The unsaid tale of a friend

Story by Jyothis

This is not my story! This story is about the supportive friend(s) who often miss their part when tales of mental illness are recounted.

I’ve been battling depression and anxiety for quite some time but the day the events written below unfurled will always be poignant in my mind. Perhaps that is why I remember the timing distinctively.

6:45 AM. My friend was still asleep, as my insomniac self struggled to get up from my 2-hour sleep.

7:00 AM. She was up and moving for our 8 AM class, as I curled myself into a ball. She threw a worried glance on my face, sensing yet another day of my grey clouds, as she tried to wake me up.

7:25 AM. I greeted her in our room with a tearless, sobbing me, gasping for air as my mental state started to choke me. The shooting pain in my head and chest and the tightening knots in my stomach made my confused hands move frantically. Trust me; it was not a pretty sight.

She made me sit up, trying to calm me down, as my ears blocked out her words. I bit down my episodic breakdown, to not worry her again. Gulping down the tea brought down for me in parts, she reminded me to eat even though she ran out of time for her tea and breakfast.

7:50 AM. She left the room saying, “Take your time”, thinking about another convincing reason for my absence in class. She was late for the 3rd consecutive day.

I still had not cried when she left. All I could do was breathe, stare at the fan, pass out of exhaustion in between and keep waking up to pain.

2:30 PM. She was back from college and looked disappointed at the untouched fruits that were kept out for me, despite her eventful morning. Mad at myself for disappointing her, I turned my back, pretending to sleep when she called me.

5:00 PM. She woke me up and took me out for coffee. On coming back, I took a shower as she reminded me to, since I had skipped this ritual the previous days. I lay curled up again, ignoring her questions and concerns. She was trying really hard.

7:00 PM. She silently left the room with her phone, giving me space. And I went for my hidden razor. You see, she had gone hunting for all the objects with which I self harmed, earlier. I did not want to hurt her, again.

8:30 PM. She brought down dinner to our room. I smiled and apologised. Sitting next to me with a wad of cotton and Detol, she said “Next time, promise me that you will tell when you cut yourself, so that I can clean your wounds”, and asked me about my cuts after watching me walk. I was struck silent as I showed her my number of cuts, well hidden under my shorts.

That night I picked up the call from my other concerned friend whose calls and messages were also ignored for the past 3 days. She had made sure to keep tabs on me through my roommate though.

Yes, depression squeezes the life out of you. It also makes you push your dear ones away. But remember to thank those pillars who stand by you, check in and clean your wounds with love, understanding and patience. Because they have seen and know a part of you, that is always kept a secret. Here is a letter of gratitude, to every person who fights along with us, without ever giving up on us. Thank you.

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