Dear Friend

By Sam GrittnerJuly 2, 2018

This post was originally published on Medium.  

Please note that this blog contains strong language. We ask that you use your own discretion.

Dear Friend,

I know you are going through a hard time right now, actually, for quite sometime. A few months ago you stopped hanging out on weekends. Then a few weeks later, you dropped off my radar completely. It’s been, honestly, I don’t know long since I’ve last seen you in person. I’m sorry that I haven’t checked in sooner. You deserve better and I PROMISE you I WILL DO better going forward. But did you know that I’ve been where you are? That I still go there more often than I tell anyone? Flirting with death when no one is looking. Tinkering with plans. I thought about it this week. Three times in fact.

I’m all-too familiar with the absolute rock bottom of depression, where eating, showering, answering the phone have all fell to the wayside because what’s the point? Sounds, colors, what’s left of your feelings, feel like they’ve been bleached, drilled away, or fully uprooted. Everything you encounter is dull and muted. Food has no taste. Sex brings no joy. Nothing. That’s all you want right now because it’s the only thing that’s comfortable. Your brain is telling you the same things over and over again: “You are worthless. You should be ashamed of yourself for the horrendous things you’ve done during your life. You are beyond redemption. No one is as bad a person as you. This world would be better without you. This world would be better without you. This world would be better without you.”

This voice sounds like exactly you, if a stranger were to hear it they wouldn’t think twice. But this is not your voice. This is a disease that has taken up permanent residence in parts of your brain when you were still a child and studied you your whole life. It mimics you perfectly. It knows every mistake you’ve ever made, every word you wish you could take back, and it knows how and when to replay those memories over and over and over again to maximize the hurt and sorrow you feel. To cut you into absolute pieces. This is not your voice. It is a disease.

You don’t have to fix everything today. You don’t need to make a plan of action. You don’t need to be cured. All you need to do today is make it through today. And if you are capable, go one step further, and simply recognize that the voice inside your head, is just that. Depression is the world’s greatest ventriloquist, doing karaoke covers of your greatest Fuck-Ups. Its only purpose is to filter out the good things you’ve done in your life, the happy memories you have (though they may be buried under forty feet of rock), and replace them with a loop of self-destructive actions you’ve done over your entire life.

“I have stolen and lied and cheated and blown up the best relationships I’ve ever had because I was afraid of myself. I have done things that I know for a fact have made me irredeemable. Truly unworthy of ever being loved. My family deserved better. She deserved better. I still think about her, all these years later. If you knew what I knew about myself you would be so horrified that you you would help me end it.”

That is the voice inside MY brain. It still lives there, years after I tried to take my own life by overdosing on pills. I hear the voice. I let it say what it needs to. And then I remind myself, That’s not who I am. Am I a person who has made terrible mistakes? Yes. Have I lied, cheated, and stolen. Absolutely. Have I done things that no one else has? Well, no. Not really. If I can impart anything upon you it’s this: you are a human being and you are going to fuck up over and over and over again. But, here’s the good news: that is a universal experience. That is part of what makes us human. Not only are you going to fuck up, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FUCK UP. Again and again, until you learn from it. And I promise you, eventually you will. I banged my head for over two decades against a wall because of my alcoholism and addiction to drugs. I’ve spent the majority of my life high and acting selfishly. I’ve tried to get sober and I’ve failed, and again and again. But today, I am sober. I can’t say anything about tomorrow. I cannot forecast the future, but today I remembered my mistakes and allowed them to teach me and become a little bit better of a person.

You are not the lies your brain tells you.

You are not the mistakes you have made.

You are not the promises you have broken.

You are what you are today. You are imperfect. You are flawed. You hurt, you hurt so much it feels like your bones are trying to rip out from underneath your skin. Your brain is on fire. But, as someone who has been there and will be there again, that doesn’t always have to be the case.

All I ask is that today, you let me love you. And tommorow. And as long as it takes until you start to love yourself again. I have seen your beauty. I still see it in you. It is a spark that will never go out.

