*Personal post, but the message behind it will be used in an upcoming post about those of us with a mental illness & the expectations we should have of our friends, and that they should have of us*
Dear ______ ,
Okay, I’ve reflected some more and I’ve read back the blog I removed. I understand entirely how it would’ve come across to you. I understand and accept it hurt you. It’s not ideal how I communicated my distress. Although I removed it and apologised, I cannot take it back. I appreciate that. And I guess I can see why you blame me and can’t let go of it. I would find that hard too. I spent a lot of yesterday mentally beating myself up… thinking I deserved to be abandoned by you. Thinking it was all my fault. Thinking what a terrible person I am. I know how awful it was to post my feelings ‘publicly’ like that, and I regret it.
That being said, I have to draw a line at that and say I’m not taking all the blame here. Whilst what I did upset you, it was as a result of things you had done that upset me… we had problems long before that. I’m not saying you deserved it. What I’m saying is that I was not of sound mind…I was isolated… having a breakdown, was suicidal almost every day. I felt neglected, rejected and a burden to you, because of the way you spoke to me and weren’t talking to me. I had paranoia, which you didn’t understand and took personally. I felt you started doing something more once you knew it hurt me. I was calling out for friendship and support, and received none. I thought you didn’t care if I lived or died. And having rejected me and having made me feel like a burden, you were then sitting back and waiting for me to get in touch with you again – that was never going to happen… it was impossible for me to do that. The ball was in your court. I needed you to make the effort. But you never would have. Had I not blogged, you would never have spoken to me again. I couldn’t speak to you. So while it was not ideal that I blogged about it, I honestly didn’t know what else to do at that point. I did what I thought was best. Even if looking back I can see it wasn’t best, in that moment it was the only thing I could think to do, to break the deadlock and try to maintain our friendship.
I know that backfired, but I didn’t think it would in that moment. I did it with the best intentions in the world. I did it because I didn’t want to lose you (fear of abandonment with BPD makes you do desperate things to avoid being abandoned… some that don’t make sense), but I needed you to understand that I couldn’t get in touch with you. I admit that my words didn’t come out in the best way. And for that I am sorry. But what I need you to understand is that I was in a very desperate, dark, lonely and painful place – I was being abandoned by my one last friend… I felt I was losing everything … after all my grief and mental illness over the previous year, I was now losing my best friend. It was gut-wrenching. I was hurt. I was scared. I was paranoid and splitting – I know you don’t understand how that feels or what it means.
I wish you could have read that blog and rather than seeing it as an attack on you, I wish you could’ve seen the pain in my words… the loneliness and desperation. That is all I’ve ever wanted from you… for you to put yourself in my shoes and understand why I feel how I do and why I do the things I do… to know there’s no malice there whatsoever. That I’m reaching out in that way because I care, because I love you and I’m scared of losing you. But you don’t see things in that way. You don’t appreciate my emotions. You choose to see the worst in me. That’s how it feels.
I’ve said before, my mental illness is not an excuse … if I hurt someone then I have to be accountable for it… and I am … I do feel remorse and I do apologise. I know that my intentions were not cruel in the slightest. I know the purpose of what I wrote. And I do know that a lot of what I said was twisted by you too. But all that being said, I accept I caused you pain and I never meant for that to happen. I’m sorry. While my mental illness is not an excuse, I hope it is an explanation. That’s all I want – I don’t want to escape responsibility when I do something wrong… but I want you to understand why I do the things I do…. I need you to know that I’m likely to make mistakes when I’m in a high state of despair and desperation. And I need you to not abandon me because of it. I need you to cut me some slack when I mess up. I need your forgiveness.
My paranoia had me thinking that you meant me harm. That you were trying to hurt me. That you hated me. That you were playing mind-games with me… like others have in the past. Whilst it’s not your fault that I had paranoia, you were capable of helping to ease it, by reassuring me and calming my fears. But you didn’t do this. You took offence at everything and got funny with me…. this made my paranoia worse. You did feed my paranoid thoughts. I’m not blaming you. But equally I don’t want you blaming me for having paranoia… I didn’t choose it. It’s hell to go through. My paranoia played a big part in what I blogged. I can see it in the words I chose…. that I honestly thought you were a threat to me. If you cannot understand paranoia then you will never be forgiving of what I wrote. You’ll never appreciate that what I was experiencing was not reality… but that I DIDN’T KNOW THAT. I needed you to be forgiving and understanding. And while you may not have wanted me to do it again, you needed to work with me on how we could avoid the same situation arising in the first place… I needed you to understand the part you yourself played, and to learn how to help me earlier… how to communicate better and be pro-active.
