An Open Letter to Friends of People who Live with a Mental Illness.

Posted on Facebook:

For my friend: 

For all close to me and many, many more sadly this is very poignant, and will forever be in our minds and hearts. In support of everyone I know who wrestled with the black dog….Yes depression is relentless. A lot of us have been close to that edge, and some have lost friends and loved ones. Let’s look out for each other and stop sweeping mental illness under the rug. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my family and friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. Hope to see this on the walls of my family and friends just for moral support. I know some will!!! I did it for a friend and you can too. You have to copy and paste this one, no Sharing! (Hold screen to copy text)

Dear Friends of People who Live with a Mental Illness,

I am one of those who suffers from depression. 

A mental illness.

It’s tough. 


But a black dog? Nope that’s not how I would describe it. Dogs for me are full of life. Energy. Nothing about our ur dogs my heart makes me think of depression. 

I describe my depression in one of three ways:

The weather– think of a persistent  weather system, that won’t clear up. My English friends will understand it- the heavy grey clouds that seem to feature in January, where they just make the mood and everything seem grey and dull. And then when the sun comes out and the clouds disappear, everything seems light and colourful.

Rowing– bizarre I know, but on the days when my depression has a grip on my life everything seems hard. Everything requires an effort and is a challenge. So I feel like I’m rowing upstream and that I’m not even moving. 

Being in a pit. This is more about once I’m in a low, just how hard/ impossible it is to get out. I can try the suggested ‘natural remedies’- sleep, healthy eating, exercise, but they don’t work. Like trying to climb out of a pit- it feels like it’s futile. 

When depression hits (well for me anyway), life becomes a challenge. Everyday life. I can’t cope with my children bickering. I have no patience. No tolerances. I shout. I lose my cool. I don’t feel like cooking, so meals become take outs. I have no energy, so the house becomes a mess.  I don’t want to go out, yet staying in drags me down further. I am critical. My marriage becomes shakey, because my husband can’t do anything right- though he hasn’t changed his behaviour from the previous week. 

Friends may I ask- if you’re willing to show support to those of us who suffer from a mental illness, please don’t do it by sharing a post on Facebook for an hour. Rather send text asking how it is going, letting someone know tha you were thinking of them. Pick up the phone, give them a call, invite them round for coffee. Take them out for a walk. Offer to help. Give them a hug. 

Supporting a loved one through mental illness isn’t easy. In my case- I am negative, critical and full of complaints. I am not fun to be around- but the one thing that I need is help to pull me out of the pit. 

So please dear friends, come and pull me out of the pit and spare a thought to my family- who have to live with me when I’m like this. 

To my family and friends who have supported me through my most recent bout- thank you. I am so grateful for your support, for your love and mostly for your amazing patience and tolerance because I know that I am not pleasant to be around. I truly appreciate your love and support. 



PS: It turns out I have written about depression before!!

Living with Depression

About Cheryl

I am a child of God, a wife and a mother of 4 children. Some days are good. Some days are frustrating. Some days are just plain insane. In between the mayhem, I loved to go for walks with our mutt, potter in the garden and enjoy the beauty that surrounded us. That all changed in August 2012 when we waved goodbye to our mutt and garden, our eldest at Uni in Gloucester and moved to Tokyo for 4 months. And yes- we are still here...
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1 Response to An Open Letter to Friends of People who Live with a Mental Illness.

  1. thefeatheredsleep says:


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