Dear friend who just knew…

Dear friend who just knew,

You are the one who did not need a telephone call with endless tears on the other line, or this need for an explanation, evidence, proof, to understand how badly I was struggling. You had no questions to ask, other than “are you okay”, no need for me to talk it out so you could know where exactly I was coming from. You just knew. And when I say you just knew, I mean that somehow through our telepathic bond, our connection like no other which normally grew during difficult times, something in your gut instinct told you I wasn’t okay. It took a lot to open up to you and I’m sure I haven’t even told you the whole lot of it. But I want you to know that despite you not knowing the facts, you never questioned them. You took all the behavioural changes – my cry out for help, my sadness hidden by a forceful smile, my lack of energy or enthusiasm to go out and enjoy my time with my friend – as a huge warning sign that something wasn’t quite right. When you suffer from a mental illness, it is difficult to open up and tell people how you feel, therefore when you meet someone who just knows, you need to hold onto them forever. Sometimes, this friend doesn’t need to know what exactly you are going through, the most important thing is that they know something is up and they are there for you. Dear friend who just knew, this is for you. You texted me on a day because some higher force in this world was telling you to do so – and that day was one of my worst. You had an inkling that I wasn’t my 100% best, or I wasn’t coping, and you took not only two seconds out of your day to send me a quick text, you also rang me, you encouraged me to go out, but didn’t push the boundaries in a way that I felt worse about myself, you stayed on the phone to me for hours on end, not in the way that other people ring to bombard me with their own problems, but you rang me and made sure I was okay, and let me know that if I wanted to talk to you I could. And when you saw that I was really struggling, you knew the type of questions to weave into our conversation to get me to speak. But the best part was, my friend, that you never pushed it. You saw the days that were difficult, you let it go. Not in a way that diminished how I felt or my pain, but in a way that could distract me from the thoughts I was having, or the anxiety that I was feeling. At times when I would open up, you would agree and empathise with me, not in a disrespectful way to those that are suffering, but in a way that was enough to clear my head. I never knew if you were lying – making it up so I could feel better about myself – or exaggerating the facts, but whatever your approach may have been, it worked. For that split moment where you said “I understand, I experience that too” I felt a lot less alone. And again, you just knew – what was wrong, the right words to say, the wrong words to say and the best approach to take.

I may not be able to show you my gratitude in words, but I will try in actions. If you are ever in need, I promise you that I will do my best to watch out for the signs, to make sure I notice if you’re not being your best self. After all, isn’t that what a friendship is? I thank you for everything you have done for me and promise you that our friendship will only grow deeper from here. Sometimes, when suffering from a mental illness, even your greatest friend can be degraded by your mind and that unwanted envy seems to form amongst the two of you – why is their life so great and mine isn’t? But not with us. There is no envy.  There is no doubt. I just know.

With nothing but love,

Your grateful friend.

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