I needed you to learn about my illness… to show an interest in finding out how best to protect our friendship. To not blame me for being mentally ill. I was experiencing new and terrifying aspects of my illness last year… I also needed stability, consistency, and certainty, and you weren’t offering me any of those. I felt out of control, and completely alone.
While what I wrote was something I wish I hadn’t, please try and understand that it came from a place the furthest from nasty. It was a moment of desperation, using the only skills I had available to me in that moment to deal with overwhelming pain and fear. I’m not making excuses. I’m not making things up to escape accountability. I’m just saying this was my reality. I do regret it, but I didn’t feel in control of it at the time… it was not done with any true ill-feeling to you. It was done with hurt in my heart at what my sick, paranoid mind was telling me about you. It was done to try and rescue our friendship from eternal silence. I wish I’d left it there now, as the hell it unleashed has done more damage to my life than anything else I’ve ever experienced. But please try and see it from the perspective of someone afraid to lose you, and who thought we would never speak again, and realise that I would’ve been right. You were waiting for me to speak to you. You have to accept that was never going to happen. And you need to accept that’s because of the things you said to me in the previous message. You had made it so I could not approach you again, and then you were sitting back, expecting me to do just that. It was an impossible situation, and I was trying to rectify it. It just went horrifically wrong. Please have some sympathy for that, if nothing else.
I tried to make it up to you afterwards. I admit, I didn’t feel it was my fault. The message I got in response to my blog was hurtful, because I knew what my intentions had been, even if they didn’t shine through in my words. I’d wanted to open the lines of communication, but I had no idea they would open so harshly. I felt attacked and misunderstood. I never wanted to talk to you again. But I took time to consider things from your perspective. I understood that your words came from a place of pain, and whatever you had going on in your own life at that time…. this was all I wanted from YOU. For you to understand where my words came from. I wrote to you, to explain, to apologise, to fight for our friendship. I extended the olive branch at Christmas. I sent cards and presents, knowing full-well you probably wouldn’t do the same for me, if you believed such awful things about me. But I still made the effort (which was the level of effort I had needed from you all year but didn’t get…). The whole point was nobody would make any effort for me. All my life I’ve been the one making the effort, chasing after people, begging for care, love and friendship. You don’t know what that’s like. I needed people, particularly my friends, to give it freely… especially at a time when I needed them, like I did last year.
So I sent to you… and all over Christmas I was met with silence. Not a card. Not a text. Nothing. It was only a month later when I chased you up yet again, that I learnt you had not opened the presents. You hadn’t given the kids their presents. This deeply upset me. I hadn’t held our disagreement against the kids, but it seemed like you had… I’d gone to a lot of effort choosing things, making things – I don’t know if you’ve opened them now and can see that, or if you’ve done what it feels like you did anyway, and smashed the lot and burnt it… that’s what I’d do if you sent it back to me. It feels like you’ve already done that by rejecting it anyway.
I had tried to resolve things. I’d fought for you where you wouldn’t fight for me. I had understood the pain in your words where you refused to do that for me. I had explained my mental illness and yet you still seemed to be holding it against me.
When it came to it you couldn’t decide what was best. You had said to me in your message that ‘nothing will ever be the same now’. You had talked to _____ about that and said you weren’t sure if things could ever be the same between us now…. you weren’t sure what you wanted. I accept that things wouldn’t have been the same… ever since you said they wouldn’t be, you made sure they never would be. But just because it wouldn’t be the same, it doesn’t mean a friendship couldn’t exist. You don’t just give up at the first hurdle. Look at your relationship – did you give up on it at the first argument? No. You fought for it…. because it mattered to you…. he mattered to you. Every relationship – romantic or platonic, has bumps and arguments…. you use them to make you stronger. You don’t just give up on the person. If YOU do, then it really is best you’re not in my life. I need to know people aren’t going to just up and leave when things get tough. I need that stability in my life, that I know people won’t leave me if we have a disagreement. I aired my feelings to Hannah about how something she did hurt me…. she handled it so poorly that I became afraid to address issues with friends again, in case they left me. And you’ve done just the same.
Do you honestly think that if I make one mistake that’s the end of the friendship? Do you know how that makes me feel? It makes me feel I don’t deserve friends. Please look at how you treated me last year, and this year actually – and realise that I still wouldn’t have given up on you. I was still there fighting for our friendship, knowing it wouldn’t be the same as before, but that you don’t just give up on someone. I may be the ‘mentally ill’ one, but I think my values are sound, and I understand the concept of ‘friendship’ better than many who don’t even have a mental illness!
