One of the tough lessons I had to learn in dealing with the darker side of mental illness was how to relate to my friends. When I was suicidal and frequently self-injuring, my closest friends backed away from me and, though I understood why, my heart still sank at the thought that the people I needed and wanted the most were the same people I was pushing away. In 2006, self-injury led to yet another hospitalization during which my closest friends decided it was best for all of us to not be in contact with me. Unable to change their minds, I wrote a letter to them in my journal from the hospital. I never showed this letter to them, until now.
July 2, 2006
My Dear Friend,
Because we cannot speak to one another; because we cannot see one another… I write to you. I write to you from the darkness of my prison; from my sea of guilt and shame I write to you.
If the time has come when we must let go of our friendship and renounce the trust we once held so dear, I will let go and I will cherish in my heart the beautiful days and bury the pain of old wounds. But please, with gentleness forgive me. Release me from my demons. Cover me with hope. Then we can truly move on – me in the branches of the weeping willow and you in the strength of the tall oak.
I know no anger as far as our friendship is concerned. You’ve lived your life wielding the sword of truth but have never destroyed the life of another. I’ve laid down all my weapons and allowed every part of my body to be pierced with arrows. Now I wait until my wounds are healed so I can walk – even run – toward my destiny.
All that once was is gone. All that is now will soon be gone. Time is never our friend – it never was. Tomorrow will always be too late. For my sake at least do not let your ill feelings toward me linger. Help me to heal.