Reading – An Open Letter to My Childhood Friends

class photo photo
Photo by TheeErin

“Whenever I bump into you in the high street, in the gym, the pub, uneasiness washes over me. I don’t know who to be: the school child me, with high grades but a rebellious streak; young adult me, flirting with socialism and madness; or “mature” me, literary, tired, and slightly jaded.

The truth is, depression has pretty much wiped me of my identity. I don’t know who I am anymore, so I don’t know how to relate to you. I’m worried that you’ll judge me, size me up and condemn me for not making a decent effort with my life. You’ll ask about my annual salary, if I have any kids yet, where am I holidaying this year. I’m not willing to share details with you, and sorry, but I have no interest in how you are doing either.

Depression makes you selfish: you need to concentrate so hard on getting yourself through the day, that other people can be pushed out onto the peripherals. Close friends remain; it is true that I have kept in touch with a few select people, who float sporadically in and out of my life. But even these folk I sometimes avoid, or do not return their calls. They all know about my illness, they understand that I could have a bad week and not feel like talking. But how do I explain that to someone I was once in the same class with and I haven’t seen in over a decade? Will you understand, will you pity me, or will you politely end the conversation and back off, go home and tell fellow ex-classmates, ‘Guess who I met today, and is now completely insane?’”

I found this article very interesting. Coming out of the other side of depression, I no longer feel this way when I run into people I know, pretty much I try to be approachable anytime now. But, when I run into people who knew me before, I do have that anxiety about how to relate to them. I’m not the same person I was back then, and I have no desire to be that person, because I was trying so hard to hide what I was going through. It’s one thing to be connected on social media, where I can slowly consider how I relate to people, it’s quite another to be face to face with someone. So forgive me if I seem to be a bit awkward and overly thoughtful. That’s jut me trying to figure out who I am in relation to you and our shared history, today. If you can understand that though, I’m more than happy to reconnect!

An Open Letter to My Childhood Friends

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