There is a reason my name is not on this story and that is that I would lose a few friends should they read it.
Because here’s what I want to say, make that plead, out loud for what I wish could be the last time – “get thee to therapy!”
I’m not saying all my friends need to do this, only the ones who keep talking about it, in many cases for years, even decades.
And meanwhile the conversation stays the same.
I know it is an honour for friends to share and show their vulnerabilities and I don’t take the responsibility lightly. I understand that mental illness is complicated and respect that it takes time and strength to get help.
But that said it is also hard witnessing those I love struggling with issues that often escalate in to alcohol, drugs, violence, self harm and abuse yet do nothing about it. To see my friends in such pain admit they need help yet choose denial and refuse to reach for it.
Now, I’m not bullying the mentally ill here (save me the nasty tweets, please) – I am the mentally ill. I have suffered chronic depression and every second of it was a living hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Which is why I will always shout as loud and as often to fellow sufferers that there is help out there. I reached out for it and it was the best thing I ever did.
Ironically, I believe this is why my friends open up to me in the first place. They are aware of my battle with the black dog and they know I have done everything I possibly can to tame the beast and live a happy life. They see I am proof that therapy and meds can make a huge difference in turning their life around. What’s more, they see I have absolutely no shame in admitting to having sought help.
Regardless, I still find myself trying to convince those close to me that they can be helped too. Time and time again I will hear their pain and try to be their cheerleader for life.