I understand, but please do not convey to me the disappointment that I’m not what you want me to be, because I’ve got enough disappointment in myself for the both of us. Just send me positive thoughts as much as you can spare in the hopes that maybe, one day, I’ll be on the other side of this, and I’ll be so grateful that you were so patient and understanding. When that day comes I will be able to call you a ‘Great Friend.’

Sincerely,

A Nervous Wreck


Read Why I Chose to Speak Out.

For more understanding on anxiety attacks from my own personal story, click here.

Read about The “Mental” Stigma here. 

Read Where I’m Going With This here.

Help end ignorance. Help make this world one of greater understanding and compassion.

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597 thoughts on “A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend

  1. Wow, I’ve been here too. I understand this whole thing so well, it’s like a second skin to me. It’s so beautifully written. It’s so hard to claw out of the long dark hole, and sometimes you fall back in, and the light is so hard to find, but you keep clawing regardless, because clawing and falling is better than sitting there at the bottom all by yourself… Find the light honey. Keep clawing your way up! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your reply was my exact reaction. I said we have high level 1 Empath. People who take in so much vibration of the world and others are prone to shut down from input. My shut down has much neurological basis as a traumatic brain injury survivor, but empaths are, well, empaths. The terrain she describes in her writing is part of being an empath. Anyone who puts pressure on this person is a stranger, maybe masquerading as a friend, but is a stranger. That’s how it looks from here, the second floor. Luka

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend | IN BLACK AND WHITE,JAYSIKUKU BLOG

    • was reading through the comments again and i saw that i had already appreciated this but this comment is very good because it gives a clear action that almost all of us can do- an option that is often forgotten. my daughter unfortunately appears to have a depression problem. she instinctively begins to paint, to draw or to play a guitar most days. she doesn’t care if she doesn’t do it well but i think she is excellent drawer/painter. she knows its theurputic value. how much people who are depressed or anxious forget about this obvious outlet. many depressed people have trauma issues known or unknown and distraction, healthy distraction is best medicine. also if we can do something for another person. anything. this is powerful too. peace Luka

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Success, Excellence, Money, Happiness and Reality | talkingthisandthat

  4. It’s strange when you read something and you have to wonder did the author climb inside and take your deepest thoughts. I find myself reading and re reading this beautiful touching letter and today I have been brave enough to post it on my facebook page and ask my friends to read it. I hope it helps them understand when I disappear into myself which unfortunately happens more often than not.

    Anyway, thank you for knowing me and posting so eloquently
    take care
    xx

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Allow me to share this post. This is so true. And although I do not suffer to a “clinical” level, I have these days. I am up and sometimes I am down. Thank you for putting this letting into words, that I have yet to. Stay strong. Sending positive vibes.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Reblogged this on selenasilver and commented:
    Someone has put how I (sometimes feel) into words. It’s hard some days. Some days it’s all grey, and I get distant. I get sad, and I can’t seem to see out of it. Please be patient with me. It isn’t a choice. Here is the magnificent letter again again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is so scary to read your words because they appear to describe my state. My struggle started 7 months ago, depression and anxiety. I thought I’ve hit rock bottom then but every passing month I realize I’m losing more.
    Thanks for your articulation of the problem, you made me cry but for the first time they’re weren’t only tears of sadness but also tears of relief….I’m not alone. I thank you and all the others commenting here sharing their struggle with depression. I just hope that one day I would be as brave as you and one of the other posters here to post my story on Facebook. I too confined into the “wrong” friends in the past and gloating was all I got from said friends. So since then I’m rather secretive. I’ve been talking to one very good friend, but as you said I worry about scaring her off. It is extremely intense what we go through, even my husband’s capacity for tolerance ran out. I’m now rambling, but I really wanted to thank you for a piece well written. May we all find the way out of this poisonous fog.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Hi J,

        Thanks a lot for your comment. I’m not sure if you ever took a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc its titled I had a dog his name is depression. I saw it 8 months ago before I actually knew what’s going on; watching it made me cry with relief…..whatever it is I had HAD a name, and it can be cured with dedicated work, a good therapist and few good friends. Hang in there buddy, because you WILL pull through 🙂

        May all those seeking some peace of mind achieve it.

        Like

    • Jthought2014,
      I can’t thank you enough for your caring enough to respond and include that incredibly moving video. The part with him at 320 am wide awake and all of these thoughts running through his mind, all while the black dog hovers over. I feel so distant from everything. My situation is anxiety triggered and leaves me paralyzed in fear . . . but one thing that ALWAYS helps no matter what is hearing from other people who can relate. Thank you for your reply and sending peaceful thoughts to you as well. It’s so important to hear from people that they believe you can get through this thick grayness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J,

        You’re most welcome. One way that might help you with Anxiety is a self-help book titled: Mind Over Mood (the book also addresses Depression and slightly anger, shame and guilt). This is recommended by so many therapists around the world and many people use it to to apply cognitive therapy. Basically what you want is to learn to be aware of/ and alter your negative thoughts to avoid them incurring negative feelings. You can order it online, very easy to go through, and each chapter has exercise for you to apply what’ve learned on your own situation. Its’ worth the try I think. Just remember that there is away out of this, it might take longer than we wish but when you commit to the healing process nothing can stop you.

