I Wish My Friends Knew…

Last week, Kyle Swartz – a primary school teacher from Colorado – set a fairly innocuous-seeming piece of homework for her class of eight and nine year-olds; to complete the sentence, ‘I wish my teacher knew…’. The responses were a heartbreaking window into the worries and struggles of childhood life and have proved a thought-provoking hit on social media around the world.

After reading the story, blogger @depressednotsad (AKA ‘Little Blue Fish’, interviewed here) wondered what she’d have written when she was child and – perhaps more pertinently – what she’d write now. The result was #IWishMyFriendsKnew, and her replies are a brave and desperately moving insight into the thoughts and worries of both an ordinary mum with depression and a survivor of child abuse.

Inspired by @depressednotsad‘s bravery and honesty, there have since been hundreds of tweets completing the same sentence, ‘I wish my friends knew…’. It’s a poignant account of the secret fears, thoughts and feelings of people with mental health problems, and I’ve collected just a few of them here. Tissues at the ready! [EDIT: I’ve had to type these out because embedding the tweets made the webpage load too slowly]

I wish my friends knew…That I am sorry for letting them down over and over again (@flathooves

I wish my friends knew…how worthless I feel all the time (@ActivistBlues)

I wish my friends knew…that I’m really lonely on the psychiatric ward and I’d love a visit- someone to make me laugh or listen to music with me (@mentalbattle)

I wish my friends knew…that I’m so grateful for the people who have stuck by me through the tough times. I love you. (@depressednotsad

I wish my friends knew…that it’s scarier for me to talk about feeling suicidal than it is for them to hear about it. (@TBad33

iWishMyFriends

I wish my friends knew…when I hide myself away it’s not because I don’t want to see them, it’s because I want to spare them from being with me. (@tweety123pie)

I wish my friends knew…that I blame myself for my #depression & every time I get ill, I feel like a failure #SelfStigma (@bdogrunner)

I wish my friends knew…i dont mean to be a constant let down its just the demons in my head are stronger than me (@lozmariegreen)

I wish my friends knew…that I envy them for being able to feel excited and challenged by things while I’m at home, low & exhausted again. (@drinksinthedark)

I wish my friends knew…just how much they mean to me 🙂 (@LifeOfAPanicPix)

I wish my friends knew…that’s it’s ok to feel awkward about asking about my mental health, but ask anyway, you may learn something (@jonnyward21)

I wish my friends knew…that even though I look ok at dinner with them I often spend the following night crying (@DepressedPhD)

I wish my friends knew…that is much easier to answer “I’m Fine” when you ask how I am, as the alternative is way too complicated. (@depressednotsad)

I wish my friends knew…sometimes shutting down and keeping everyone at arm’s length is the only way I can cope when I feel depression coming on (@ZodiacEclipse)

I wish my friends knew… just how thankful I am for their unwavering love and support; no matter much I want to give up, they remind to hold on x (@Justdreamingof)

I wish my friends knew…that I’m scared to go outside or do anything enjoyable when I’m off sick with #Depression in case they think I’m faking (@bdogrunner)

I wish my friends knew…that I’m jealous of their lives (@depressednotsad

I wish my friends knew…how much effort goes into getting out of bed in the mornings when #depressed let alone in getting to work (@Katcopley)

I wish my friends knew…that I feel so lonely all the time even when I’m surrounded by people (@run4yourMind)

I wish my friends knew…how grateful I am for everything they do; for staying up all night keeping me safe, for not giving up, for accepting me. (@laurahanc_)

I wish my friends knew…that #mentalillness is not contagious, and that they can come see me in the psych ward and not worry. (@IAmMichaelCrook)

(Trigger warning for suicide) I wish my friends knew…that I’ve been scared to go to the beach recently as I don’t trust myself not to drown myself (@depressednotsad)

I wish my friends knew…how much I appreciate all the things & kind words they do & say! (@mrspiglet07

I wish my friends knew…what it is like never to have a day off; never a moment without anxiety. #exhausting (@sherbetlemon1

I wish my friends knew…how bitter I feel that my abuser has a marriage, good job, big house and money, and my life is in a mess. (@depressednotsad

I wish my friends knew…how exhausting it sometimes is to try to keep going (@learningtofloat

I wish my friends knew…that my emotions are so intense they physically hurt. Yet I’m expected to react in a way that seems ‘normal’ (@fortitude321

I wish my friends knew…Just how much I wish I could ask for their help, but I feel I would become an irritating burden. (@flathooves

I wish my friends knew…how much effort & energy is required for me to do ordinary things that they’d never need to think about (@bdogrunner

I wish my friends knew…how much a hug would me to me and how much I want them to give me one. (@DepressedPhD

I wish my friends knew…that I constantly worry about my friends abandoning me because I have no idea why they’d want to be friends with me. (@Violet_Emily_

I wish my friends knew…how much it hurts not to be able to help them when they are in pain and how much I wish I could change that so I could x (@g3reth

I wish my friends knew…that I can’t see them because I am scared that I’m boring and that I have nothing to say (@Lababup

I wish my friends knew…that I put off telling people when I have bad days in case they get fed up with me (@Katcopley

I wish my friends knew…that sometimes faking a smile is much easier to do than explaining why I feel depressed (@mksimpson92

I wish my friends knew…that I feel guilty for having depression & feel it’s the least I deserve in life! (@mrspiglet07

I wish my friends knew…that even a lovely day with people I love doesn’t take away my depression(@depressednotsad)

I wish my friends knew…that I can’t be honest about my mood, because I worry they’ll lose patience with the fact I’m *still* depressed (@bdogrunner

I wish my friends knew…that I’m ashamed of the mess my life is in. (@KarenKts11

I wish my friends knew…that I can’t believe a compliment, but every criticism is added to my mental folder of ‘proof’ that I’m an awful person (@bdogrunner)

I wish my friends knew…that I struggle every second of every day, and can’t remember what it’s like not to feel tired. (@ElspethVanDHole

I wish my friends knew…how scared I am that things will never get better and I will never be well enough to work (@fortitude321

I wish my friends knew…how special they are to me & thankyou to my virtual friends to BIG HUGS (@lesleylyness)

If you’d like to read more, head over to the Twitter hashtag #IWishMyFriendsKnew

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