I saw these pictures come up online and my emotional response led me to writing a post about it. I realised that not only did I completely relate with the message of these pictures, but I realised I was not alone in the suffering. So, this letter is for everyone out there who is hurting and can not bring themself to express their feelings. Feel free to share.
I know it’s been a long time since I’ve reached out to you or replied to your messages. I’m sorry and feel sad about it, especially when I see you give up and form new friendships instead.
I understand that life is always moving on. There is no pause button in reality. However, that is exactly what has happened to me. Life has thrown me some hard stuff and I have been so utterly overwhelmed and bombarded with stresses and responsibilities that I have inadvertently hit PAUSE.
You know our old friend the snail? Remember how when we were kids we’d poke their weird eyeballs and watch them recoil back into their shell. Then…slowly an eye will pop back out and then another until the snail is out again and creeping along the garden path again?
Well, I’m that snail.
And life jabbed me in the eye one too many times and now I’m too worried to come out of my shell!
On the one hand it feels safe being in my shell. No one can hurt me in here. I can focus purely on what I need to do and survive. But…it is lonely. For me, I still think if you and see you as my friend. I don’t realise that my absence has made you drift away. I miss you. But I don’t know how or what to do to get out of the shell again.
I am silent and absent because I am hurting. But as the more time passes, the harder it is to come out and be my normal self again. I need help to do it.
I am happy you are living your life and having exciting adventures! I am glad you have formed bonds with others and found friendship in others! But can I ask, please don’t give up on me?
I know it sucks to not have replies to your calls or messages. Or maybe I’ve cancelled our plans one too many times? I know it sends a bad message when I leave social media or hide away, but I want you to know it’s nothing to do with you. It’s nothing you e done or said. It’s not that I don’t want to be your friend anymore.
I know friendships are all about give and take. It’s a two-way street. But sometimes life throws boulder-sized lemons that put you in a critical condition, bruised, beaten and helpless. When you’re struck down so badly, you have nothing at all to offer in the form of friendship.
I am still your friend. I want to be better and I want to have more to give, but right now I am still hurting and healing. I need time. I need understanding.
And I really need a friend. I hope you will still be mine.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever found bereavement, divorce, illness or any other trial has affected your friendships? Let me know in the comments below.
5 thoughts on “Dear Friend…(A letter from someone who is hurting)”
Wow! I guess this exactly where I am now.
I am going through a dark phase in my life which is about to end soon. But I know I haven’t threated my friends correctly. I haven’t responded to any messages. I guess I am afraid they will start asking me all kinds of questions which I don’t want to answer!
I tend not to think about why I feel like distancing myself so it was a bit of a shock when I saw a post with messages that looked similar to ones I’ve received! I agree with you Andrea, you don’t want to deal with the difficult questions, but at the same time you don’t want people to just ignore the fact you’re hurting? I’m not sure where the balance is!
For me, this is a constant process- it’s usually not down to specific events that make me put a friendship on pause, just life in general often leads to me doing it. When it happens with me, the worst thing a person can do is push me too hard, I much prefer my friends to back off and give me my space. Generally people are willing to pick up where we left off, and when they occasionally aren’t I’m pretty good at disconnecting and moving on. It’s always been my way, I’ve always been better at more causal relationships, and I’m starting to stop shaming myself for that and accept it as a natural (and perfectly valid) preference for me.
I completely relate with all you said, which is perhaps contrary to my words in the post. Isn’t the human mind complex? 🤪 Perhaps I’m in two minds. I want to be alone but don’t want to be left alone?
It is complex yeah! I guess what I’ve been considering is whether I feel sad because I genuinely am lonely (I don’t think so but maybe I’m repressing it??) but I get overwhelmed when people push me, or whether I feel like I’m bad/wrong/in need of healing for actually not wanting them to. Maybe both? Maybe it doesn’t have to be either, now there’s thought lol