Missing you.

I want you to know I was walking with a friend tonight and you came up. I’ve never talked to him about you.

I want you to know that when he asked, I couldn’t say your name. No one here in thisĀ  place has ever heard your name come from my lips.

I want you to know that what you did still hurts. I know it’s been six years.

I want you to know that the loyalty I have toward you is still very real. Sometimes that’s why I don’t like telling people about you. Because when I do, other people get mad at you. When I tell them what happened, no matter how bright a light I paint you in, they don’t like you. And I hate that.

He told me that, when it comes to friendship, once I’m friends with someone, I’m friends with them forever. I didn’t know people could read that about me. I wonder if he could feel it because he’s one of those people.

You were too.

The difference is I tell myself that he could leave me and disregard my friendship any time he wants. That’s completely his prerogative. If he decides he’s done being friends with me, it will be horrible. But it will be his choice and if he wants to make that choice, I will be okay with it.

With you, I told you I was afraid of people leaving me and you told me you never would.

And then you did.

I’ve learned, and am learning, to hold friendships closely but loosely. You were the reason I had to learn.

And still, I’m missing you.

-Melissa

 

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How.

How do you start the conversation?

How do you ask for help? How do you say you’re not okay?

Honestly, it’s weird being an adult and not being okay. As a kid and as a student, there was someone to go to. I’m not talking friends or relatives or anything like that. I mean there was always someone there who was specifically there for you to go talk to if needed.

But now? I’m still wrestling with how much your supposed to tell your boss. And I struggle with the fact that I work in an environment that doesn’t seem to keep things as private as it should.

And another thing? When I’m searching for help online, I don’t know what I’m looking for. I don’t know how my insurance works, I don’t know what you’re really able to tell from a website, and I don’t know if everything available is actually online.

I don’t know how to tell my friends I’m not okay. I don’t know how they’ll react or how I want them to. I don’t know know if or how it will change the way they view me or speak to me. I just don’t know. I don’t even think I want anything from them. I just want them to know.

It’s just odd because… well, I’m so high functioning. And I very much understand why people say that those that are high functioning with depression are the scariest. Because I know the picture I’m portraying. I know that, even when I show that it’s not good, I never show how bad it actually is.

There’s not really a point to all of this. Living with depression is hard. And, because I never actually deal with things, when the busyness stops, it gets so much worse. So I guess I’m just keep keeping myself busy.

I don’t really want to keep this to myself. But I don’t know how to start the conversation.

-Melissa

Father’s.

It’s Father’s Day.

I forgot how much you don’t like Father’s Day until I was sitting in church this morning and something reminded me of you. Something reminded me of the Father’s Day years ago when I was sitting in a different church and you texted me that it was Father’s day, I typed, “Yes?” and you replied, “I hate this day.”

This morning, I felt your pain again. I’m sorry that you hate this day. You deserved a dad who acted like your dad. You deserved a dad who showed his love to you, who taught you how to be wise, who shared your humor, and who was there for you. And your mom deserved to have help; she deserved to not have to be both parents. Though I will say I always loved how you celebrated her both on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Today – and this is kind of a long shot – but today, I bet you felt those same feelings but they were matched with feelings of fear. Today, I bet you felt inadequate. Today, I bet you hoped desperately that you will be the father to your son that you needed.

Don’t worry too much about it, okay? Because you will be. You’ll do whatever you can for him. You’ll love him and teach him and, goodness knows, you’ll get him rolling his eyes very early with all of your dad jokes. You are loving and caring and gentle. You will show him what it’s like to be human in this crazy world and you will absolutely fail sometimes. But that’s okay. Because you can teach him that failing is okay, humbleness is necessary, and you move forward and learn from your mistakes.

I am sorry if you’ve felt pain and fear today. I hope you’ve also experienced joy and love. You deserve joy and love.

Happy first Father’s Day to you my brother.

-Melissa

Stop.

Writing is supposed to help. So here it goes.

I feel like I need to apologize to you. I know, I know, I shouldn’t apologize. But, in my defense, you haven’t heard why yet.

I’m sorry for not speaking. I’m sorry for falling into a pattern where I don’t speak around you. I never expect you to read my mind. I’m just quiet. I was thinking about it and it’s gotten worse. As it does sometimes. Sometimes I get stuck in these ruts. But it feels long this time. And since you’ve had less on your plate, you’ve had less to talk about, and there’s more silence when we’re together. And for that I’m also sorry; I know you don’t like the silence.

I tried to figure out why I was quiet and it’s at least two fold.

The first is the depression. Sometimes I like to act like it doesn’t exist and sometimes I wonder how valid you think it is. Like if it’s real or not. Day like today, yesterday, the day before? They make me believe it’s real. And when I have bad days, everything compiles. My anxiety starts it off and then I’m bombarded with pain. And the things from my life that are painful or unresolved rise to the surface. It works to cover itself with exhaustion and irritability. And I find the best way to solve it sometimes is to just stay quiet. Especially because sometimes there’s nothing wrong. Sometimes I’m just in the worst mood and my mind isn’t working and I have nothing to say.

The second reason I think I’ve been quiet is because… I’m afraid you’ll stop being friends with me. Let me just say before your mind runs off that this is not because of anything you did. In truth, it has nothing to do with you. I’ve just… I’ve been left enough times that I expect it again. When I met you, I had no intentions of becoming friends with you. I wanted to; I knew we’d get along. But I knew I shouldn’t. Because becoming friends with someone is a vulnerable experiment and I’ve had enough times where it didn’t turn out too well. But here we are. You’ve become a friend that I’ve grown to care deeply about and that puts me in a very, very dangerous position. The thought of you turning away from me and never looking back sends waves of sadness through me.

I’ll just stop there. Because I can’t really tell you any of this.