Yes at this moment I feel far too hurt and angry with you, and in a sense I have given up on you. You have no idea what it took to get to this point though. I never gave up on you… until you blocked me. Twice. And then you removed yourself from my poetry group, just after finding out that it would hurt me if you did. I see that as malicious. There’s no good explanation for that. That was the final nail in the coffin. That’s when I feel I saw your true colours. And it was very upsetting to realise them. You probably thought I wouldn’t notice…. or maybe you hoped I would …
Even when I said I was taking a step back, and unfriending you, I didn’t give up on you or our friendship – I stated that. I said I was doing it for my mental health and a future friendship… I said when you were ready you could get in touch and we’d go for a coffee. But you cut off that option by blocking me. And then you claimed to have done it so I couldn’t see anything that would make me angry at you or resentful. That isn’t the truth is it? Because me unfriending you would’ve done just that. That was the point. You have a private account, as I do. There was no need to block me. The real reason you did it was to get back at me… to feel like you were the one in control. To have the power. You did it to punish me, and so that I couldn’t talk to you again. It was unnecessary, as I wasn’t going to talk to you again. I had put the ball firmly in your court for that. It was your move. You made the wrong one in blocking me. Then you doubled down on it, doing it on the old account, and removing yourself from my group. That felt spiteful. That felt like you had removed yourself from my group to get back at me for talking to _____ … like it was your only way to lash out at me.
At this point I don’t want you as a friend – not the way you’ve been behaving. As much as I miss our friendship, I now don’t know who you are because of what you’ve done this year. That being said, if you were to get in touch with me and apologise, and work your arse off to make it up to me for how you’ve behaved, then yes, I would consider our friendship again. I’ve only given up on it now because it seems pretty dead to me, from your behaviour. And because you’ve hurt me so much and seem to have no remorse about it. If that were to change then fine. But I don’t see it happening.
I understand you’re holding that blog against me. I can understand why… but at the same time I’m desperately sad that you couldn’t see the emotions and illness in the words I said. That you can’t forgive me and move past it like I tried to do with what you did to me. You have no idea how many times I’ve had to forgive you for things in the past. I doubt you think you ever did anything wrong towards me. But I’ve always let things go for the sake of our friendship. That’s why it hurts that you gave up on me at what you see as the first hurdle. Because it’s not the first hurdle and I didn’t give up on you.
I will always beat myself up for that blog, thinking is that the reason I lost your friendship…. I will always think that’s why you abandoned me. It may be true. But it’s not the real reason I lost your friendship. I lost your friendship because you didn’t have compassion for the state of my mental illness. Because you weren’t there for me. Because you didn’t communicate. Because you gave up when things got hard. Because your heart just wasn’t in it. If you had truly cared about me, then no amount of difficulty would’ve stopped you fighting for us. If you were that heartbroken about losing me then you would’ve accepted my efforts to mend our friendship. You would’ve put in any amount of effort for me. The reason I don’t think you did, is because you blamed me. You were angry with me for the blog so you didn’t want to be the one to make effort for me. You didn’t think I deserved it after what I did. You thought I was nasty and intentionally hurt you. You thought I was the one who owed apologies and effort. And like a chump I did that for you, and it was all rejected. When the whole problem in the first place was your lack of effort for me. That was all I needed from you… effort. And I ended up being the one to show it, for you.
So I know that our friendship died through lack of effort on your part when I needed it most – when I was newly grieving after my medication wore off, and I was having a breakdown. You know, when someone has a breakdown they don’t always know what they’re doing… they don’t always make the best choices or feel in control of themselves. You need to be more forgiving of people with severe mental illnesses… we’re doing the best we can. And I tried to fix things afterwards. But no more.
