Hey, buddy. I hope that in the time we've spent apart, you've been blessed with love and joy.

You're probably wondering why I'm writing this letter to you, or maybe you're wondering why I am even talking to you. Maybe you want nothing to do with me after how I treated you, and I get it. Loving someone with a whole slew of mental illnesses, let alone just one, is no easy feat. I'm here to say thank you for the love that you did give me and thank you for helping me grow into the person that I am supposed to be.

I've been trying this new concept lately called "talking about my feelings and my emotions," so I thought I would take this time to do that for you now since I couldn't at the time our friendship needed it. In doing so, I am in no way trying to get back what we had or guilt trip you into feeling sorry for me, but I'm hoping that this can give you closure (if needed) and help you to make sense of why I was the way that I was.

Chapter 1: Anxiety

If you did not know, I have this wonderful thing called GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder. Basically, I am always feeling some level of anxiety. Physiologically, I tremble a lot (especially if the anxiety is bad that day), I have a faster heart rate (especially when having a panic attack or I begin getting overwhelmed), I'll hyperventilate on bad days, and I either can't sleep at all or I sleep too much. Mentally, I always feel this sense of impending doom, I feel on edge, and I feel nervous. When I'm anxious, my thoughts turn into a destructive tornado of negative thoughts. I'll think that someone hates me, despite what they've told me. I'll think about something I said to you months, or even years ago and how it may affect what you think of me today. Essentially, I overthink everything. Some days, my anxiety is so bad that I feel physically sick, so weak that I can't even get out of my bed.

I know that when I would text you freaking out about our friendship, it could be infuriating and I'm sure exhausting. Usually, on those days, my anxiety was really bad and I couldn't control it. And after my freak outs, I was embarrassed and ashamed that I did that; you didn't deserve it.

Chapter 2: Depression

Also if you did not know, I have this other wonderful thing called major depressive disorder. Physiologically, I either can't sleep at all or I sleep too much, I feel tired all the time despite the amount of sleep I may or may not have gotten, and I'll even get random headaches sometimes. Mentally, I am always feeling some level of hopelessness or sadness, I can become irritable over small things, I lose interest in things that I love, I'm constantly fixated on past failures, I experience self-blame, I feel worthless and guilty inexplicably, I struggle to concentrate and remember things, and I struggle with suicidal thoughts (National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255). My most common depressive thoughts are the following:

"I am a burden."

"Everything would be easier if I was gone."

"I need to hide from everyone."

"I'm impossible to love. Who loves someone like this, like me?"

"These feelings will never pass."

"I can't do this."

Now, I don't want you to feel sorry for me at all or feel like any of this was your fault, because it wasn't and still isn't. My brain chemistry is all out of whack, and our friendship was collateral damage. When my depression is bad, I tend to go into hibernation mode. I cancel plans, lie until I'm blue in the face, and stay in my room for days. I'm sorry for the lies, and I'm sorry for the countless cancellations. I'm sorry I couldn't be the friend you needed and deserve.

Chapter 3: Today

Today, I am working on me. I started seeing a therapist weekly. I take medicine to help, and slowly but surely I am opening up to people and being honest. I'm sorry that I couldn't do this when we were friends, as I either didn't know I had these illnesses or I didn't accept their existence.

If there's one main thing I want you to know about today's version of me, it's this:

Every day, I am giving my all to fight these illnesses. Some days are good, some days are bad. Some days I am frustrated with how I treat myself, other days I am beaming with pride for defying the odds. You helped me in ways that you may never know on my journey of mental illnesses, and I thank you for all that you have done. I'm still learning how to love myself and control my chaotic mind, but I hope that someday you (and I) can reflect on the person that I've become and be proud of her.