Posted by: Jack Hope | Monday March 12, 2012

A Letter to a Friend Who’s Not Here

Dear Terry,

It’s time for me to face the facts. It’s time for me to face the truth. I don’t want to.  In a way that is hard to describe, its easier for me to carry on. There’s a safety in it that is very difficult for me to let go of.

Still it’s time.  I am ready to move on to what’s next and face what must be done. I am ready to go beyond being sick and into being healthy.

I am ready to go beyond my depression and to take my life back.

I’m not sure how I’m going to do this.  My recent “episode” (such a small word for such a huge thing) has been devastating in so many ways.  The loss of our friendship has been one of the tragic consequences.  It’s been three years, the last year and a half a brutal crawl out of a debilitating and crushing episode.  I think the worst is past now.

If anything, I feel like I am in a holding pattern.  Better but not finished.  Restored but not healed.  But its hard to move on.  I’ve been depressed for so long that it’s my default state.  I don’t know how people are going to react to me or how a non-depressed me fits into the world I left behind.

What will be going back to work be like?  How will the new people I meet react to me?  What kind of life am I going to have now?

My old life isn’t acceptable anymore.  I can’t go back to living the way I was, but I have lived like that for so long I don’t know if I can find any other pattern.  I don’t know if I can succeed at being different.  I’m scared that if I stumble, that I will fall back into my depression.

I don’t know if I can survive another episode.  One this bad, I feel certain will finish me.

When I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder I remember I visited with my friend Bob and I cried and cried on his shoulder for hours and hours.  I told him, that it felt like my life was a house that I was trying to build and that my first episode was like a flood, sweeping away almost everything and leaving a frame behind.  My second episode was like a fire, destroying everything except for the land upon which the house had stood.

My third episode, this one, was like a meteor destroying the entire town and leaving nothing to start over again with.

Yet this time, I feel an almost irrational sense of exuberance, that I can genuinely build a better more stable house than ever before.  It’s an intoxicating feeling.

It’s also incredibly frightening.  If I fail this time, the disaster will not be one I can recover from.

Years like this, I wish you were around.  I wish a lot of things.  Wishing, however, does not make things so.

All I can do is face it, as bravely as possible.





  1. You must care for Terry very much to write this moving blog to the memory of your friendship. I hope writing and sharing your thoughts helps to lessen the pain of your depression.

    • Thank you for your kind words and for being the first to comment on my blog. I believe writing and other creative endeavours can and do help relieve the pain caused by mental illness.

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