At one point I said I didn’t blame you, and I didn’t blame myself – I blamed my mental illness. Well now I don’t. I can’t blame my illness – it’s beyond my control. I don’t blame myself. I do wish I hadn’t written that blog, but things were bad before that… so it’s not the cause of the demise of our friendship. That would be you. I was mentally ill. I couldn’t help that. You could’ve helped how you responded to that illness. One day I hope you’ll look back on the things you said and did, and realise that given the state of mind I was in, they were unhelpful and only worsened things in my mind and in our friendship. You’re not ready to see that yet. You said you didn’t blame yourself for where we were…. oh to have a clear conscience. I envy you. You continue to blame me if it makes you feel better. But blaming someone for being mentally ill is about as low as you can go. And that’s what you’re doing by holding this against me. I never took a break from our friendship. Never. I left you in peace because you had too much to think about to deal with me. I will not take on blame for being rejected by you. This was all your fault and your choices. You knew how I felt, and you chose to avoid me. You chose to tell me your priorities. You chose to not talk about things early on. You chose to react to my blog like you did. You chose to snub me at Christmas. You chose to not give the kids their Christmas presents. You chose to give up on me. You chose to block me, twice. You chose to leave my group. Your choices brought about the death of this friendship. Not me. Not my illness. Your choices. That’s why I’m hurt, and that’s why only you could ever revive this friendship, and I deserve no blame for it. I did all I could to make up for the one mistake I made while I was having a breakdown. I pushed myself through paranoia, isolation and splitting to try and sort things out with you. I chased after you on more than one occasion. And this is what you left me with. Silence. Friends don’t do that. You gave up on us. This is all on you.
I’m not going to spend the rest of my life blaming myself for losing you. I made a mistake during the depths of my illness. Any good friend would understand my illness and forgive me, knowing it’s not who I am. They’d understand when I push them away I need them to pull me closer… it’s then that I need love the most. Any ‘friend’ who gives up on me because of one mistake made out of desperation, paranoia and despair, a mistake I tried to make up for, was never truly my friend to begin with.
I always regret the bad choices I make during my BPD ‘episodes’ and my breakdowns….. self-harming at therapy…. begging and pleading with guys to help me after their behaviour made me feel unsafe…. ruining people’s days because I storm off…. degrading myself so as not to lose people I care about…. there are many things I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t. And they often replay in my head during my worst times… convincing me I don’t deserve to live as I’m that awful and pathetic… but I have to accept they are as a result of my illness. I am in extreme distress when these things happen and I need to learn not to kill myself over them. Everyone makes mistakes. My worst ones happen when I’m at my worst with my mental health. And they almost ALWAYS come from a place of love, fear or rejection. They do not come from a bad place. I know I’m not a bad person. I need friends who know that too, and remind me of the good in me. I’m sorry you weren’t that friend. Just be thankful you will never know the level of distress that drives me to do the things you think are unforgiveable. You’re lucky.
Now I have to face the consequences on my own. You’ve left me with nothing. It’s going to be hard to believe in myself again… or in friendship. I don’t think I ever want a friend again. I have to try and rebuild my life alone now. With no hope, no trust… nothing.
I may have hurt you with my blog…
But nothing hurts more than a friend who can’t see a mistake born of mental illness as just that, and holds your illness against you… using it as justification to abandon you. Nothing. This illness wasn’t my choice. I sometimes feel I’d rather die than live with this. I didn’t choose it. You chose to do the things you did, with the exception of your response to my blog – that I can understand from a place of pain. Everything else was deliberate. Your choice. Your fault. I will not be blamed for this. You destroyed me. You broke me at a time I needed my friends to help mend me. I was already broken… that was the problem… and instead of fixing me you tore me to shreds and scattered me into the wind. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from this. You gave me abandonment when all I needed was love. That’s harder to forgive than any words I could’ve said in a blog. You broke my heart.
We will never agree on what happened here, or who was at fault. The only difference I can see is that I was prepared to own up to my mistakes and fight for our friendship, whilst your choice was to blame me and give up.
If I’m wrong about you and all of this then I apologise. But I was paranoid. I was splitting. Your actions have only backed up everything I believed. You can’t blame me for my interpretation of events, when you wouldn’t communicate properly with me. If you really didn’t blame me… if you really didn’t want to lose me…. if you cared about me… if you felt guilty about your actions…. if you didn’t hate me… then you should’ve communicated that to me. By not doing so, and by ‘ghosting’ me, you communicated the opposite and affirmed my suspicions about you. I may be ill, but this is a hole you yourself have dug. Only you can get yourself out of it.
I will always be sorry for hurting you. That won’t change. But this is about so much more than that. You abandoned me at my lowest point. You killed our friendship. I’m very sad and hurt about that. And whilst I’m sorry for my part, I’m not the one who owes apologies or effort anymore. It’s the very least I deserve from you. I know I will never get it… but until then, you deserve my silence.
I wish I had mattered enough to you, to fight for us. Now I have to fight for myself and regain a shred of self-worth. I lost that and so much more when I lost you. Except I didn’t lose you…. you lost me. I hope you realise that in time.