memoir in progress

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Not too long ago, I went to a book store and put my hand where my future book will be. It was a powerful feeling to put my energy there.

It took me a while to admit that I’m writing a memoir. I wrote a mission statement for my book first. I had to overcome knowing how arrogant (and douchey) it sounded to be in my late thirties writing a memoir.

But I’m doing it. I needed this story when I was first starting out in my mental health recovery journey and almost twenty years later and there’s still a void where a book like this should be – an example of someone living well, happily with bipolar disorder, from an Asian American immigrant perspective. A person who can say relatably, life doesn’t end here. Everything is still ahead for the taking.

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I have a query letter and need to finish my book proposal by the end of the month to take to a writing conference. It’s all incredibly rewarding, scary, and a whirlwind. Please wish me luck! <3

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After years of not having enough time to read books, I have been on a book binge since I quit my job in late January and devoted myself to writing. Here are some of the books I’ve read or am almost done reading:

Book Author
Dark Side of Innocence Terri Cheney
Marbles Ellen Forney
Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life Ellen Forney
American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang
The Collected Schizophrenias Esme Weijun Wang
Byline Bible Susan Shapiro
The Autobiographer’s Handbook Jennifer Traig
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel Alexander Chee
Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UP Marie Kondo
Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write Elizabeth Lyon
Writer’s Market 2019
Write the Perfect Book Proposal Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine
Madness: A Bipolar Life Marya Hornbacher
Harry Potter Books 1-4 (Re-reading to my kiddo) JK Rowling
PS I Still Love you Jenny Han
Shrill Lindy West

Shout out to the public library for being such an amazing resource! And the free Apps Libby and Hoopa for borrowing digital audiobooks, graphic novels, music, etc. are amazing!

guilt, shame, and stereotypes

peter-boccia-1422516-unsplashPhoto by Peter Boccia on Unsplash

The topic of guilt comes up often at our bipolar support group meetings.

The newly diagnosed and those who have long lived with the condition alike are both prone to bouts of guilt over their condition and their symptoms.  I am no exception. I am afflicted with guilt at times of insecurity or vulnerability, usually brought on by stress.

At our last meeting, I asked, “Is it guilt or is it shame?” Is there a difference and does it matter? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

guilt

1the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty.
2athe state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously.
bfeelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy: SELF-REPROACH
3a feeling of deserving blame for offenses.

shame

1: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety

2a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute: IGNOMINY

3asomething that brings censure or reproach also: something to be regretted: PITY

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Having a mental health condition is not a character flaw or a personal failure. It is not an offense we committed. I reject guilt.

Shame is more complex. Shame is something I can’t help but carry. Every day, I’m in an internal battle against shame.

“…you can’t advocate for yourself if you won’t admit what you are.” -Lindy West

When I was hiding my condition, I remained silent and complacent. When a colleague complained that her boss is acting bipolar, I could not respond. I could not say, “That’s not the way it works. I know, because I actually live with bipolar disorder.”

I could not explain that just as “retarded” and “gay” are inappropriate, offensive ways to describe something or someone negatively, “bipolar” or any other clinical term for a mental health condition is also an inappropriate way to describe someone who does not have a mental health diagnosis, but is just annoying today.

Because I was in hiding due to my own shame, I could not ask for more sensitivity. I could not share the statistic that according to the World Health Organization, “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.”

As a society, we have widely accepted that stereotypes are harmful and wrong, but people who have bipolar disorder are still painted in a broad strokes as selfish, narcissistic, destructive, irresponsible, unreliable, volatile, even violent. We are stereotyped as a burden and a liability. We are viewed as people who can’t take care of ourselves, let alone our children and our families. For years, I let these presumptions eat away at my self-esteem.

I am here to declare these stereotypes do not fit me.

I am here to shatter these stereotypes because everyone living with this mental health condition is different. Using the cancer analogy again – not all cancers are the same. