Dear Family and Friends,
To those who know and care about me,
When I was in the midst of my deep depression and mental illness, it was impossible for me to see outside of the pain within me. I couldn't think about how my life (that I didn't want) was affecting others. I tried to shut out the world and anyone a part of that world.
Now that I am beyond that terrible time, my world has gotten bigger and bigger. The more I find healing, the more I can see outside of myself and care for those who are connected with me. I used to look back on those dark years and only see what I went through. Now, I look back and I see a greater picture. I see that there were some people who remained in my life even though I pulled away. There were people who prayed for me and tried to show me that they loved me.
Now I wonder how my family and friends were affected by me and my struggle. It had to be hard for you too. You celebrate with me now in my recovery, but there was no celebrating then. How did you feel? Would some of you be willing to answer a question or two from this list and send it privately to me? It would mean so much to me even if it is hard for me to hear. I want a greater understanding of you. I want to connect with you through truth and sharing. I want to understand.
And for those of you who do not know me, I am interested in your answers to these questions in regard to your loved one who struggles with depression and mental illness. Just imagine that they are asking you these same questions. What would you say to them? What did you notice about me at first that was different from my old self?
- What did you think was happening to me in the beginning of my depression and mental illness?
- Did you research my illness? What did you discover that related to me?
- Did you wonder if I was getting help? How did you find out if I was?
- Was it difficult to know what to say to me? How did you decide what to say?
- What things did you want to say to me that you couldn't? Why were you unable to say these things?
- How did my reluctance to talk to you or share with you make you feel? How did you deal with this?
- What was frustrating about my state of mind?
- Did you want to help me? Did you think that you could?
- How did you want to help me? Did you try? How did I react?
- How did it affect you to have to have patience as you saw me struggle?
- What did you feel about the possibility of recovery for me? Did you think it may be hopeless?
- What scared you the most?
- What feelings came up for you as I did not get better, or may have even gotten worse?
- Did you every feel guilty, like it might be your fault? Why did you feel this way?
- What did you think that I needed to do to get better?
- How did my limits affect you? How were you able to accept them? Or were you able to?
- Did you feel that you needed to rescue me? If so, how did you think that you might be able to make that happen?
- Where was your stress level during those years of my depression? What other things were going on in your life that affected to way you related to me and were able to deal with my illness?
- What were the difficulties in being open in communications with me? How has that changed?
- Did I make you feel alone? Explain that feeling. What other feelings came up for you?
- What did you believe I was thinking about you?
- What scared you about my actions? Why did it scare you? How did you notice these actions?
- Did you want to spend time with me or avoid me? Explain.
- Were you able to tell me the truth when I asked you something or even when I didn't? Are you able to now? Can you share a time this happened?
- Did you take my emotions and actions personally? How did you think they were directed at you?
- How did you focus on your own life during my illness?
- How, where, and from whom did you find support? How did these help you?
- What little steps did you notice in me that led you to believe that I may be going to get better?
- What changes have you seen in me for the better?
- What do you know about me now that you didn't know before?
- What have you learned about yourself during the years of my struggle?
- What things do you know about life now that you didn't know before I became ill?
- What do you notice about me now that has come about in me because of the pain I went through?
- How do you think I can continue to stay in recovery?
- How can our relationship grow? What can I do to let you know that I love you?
Please let me know the number of the question(s) that you are answering. Thank you so much for you thoughts and time.