I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you more. I was stuck in my own head.

But I am here now. And I love you, not in spite of the mistakes you’ve made, I love you because you are my friend. And you would do the same for me. And someday soon, you will do the same for someone you love.

All you have to do is get through today.

I love you.

You matter.

If you are beyond redemption than so am I and every other person walking this planet.

We are beautiful, broken creatures.

Let’s go for a walk and try to enjoy this moment, right here, right now.

I love you.

Leave a Reply

Comments (19)

  1. Kat

    Wow…that couldn’t be any more like me. The only exception is that I am a female. This shot a fiery arrow straight into my heart. I will turn 49 the 19th of this month and I’ve been battling depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety since I was 12 years old. This year has been really hard for me. January 7th I lost my 21 year old nephew in a automobile accident. He was more like a son to me, he was my baby boy. February 12th I lost my girlfriend to cancer. I can’t mourn her properly because I haven’t came out yet. June 14th I lost my mother. So, yeah, this year has been totally fucked up.
    To keep my voices at bay, I count on my fingers my reasons for staying. Over and over until they are silenced but those reasons are dwindling. I no longer say that I will make it through the day. I say, “I’m one day closer to Home.”

    Reply  |  

    That is truly beautiful. Thank you, Sam.

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  3. Erin

    “Not only are you going to fuck up, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FUCK UP. Again and again, until you learn from it. And I promise you, eventually you will.”

    Thank you. I’ve spent years trying to remind myself of this and reading it from someone else helps.

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  4. Pheobee

    I needed this so much right now. Thank you.

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  5. me

    Thank you, Sam, for your honesty and heart. I believe people come into our lives when we need them most and I needed everything you said. I may revisit often to be reminded that it’s ok to mess up and try get past the humanity of it.

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  6. Kym

    Thank you . . . For once in a long time, while reading this, I feel like someone truly understands me and that’s all I want.

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  7. Gwen Shidte

    I read this and it made me realize so many things about my own depression.
    Thank you so insanely much

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  8. phyl

    40 years sober; 37 years clean; depression all of my life; last serious episode of discontinuing thoughts – 5 years.
    Most days are good, some real bad, many are a struggle, but, I can stand tall and say “Life is Good”!
    Thank you for your words, they are true and good.

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  9. Sheena

    Tears filled my eyes as I read this and felt the sadness that is coincidentally been my own daughter’s story so many times. She is in a good place for now and my hope will always remain. I know someday she may be the voice reaching out to share just as you have. We are not alone! Thank you!

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  10. Ian

    my god how close can one person get too the way I fill right now

    Reply  |  
  11. Robin

    Exactly what I needed this morning to remind me that I can make it through one more day. Thank you more than you will ever know.

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  12. Cassondra Huestis

    I needed this today. It brought me to tears. Depression is a liar to us all when it says WE are mistakes, not that we have MADE mistakes. That we are worthless, that life is meaningless, that our loved ones are only pretending to love us. All lies. But they sound so believable when our own mind is counting the reasons we should listen to Depression. Your words are comforting, Sam. I pinned this so I can read it when I start hearing the lies again. Which is often right now.

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  13. jacob

    Thank you for your directness. You have given purpose to your pain by using the lessons you have learned to give hope and encouragement to me and others. This post is one of the tools I have been given to fight against depression and continue this life. You rock

    Reply  |  
  14. Kaite

    Thank you so much for this

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  15. Ruth Muyskens

    This was/is what I needed right now. And many days there after. Spot on.

    Reply  |  
  16. Danielle

    I’m going to share this reading in my Woman’s recovery meeting. Thank You

    Reply  |  
  17. Shavonna

    Very well said 🩷

    Reply  |  
  18. Sondra Outwater

    It was great read, very accurate to what’s happened with myself lately, shocker. I love this app it was very helpful to me. Compliments. Very useful for a self-help journal app, I like that you can make a storyline and the quotes are a plus side.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Thank you for sharing this, Sondra! We are really glad that The Hopeful app can bring these things to you.

      Reply  |  
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