This is a letter I wish I had the courage to send but the truth is it will never go anywhere but here. It should be distributed to about 95% of my social circle. (Not you guys obviously, you’re already more supportive than I ever could have imagined.) It’s for everyone else who pretends they are my friend when it couldn’t feel further from the truth.
You may have noticed in the past year that I have started pulling away. Started removing myself from social get-togethers. Stopped calling, emailing, visiting, quit Facebook. Many of you know the reason why, some of you know part of the reason why. But I don’t think any of you didn’t realise I was going through a difficult time.
Truth is I’m in a great deal of pain. I struggle to get up in the morning. I struggle to sleep and eat properly and all I think about is how empty I feel. I want nothing more than to stay in bed day after day. I don’t want to work or to hang out or to talk. I want this pain to go away.
And although I initiated this self-exile, no one has reached out to me to see if I am coping, to see how I am doing. Every one of you has been silent.
At first I was expected to carry on with normal life. To attend the birthday gatherings, carry on with laughing, small talk, gossip. Then slowly over time, after further losses, the cards stopped coming and the contact just stopped altogether.
It’s to be expected. I wouldn’t know how to deal with me if I was you. Because you are happy. You have a full life and family or you’re blissfully expecting or you don’t get what all the fuss is about. Some of you even know what it’s like to struggle to achieve a family but you got there in the end. And you are the ones, strangely, I’ve heard absolutely nothing from.
And although I’ve gone to great pains to avoid becoming the elephant in the room, or the one silently whispered about, that’s exactly what I seem to have become. And to no fault of your own. I realise how horrific my scenario might seem. By avoiding me you are avoiding pain. No one likes pain. It’s easier to look the other way.
And I know some of you wish I would stop dramatising and just pull my finger out. Snap out of it. Relax. I truly wish I could snap my fingers and change what’s happened, or to take the pain away. But I can’t. There is no going back. I have lost a part of myself and I won’t be the same person again. I don’t know if you could understand that if you haven’t been through it.
But I know one thing, and I don’t think it’s the experience with IF and RPL talking, but I never would have allowed a friend to endure this silently. I would have continued to try to connect, whatever response I got. Because people retreat when they’re in pain, like when animals retreat to lick their wounds. Support couldn’t be more important at a time like this.
There are one or two people who have been there for me. Checking in even if they know I’m at my lowest point. Insisting to see me so they can put their shoulder under my head. But this letter is not addressed to them.
What is now clear is who I can count on. Seriously count on. It’s a lot fewer people than I thought.
I’m not saying all this to get a response from you. Because I think we are past that now. I just want to get this off my chest because I feel it needs to be said. And I’m not saying it’s too late for us. I’m not saying I won’t bounce back one day or pick up the phone to start over.
That day feels like a long way away. After five losses none of it matters anymore. I’m not sure how long I will feel this way. But I would hope, as my friend, as a human being, that even if you don’t understand how I feel that you could empathise. And if you were to even encounter another friend going through a similar situation that you might take a different approach next time. At this point, this letter is more for them than it is for me.