A Letter Series: 2/ 📝

Dear Friend

I’ve not known you long but we became good friends (at least I think so) pretty quick. We have had many in-person conversations about various topics and I’ve always appreciated spending time with you, being able to be open about my mental health, and not shy away from hard subjects. You’re one of the very few people in my life that I actually see and speak to face-to-face which is a big thing.

Barring mental health professionals, doctors, my mum and my cat I actually don’t get to talk to people much so when I do get to see you in-person I value that a lot. I may not (probably don’t) always show it but I wish I could communicate how important our interactions are. Despite how open I’ve been always been sharing some of the darkest parts of my life with you, recently I’ve been feeling more distant. We don’t talk much apart from the increasingly rare day when we see each other. Writing this down comparing it to my first letter in the series there’s clearly a pattern. I wish we talked more often than we do.

It’s tricky navigating whether this is a me problem or a we problem. I’m inclined to say the problem is more me than you though. I understand I’m not an ‘easy’ friend. Mental illness is tough to confront. Life is busy and complicated. It’s hard to know what to say or how to help especially with chronic issues. I don’t (and never have) expected you to fix me. I don’t expect you to have all or any answers. I just wish our friendship wasn’t so lifeless in between our meet ups. There’s a thing I’ve come to learn about needs: people can’t read your mind. If you want something your best bet is to ask for it. So I did.

Communicating my needs has been challenging but I’ve tried my best to explain how I am so often consumed by loneliness. That excluding my online friends I have no one to talk to. That it would mean so much if you could occasionally check in with me. That once in a while it’d be nice to hear from you. I’ve mentioned how this makes me feel like a burden. That maybe I’m too clingy. You have reassured me I’m not. Yet any answer that isn’t “I am okay” is met with silence.

It’s okay if you don’t know what to say when I open up about difficult subjects. It’s okay to say “I don’t know what to say but I’m listening/have read your message”. Leaving me with no response after I’ve written a sensitive message just makes me want to curl up and never message you again. Not because of you but because I feel burdensome. This lack of communication makes me feel I’m too much. Maybe I am and that’s okay. It’s okay to say “I don’t have the capacity to support you right now” or “I need time to respond to you properly”.

As I’ve written before all I need to do is send you a message just once and my phone will place you in my frequently contacted lists because my reality is I have no one. What may be a simple little message to you might be the only message I’ve received for a while.

You’re a good person. Sometimes I wonder whether the difference in our realities (due to the nature of my mental health) renders our friendship incompatible. Maybe. It’s something I’m thinking about more often these days.

Sahil ⚡

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