I truly wish I could tell you this face to face, but the reality is, I think, on my road out of hell I damaged our friendship beyond repair. I will always regret that. The truth is, without having done so, I’m not sure I’d be here to write this. Just like in those dark moments, here, now, as I begin to see hope again, there’s one thing I need to get out and voice.
Thank you from the very bottom of my heart, thank you in a way that those two little words don’t even begin to touch the surface of the meaning behind.
You gave a voice, a reason and an understanding to the things inside my head, the things deep in the pit of my stomach, and for opening up the pain and torture I’d carried secretly within me for most of my life.
I was not completely alone
You have the most beautiful and powerful way of expressing your own pain. In a way that is truly engulfing, uncensored and brave beyond measure. Those words led me to believe that you too had felt the intense pain, fear and self-loathing that I had once felt nobody else on this earth could understand. I hope I am wrong with that perception, and that just your sheer mastery with words, your kindness and your understanding and expression of another’s pain (that you doubt greatly) are in fact the things that for the first time in my life made me feel as though I was not completely alone, rather than you really do understand them so deeply.
That is what you gave me. A sense that I was no longer alone. That I belonged. That I wasn’t insane. That my feelings were real and powerful and understood by someone. Even greater than that, you helped me find my voice. You helped me find a way to express my anguish to myself. Only then could I begin to make sense of it. In doing so you also, in turn, helped me find an understanding and a way to express my hopes, dreams and desires. I’d forgotten I even had them.
How truly powerful
How truly powerful that you could do all that even with silence. So many times you opened up space for me to express my own demons. They were far too painful for you to hear. They were too close to home, in more ways than one. I was finally able to get some of it out. The fact it was so often met with silence was so painful but I understood why. Maybe not fully, how could I, but enough that it was OK and I knew that despite my self-hatred it was for reasons beyond that. For reasons that had no bearing on me.
Just knowing someone had heard them and feeling as though they had been heard by someone who truly understood them gave me the strength to keep facing them and the power and hope to process them. Once I began, I was able to voice them to others. Over and over again. I had held them for so very long, once wasn’t nearly enough.
Your silent responses somehow meant and helped more than the acceptance and words from others. The silence somehow confirmed your understanding enough. Your inability to respond, whilst still trying and continuing to open that space let me know you got it, or at least feel as though you did, and that you cared. I could then work through it with others and myself.
I regret so very much the pain I caused you. The uncomfortable and painful position I put you in. I think I knew it even then. At the time, I censored and held in as much and as best I could. I feel maybe that only prolonged your agony and mine. I’m truly sorry. More pain is the very last thing I ever wanted to cause you. I was stuck. I needed out somehow. There only seemed two routes and both would hurt you and many others around me. I don’t regret choosing to let you help me. I do regret never managing to find a third avenue which meant I didn’t have to.
I’ll never forget what you did for me, and I will always be so very very grateful.
Thank you for helping me to save myself.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here