        Like

    • Also jthought2014, I just wanted to say I have the same fear of scaring off a friend who has been there for me and is trying her best to keep me sane. My husband is very supportive as I just need someone to listen, but I can tell it is wearing on him, too:( So I guess I just wanted to say thanks again for sharing that.

      Like

      • You’re most welcome 🙂 I hope things go well with you and your husband, just please remember that it is ok for you to feel how you feel/think without being shamed for it, even by well-meaning people who want you to just snap out of it.

        Like

    • Jthought,
      You are awesome. I’m going to look into that book today. Sounds like it would be a great help to me. I was thinking before that recognizing the onset of anxiety or negative feelings could help (somewhat) prevent that downward spiral.

      It doesn’t help that we just moved across the country away. So I’m trying to find friends here which is hard. Thanks for the advice… Luckily I haven’t had anyone shame me for my feelings. Trying to meet people while you feel like this is difficult so I’m really needing that support from old friends. Plus I can come here and get support from wonderful people like you all!

      Like

      • Hi J,
        Thanks a lot for the peaceful thoughts you’ve sent my way and thanks again for your sweet words, they made my day 🙂 i’m really glad that I can help someone with the experiences I’ve gained over the past 8 months. My latest blog entry is about life shift, and one of its basic factors= self love. I’m not sure if its something you can relate to or if these concepts can help you at this point, but if you have any questions about it or about anything related to this journey of gaining control over our lives again you’re always welcome to ask 🙂
        I hope you’re having a splendid day!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for posting this article. Even though I’m not seeing like in your perspective, there was a time that I almost have depression. I am thankful because I thought I was a bad person. It was hard to keep relationships and friendships because I was not feeling empathy to other people during my past, but now I can feel empathy by reading your blog. Perhaps I’m starting to be good. You helped me feel good about myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please do not be harden yourself. The nature of depression will keep us unaware. Pain, mental pain emotional, physical pain, all have one thing in common: while we walk with heavy amounts; in these times our attention turns your attention to yourself. Not bad or good really- just natural. But being aware helps us to cherish friendships during it all- and that is not easy. Why so many depressives end up alone isolated and marginalized.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe this explains my sister who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She hasn’t returned my messages and I’m worried.

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on HEAVEN'S WHISPERS and commented:
    All I can say is a Big Thank You for bringing awaremess to a very important issue in society today…Please read with an open heart and compassion and do not judge or try to give advise for she is very good at what she does and does it way way out of your range to try to advise her on something she has first hand knowledge and explains it better than anyone I have yet to see…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You just described me to a T! I’ve been considering going to a dr. My insurance will cover it if it is medically necessary. I’m not sure how to know if it is or not… So I haven’t called yet.

    Like

  12. Anxiety and regret… These go hand in hand for me. I have felt waves of anxiety in the past, depression too, but this time there were too many things to deal with all at once. And the regret came in. This time the depression has stayed, and the regret has caused me to look back and regret so many things. In particular, turning people away because of the things you mentioned above. I want to go back and mend fences with these people but we’ve moved across the country (also adding to depression and anxiety) and I’ve been working on it but just wish I could see them in person. Better yet, go back to that time. And here starts that downward spiral. I wish there was a way to connect with people who understand.

    Like

  13. It amazes me how when someone just writes their feelings and state of being without dressing it up, that real people respond. looks like a lot more real people in the world than I had thought. Maybe they hide on nude beaches.
    Thanks for being so incredibly human. Luka.

    Like

    • One problem with having suffered from multiple Mtbi’s is that my memory has been on and off. It is off today and I don’t remember my own comment.

      Peace to all especially my fellow TBI survivors!!
      It is a long road at times, and being invisible by nature- VERY lonely, Keep on!

      Like

  14. Powerful article, really clear and helpful. My son died by suicide and was suffering profound depression. We live on the opposite side ot the continent and had NO idea – he hid it from us well. My heart breaks to think of the pain he was in.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can so relate. It’s so hard to be in the middle of a depression. Everything seems so desperate. I wish I could send your letter to a ‘friend’ that felt the need to end our friendship while I was going through this because I couldn’t be there for her. Still hurts to this day even tho that was years ago. I hope you are doing better. Know you are not alone. Thank you for writing this and expressing what so many of us have gone through.

    Like

  16. Sometimes I wonder why you just dont tell us about what you are going through. But then I remember I did the same to my friends when I had a severe OCD episode. Stay strong on both sides :).

    Like

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