To Everyone Who Stuck By Me When I Needed It The Most

Photo: Augustino / Shutterstock
sad woman being comforted by friend

By Emily Bernstein

The world is so loud.

It’s full of people talking on their cellphones, chattering on about how so-in-so doesn’t like them back, complaining about the state of the world, and shouting their opinions on every platform available.

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Most people aren’t taking the time to listen anymore. Most aren’t taking the time to truly care when people are struggling.

We need more listeners — more people to just sit there and support us in our times of need.

I have not shied away from writing about my depression, my crippling self-consciousness, my depression and anxiety, or my celiac disease. These things are a large part of my life, and you won’t know me very long before you start hearing stories about all of this.

Similarly, I’m a college student, so I’ve been through those horrible phases you go through in middle school, high school, and the summer before college. I have been through a lot, but even the bad things have helped me to grow.

Still, it goes without saying that I have put some of my relationships to the test.

There are some people who, even after my first shoulder surgery (which is another story altogether), decided I was too "high-maintenance" to deal with. There are some who, after middle school, decided I wasn’t cool enough for their friendship.

My depression and anxiety was too much to deal with for some. There are even people who decided that, after high school, I wasn’t worth their time anymore.

For those of you who stuck with me through it all, thank you.

For those who stood by me while I sat on the couch in a sling, while I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, while I avoided all mirrors, while I cut gluten out of my diet for good, I owe you one.

And for those of you who met me in the middle of all of this life getting thrown at me, and decided I was worth it anyway, I owe you one too. A big one.

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It isn’t just that you stayed with me through all of this — that you’re still sitting around with me at lunch, at coffee, at poetry readings. It’s that you’re listening too.

Not only are you still sitting with me at all these places, you’re listening to me.

You listened to my rants, my cries, my hopes, my fears, my dreams. And you cared about all of that. All of you, just sitting by me, while I complain and wonder aloud about the causes of suffering and heartbreak and love, you’re wonderful.

All of you allowing me to talk about everything I hold inside me every day, allowing me to scream about the things I never really get to scream about, you mean everything to me. I appreciate you more than you will ever understand.

And instead of telling me you know how I feel, instead of telling me you understand, instead of giving me looks of pity and sympathy, you tell me you’re glad that I confide in you. You tell me that it’ll all be okay soon.

You tell me that, and I believe it just because you’re there for me — because you support me without fail. You have all done so much for me, and I want you all to know that.

And to everyone, all of you, who stuck by me, who decided I wasn’t high-maintenance, who met me and grabbed my hand and didn’t let go, who taught me that I am worth it, you are the reason I am the person I am today.

I have grown, learned, loved, lived because of all of you.

I am so incredibly grateful for all of you. And I can only hope I can listen and love you the same way you do for me.

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Emily Bernstein is a writer whose work focuses on mental health, pop culture, love, and family. Her writing has been featured in Nature, The New Yorker, Interview Magazine, Healio, Five O'Clock, among others. Follow her on Twitter for more.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.