-Melissa

 

Twice.

I kind of have a horrible habit. If you ask me a question about myself, I will very readily lie.

No, no. That’s not the horrible part.

The horrible part is if you ask it twice, I’ll most likely tell you the truth.

You see, I told her I missed someone and she thought I’d said, “I miss God.” I laughed and said, “Well, that too. But no, I said I miss so-and-so.” She raised her eyebrows and questioned me: “What do you mean you miss God?” I laughed her off again and told her I’d just been kidding. She paused and then asked, “Were you really kidding? What did you mean?”

I could feel that moment of hesitation that would give me away even if I had lied again. I finally told her, well no, I hadn’t been kidding.

We’re going to skip the part where she gave me the Christian answer that isn’t helpful and didn’t really ask any questions about my current predicament. Because that’s not the point here.

The point here is that, if you ask me a question about myself, I’ll lie. For many reasons: I don’t want you to view me differently depending on my answer, I don’t want to seem weak, I don’t want to burden you, I don’t think talking will help, I don’t want you to have something to use against me, I don’t believe you really want to know, I believe that even if you think you want to know you won’t once you actually know, etc., etc., etc. Basically? A lot of fear.

What would happen if I was just… open and honest all the time? I don’t really know. If I just said what I was thinking? If I just answered questions honestly? Looking down that road, trying to imagine what that would be like? Maybe it should be a road paved with freedom and overgrown with a lightness I can’t describe. But that’s not what I see when I imagine it. No. I see loss and rejection and loneliness.

Hmm. I may never have to see which road it leads to. I don’t know that I could ever be open. And, not that I will ever, ever, hold them accountable to this (and nor should I – clearly), but people don’t know that, to get me talking, you ask the same question twice.

-Melissa

Changed.

We were talking and joking and I said something that made you both laugh. My comment made you both agree that nothing has changed. That I haven’t changed.

This was a little concerning to me. My mind spun for a moment before I drew myself back.

I haven’t changed? In over a year since you haven’t seen me, nothing has changed? I’m worried by that sentiment because I know where I was a year ago. I’m coming to one of three conclusions:

1.) I hid it a lot better than I thought I did while I knew you. I must have isolated myself to the point where you really don’t see a change in me since then. Maybe I put on some sort of mask when I was with you and didn’t let anything I was feeling leak from me. The anxiousness and irritability and sadness and utter emptiness… Maybe I kept them all and more from you undetected.

2.) Maybe you saw all those things and still see them now. And that’s concerning because I don’t feel them now. At least not as consistently and constantly. I didn’t feel them sitting there with you two days ago. So if you continue to see those things in me, I’m confused as to how.

3.) You ignored everything I’d said to you in the past. You ignored the pain in my eyes and wrote me off. Even when I told you it was there, you still chose to see only the good things I presented. So of course now I look no different. Of course now I sound the same. Because you aren’t listening. You’re choosing what to hear. You wrote off my depression as just me whining or complaining or being pessimistic. A year ago, you were ignoring… me.

You know, the third point is the one I’m afraid is correct. And that sucks. When I was severely depressed, there were a few people around me who … hurt me. Not intentionally. Not maliciously. I would highly doubt they even know.

I had someone reproach me for not getting enough sleep at a time I was afraid to go to sleep because I’d have bad dreams and it would end in me waking up and having to face yet another day. I had someone tell me how much they cared about me only to never make time for me again. I had people talk down to me, belittle me, and offer a lot of challenge and little to no support. When I told someone I’d been hurt by others during that time because of all of this, she replied, “Well, what do you want them to do?” or “What do you expect them to do?” in a condescending tone. I even had someone, after I told him people never cared enough to follow up with me, promise me he would follow up.

He never did.

Now, I don’t know exactly what I needed or wanted from these people. I guess I wanted to know I was cared for. Because they would tell me they did care for me but then there was never any evidence to support that.

I don’t know what my point is. I guess if someone tells you they are depressed or severely depressed, know they chose those words carefully and they know what they mean. Know that talking down to someone is hurtful and makes them feel like you think they’re worthless. Know that when someone tells you something incredibly painful, you should probably follow up, not act like it never happened.

Know that I have changed. In the year since you’ve seen me, I’m not the same person anymore. The depression is mild and the more severe bouts come in waves that are far apart from one another. I’m not drowning anymore. Breathing comes easily a good, fair amount of the time now. I’m not suffocating anymore. There are still incredibly hard days and some of those days turn into weeks. But now the good days outnumber the bad and, when you last were with me, the good days were so few and far between that I couldn’t remember what they tasted like.

I’m afraid that the fact that you don’t see that change means you were never really looking to begin with.

-Melissa

Robbed.

I could feel shock go through me. My eyes grew wide, my mouth gaped for a moment, and I asked him to repeat himself.

He did. He hadn’t realized I didn’t know.

How was I supposed to know? You haven’t spoken to me in over a year.

Tears came to my eyes immediately, but I quickly composed myself and focused my attention back to him. This wasn’t about you. This conversation was about what he was saying to me, about the life changes he was going through. And I could give him my complete attention.

A little while later though, my mind repeated the same phrase over and over again. Instead of your name, I kept saying “my best friend.”

But really? You? You’re my best friend? You? Of all people? You who left me without looking back? You who made one horrible life decision after another? You who deserted me? You who turned your back on the support I offered you? You who dismissed people who have always loved you? You who robbed me of the honor and blessing of sharing this life together with our other friends and family? You who I called brother unabashedly and proudly only to be tossed aside as if I were someone you knew for a day?

No. No, you’re not my best friend. ‘Friend’ is a sacred word to me and it will be reserved for those who care for me and allow me to care for them.

I have learned one thing within the past fourteen months: You are not the person I thought you were.

-Melissa