An Open Letter to a Suffering Friend

Some of you may find this hard to believe, but I actually have a serious side, AND I have friends… Take a moment to get over the shock of that – boil the kettle,do what you need to do. When you are ready, below are some words I shared with somebody suffering from depression recently. They may be of some help to you, or somebody you know.

Hey there, funky tits…

I’m going to start by apologising for my delayed reply. I have no excuse, only that your message deserved more than a quick generic response. You deserve more, ______. It breaks my heart to think of your pain and suffering, but I need you to hear me when I say this: I am honoured that you opened up to me. Thank you.

I know that the distance between us may make it a little easier for you to come to me, and I get that … but I am so glad and grateful that you did. I also know that you have huge support with your family – it puts my mind at ease to think of you at home with those crazy creatures these days – but I need you to know that you have all my support too. All of it.

I do not know your pain, but I want to try and understand it. I want to be the person that you can call at 3am without a second thought. I want to be the person that can make some sick inappropriate joke that will lift you for even the tiniest moment.

I want to make it all go away. I wish that I could. But I can’t. All I can do is offer you my support, and some thoughts. Maybe they will be of little help to you, or maybe you will find some comfort in them. Please just hear me out.

As I said, I do not know your pain. But, I know that your pain wants to make you feel alone. That way, you are more vulnerable. Please don’t let it do that, my precious _______. Even if you feel like a feeble baby bird in a nest, unable to fly or fend for yourself. Even if you feel like a baby gazelle being pulled from a pack by a vicious lion… please remember, your pain wants you to feel that helpless. You are not that helpless. You are not alone. Please share it with me, it might make it the tiniest bit more bearable.

I’m getting real deep here, maaaaann. But I suppose January can be a reflective time of year. When I think that this time last year … I was probably walking around in my purple dressing gown, consumed with worry about chapter plans for my novel, not having a clue that you were in your dressing gown, consumed by this. But also not having a clue that we would become this close. Isn’t that a scarily, glorious kind of thought? I feel blessed that we have become close, and that through our friendship I have learnt so much about life and perspective.

Although a year is not very long in the world of friendship, I feel like I am in a position to say that everything that you have been through has molded you. You can tell me I’m a total cliche, but I feel that your pain has made you stronger, wise … somebody who really cherishes the value of happiness.

Remember the idle chats we had outside _________ on those worry free afternoons? Remember how we laughed. Remember how capable of being happy that we are. Remember how you would snort and wipe tears of laughter, then take a moment to be mindful of how great it felt to laugh, to have friends, to talk, to live… From that, I learnt so much!

But mostly, remember how tears would spring to your eyes if I told you of other people’s suffering. As if you really understood and felt these random peoples pain. ________, I am sure you have realised this, but compassion and empathy like that are rare and special. In that way, it could be said that your own suffering has made you even more beautiful.

It’s those kind of qualities that drew me to you. You are real, humble, warm and genuine. You do not deserve to suffer any longer.

I wish that I could advise you what to do with your pain. But that is really up to you. I completely understand how doing destructive things might make you feel like you are lessening it for a bit. I get that. Drinking, smoking, eating, harming …. I understand the search for anything that will deaden it. Anything that will distract you for even a moment, probably feels right. But you know it’s not. I know that you know.

The fact that your suffering has lead you to who you are, makes me feel as if you could use it as a tool. Sometimes, the people who let their pain in, understand where it comes from, are the best … and eventually happiest people!

You have stood in front of pain, been broken by it. And that is probably why I love you so dearly. Because of it, you have become compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic, warm, understanding, positive, humble, real, hilarious … a million things that my descriptive skills will never even touch on the beauty of.

Every time I think that somebody as special as you could suffer so horrifically, a knot of discomfort forms within me. It is unfair. I don’t know why or how that happens. But it does. And I am here for you when that happens.

I don’t know if any of this helps. But I hope it does. Maybe not right now. Maybe later.

Anyway, I am here for you. You absurd, charming being.
I love you so very much,
Caoimhe x


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