of unsound mind (a letter I’ll never send)

A letter to my friends (that I’ll probably never be brave enough to send),

I can’t believe another year has almost passed and once again I find myself in a position where I have to thank you for your help, your patience and your understanding. These days you’ll be relieved to hear that there are a few optimistic moments scattered illiberally amongst the darkness and I hope that as the next year progresses I can share these with you more and keep the blackness hidden a little better (I think I’m getting better at this but it would be nice to end a year not having to apologise). Those of you who manage to stick around, that is. I intend absolutely no blame or accusation when I say this but I’ve noticed the gaps in communication these days. Chats are shorter, the space between them longer and the willingness to allow me to dwell on my feelings and talk through them has lessened. I understand. I hope you’ve noticed that I’ve tried to stop doing this and that I’ve tried to stop bothering you. For me all this remains heightened and scary despite the fact that it’s now normal; for you it must only be boredom. I can imagine the rolling eyes when once again I’m too weak to pretend it’s all OK. I know the tiredness that must drag down your shoulders every time you see that that new message is from me and not someone (anyone!) else.

You are the only people I have and all communication is valued and needed. It took me a long time to trust people and while I am grateful to have you in my life, I’m sorry that I had to choose this time to break down. I wish I had met you long ago. I was fun then, a little silly maybe but in a good way I think, I laughed a lot, had opinions, was brave, sought out new experiences. You would have liked me, I think.

So, we reach the end of the year. I’m ashamed to say that, for me, it’s an achievement. I’m ashamed also that I wasn’t there for you in the tough times that you must have been through but have kept quiet or glossed over. All I can say is that at the start of this year, I desperately wished I had never made it (as some of you know, I had tried several times not to make it); I was angry and disappointed that I had. And there have been many times during this year that I neither wanted to nor believed I would see 2016. And yet, here it comes. And now that it’s coming, I don’t feel those same emotions that I did last year quite so keenly or so frequently. They come sometimes. They can be fierce and acute and terrifying still.

But I’m learning bit by bit not to talk about them and to find my own way through and I hope that by doing this we can keep in touch and one day we can chat at length and often once again. I hope that as this year progresses, I can work through this and I hope that I can hide the dark moments better and pretend more. I’m sorry I still forget to do this sometimes. I never thought of myself as selfish until these past couple of years; I was certainly never an attention seeker. You may find both of these claims hard to believe…

So, what I want to say is I hope you can stick with it. I’m asking you, if you can bear it, to give me the benefit of the doubt and hold on a little bit longer before you completely give up. I know it’s hard and it’s boring and I have no right to ask but if you can, maybe I can find the old me. As I said, you would have liked me, I think.

And thank you once again for everything. There are times when I genuinely would not have got through without your help. I’m lucky to know people like you – sometime, somewhere, somehow, I must have done something right to deserve to know such kind and fun and interesting and smart and talented people, and to call you my friends.

Happy New Year! I hope it’s a good one for all of you, with only the best of everything. It’s all you deserve.

All my love, always x

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