While on my journey to a better place emotionally, I came to some realizations about the way my struggle with mental illness has impacted the lives of those around me. I don’t make excuses for the hurt that I’ve caused. Depression is perhaps an explanation, and it was certainly not my intention at the time, but the fact remains that I hurt people. This is for anyone and everyone who shared in my suffering.
I’m sorry for pushing you away when you reached out to help me. I may have made you feel that the help you were offering was not what I needed. You probably didn’t know how to help, and I did little to enlighten you. Defeated, you withdrew from me. I don’t blame you for that in retrospect. You may have tried repeatedly to spend time with me, but I was not interested in socializing. Eventually you stopped inviting me out. I’m sorry that I blamed you for giving up on me. In truth, it was you who lost a friend in me.
I’m sorry for casting a dark shadow over you when you tried to brighten my spirits with positive messages. I poisoned your happy thoughts with negativity at every turn. Nothing you said got through to me, that must have been exhausting and discouraging. I may have dimmed the light that glows inside you, and I feel truly saddened by this realization.
I’m sorry for not being supportive of you. I was so consumed by darkness that it did not occur to me that other people were struggling too. I was not available to the people I love to offer support and encouragement. I expected so much of everyone, but offered nothing in return.
I’m sorry for scaring you. At the time, I felt like a burden on everyone. I wanted so badly to relieve you of that burden, by whatever means necessary. You were probably terrified to know that I had lost the will to live, and felt helpless. In my misguided attempt to relieve you of this burden, I instead placed more weight on your already weary shoulders.
I’m sorry for not celebrating your joys and successes, I was not fully present at meaningful times in your life. It was painful for me to watch others thriving, and it was easier to not share in the celebration. But you deserve better from me. You deserve to be built up and celebrated.
I’m sorry that I became defensive, and misinterpreted your kind words as judgement. You were truly trying to support me and I allowed the demons in my mind to twist your words. I accused you of attacking me, of plotting against me. I spit on your help. I stomped on it.
I’m sorry that the most innocent ones around me suffered the most… my children, my dogs. I’m sorry that I didn’t snuggle you more or shower you with kisses. I’m sorry for not running through the field with you, the life had been sucked out of me, but you didn’t understand that. You felt the tension and uncertainty of my darkness most deeply, and yet you were there by my side. Every day. You did not leave me alone. You showed me how to express love when I forgot how. You showed me that I can be loved at a time when I felt I did not deserve it. You felt my pain with me. You shared it with me, and helped me carry the weight in your young souls. This is perhaps the most tragic realization of all. I’m sorry that for even a moment, I thought that your life would be better without me in it. My biggest regret in this life is that I even considered leaving you alone in the world. My decision to devote myself to you is what saved me. You saved me. But I’m sorry for what you had to endure in doing so.
During a time when I felt incredibly alone and abandoned, I was actually surrounded by love and encouragement. You were rooting for me. You prayed for me. You loved me when I was not very loveable. I cannot go back and change the way I treated you. I cannot take back the mistakes I made. But I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused, and I can see things clearly now. I can return your love. I can share in your joy. I can support you in your time of need. I can be better than I was, and I will. If I can right my wrongs in some small way by returning the love and support I received, or bringing more compassion to this world, then I will do everything in my power to do so. I dragged you through Hell with me, it is the least I can do.
(This post originally ran on Unrestrained Laughter.)
About the author: Bonnie Guy is a SAHM to two wild and imaginative kids and shares stories of overcoming adversity and her family’s adventures at http://www.unrestrainedlaughter.com. She can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unrestrainedlaughter, on twitter https://twitter.com/unrestrainedlaf, and on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/unrestrainedlaf/.