I’m Sorry

I know those two words seem small, and they actually are. They are nothing more than seven letters, but I don’t know where else to start. So I’ll start with:

I’m sorry.

There are, obviously, things I am not and can never be sorry for. I’m not sorry for my illness. It’s something beyond my control; it is a physical disorder as much as it is a mental one. But I am sorry for the years I’ve wasted feeling sorry for myself. I’m sorry for the years I’ve tried to hide my illness, to keep it a secret.

I’ve pushed you away, though you never knew why. You may not have even realized I was doing it, but there were cancelled plans and social gatherings I forced myself to go to, resentfully and begrudgingly.. even just recently.

It wasn’t your fault. I was too broken to hold it all together, but because I was also too scared to tell you the truth, I would just sit there, forcing an awkward smile and some bland conversation. I would excuse myself from social events and I would withdraw to a corner and watch while you laughed and had a ball.

You thought I was a buzzkill (and you were right), but what I’m most sorry and hurt for is that you thought I was too good for you. But that was never the case. The truth is I wanted to be happy. I wanted nothing more than to laugh beside you and enjoy myself the way you do, but I felt disconnected. Sure, there are moments of happiness and joy, but most of my life is about just getting by. So instead of pretending, I pulled away.

I’m sorry for not being present, for not celebrating your successes and joys. Please know I wanted to, but sometimes the pain held me back — the pain of seeing everything I wanted but would never have, could never have. It’s selfish, I know, but I didn’t know how to handle it.

I’m sorry for the times my temper has been short, and you’ve been the recipient of my rage. Anger has been the most unexpected symptom of my sickness. When I was a teenager, and even now in my 20s, my depression was marked by melancholy. But as the years passed, the symptoms shifted. It’s the anger I cannot ignore and scares me.

And I’m sorry for all this.

It’s embarrassing and scary to admit you need help, to admit you are not OK. You know once you let your secret out you’ll have no choice but to follow through with therapy. You’ll have to talk to friends and family about your illness, even when you don’t want to. You know you can’t close the curtains and hide anymore, and that thought is terrifying. God knows how scared shitless I was, which is why it took me over ten years to seek treatment.

Sometimes, we “find the light” and make it out. I have, but depression is a lifelong disease, and may return, guaranteed. There is nothing I can do to stop it. The only thing I can control is how I handle it when it does. And for me, handling it means not hiding from it.

So, to everyone entangled in this mess with me, I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you or drag you into this nightmare I call my life. I love you for standing by me, and hope you still can.

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