A Letter To My Friends Both Past and Present

Dear friends,

I’m sorry.

To my childhood friends, I apologise. I didn’t know then but my mom moving out of town changed me. As my body began to change, I did not have anyone to reassure me that my insecurities were insignificant. I watch as you grew closer and more confident, while I began shying away from any and all social contact. I wish I could have articulated then what I know now. I wish I could have told you how I felt unworthy and unwanted at all times. I wish I could have told you how your presence saved me from a loneliness that many can never comprehend.

To my high school friends, I can hardly remember what I was like. I have flashbacks of reading Animal Farm and struggling to speak Afrikaans. There are two things I do vividly remember: what I wasn’t and how I hid at every chance I got. I remember that it was the first time I began interested in boys, but I also remember none being interested in me. It was the first time I felt invisible. I wasn’t what they wanted and started to believe that I was less of a person because of it. I began spending time in the toilets crying because I never knew where I belonged. Yes you loved me, however I didn’t love myself.

To the friends at at Rhodes University that I failed to make. I apologise for hiding at every chance I got. I tried to be more social, but always found myself unable to utter a word when in your presence. I hated what I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror, and this made me believe that this is what you saw too. While you went out for nights of fun, I cried until the morning. I knew that something was wrong with me but I didn’t know that it could be fixed, even if just slightly.Every morning I dragged myself back to lectures and crawled by into my bed before the sun even set. Perhaps it is best that you never got to know me.

To the strangers that I wish were friends whose offices I pass everyday; I just want to say I am not mean. I am quiet because I do not think we have anything in common. Not because you are uninteresting but because I am highly unstable. The smallest thing sets me off. A wrong word can push me over the edge and I can spend days walking the maze that is my mind. I would explain to you about my condition but that would probably make you fear for your safety. I promise I have never hurt anyone apart from myself.

To the friends that I think I still have. I regret the fact that I have allowed our friendship to wilt. I do not know how to preserve our friendship without feeling needy. You are probably tired of hearing how I am down and spiralling out of control. And it is for this reason that I have chosen to no longer share my pain. In your presence I always feel like a burden, a third wheel you are forced to carry.

I wish I could write this letter in a different way, but I do not know how to articulate the fact that it seems bipolar is my only real friend. Although not contagious, I do not wish to infect you with my negative energy. I drown the urge to want to make contact and hear your voice. But always remember: the further I run, the more I need you close.