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Letter to an Old Friend

By: Natalia Beiser

Dear Chad,

In the early 1990’s, we were such good friends. Outside of my family, I have never cherished anyone more. You supported me through a chilling hypomania and a catastrophic mania. You watched me deteriorate during medication trials and supported me. When I was alienated by many, you remained by my side. You assisted me in coping with a huge loss – the robbing of my youth to mental illness.

While I continued to decompensate, you included me in your life. When you went away to the University, you came home with stories of college life. I was so jealous! You were being exposed to new experiences and a new life while I continued to be crippled by dystonia, gained weight, and experienced clinical depression while spending most of my time lying on my parent’s couch.

You cannot understand how much I valued your friendship during that time. When I became hypomanic again two summers later, I did not recognize what was happening. I behaved badly on multiple occasions and we have not since spoken.

I do not blame you. I am sure that it was frustrating to watch me decompensate and that distancing yourself was a decision that felt safe. However, in my life I have experienced an abnormal amount of abandonment, and your permanent silence still periodically brings me to tears. Over twenty five years have passed, and I am still abnormally grieving our lost friendship. I wish that you could know me know – living a successful existence with bipolar disorder.

I am confident that you would really like me now. I have a meaningful job, good friends, and am a lector, a volunteer, and share my knowledge and experiences as a blogger for the International Bipolar Foundation. I am a better version of what I was before my first hypomania.

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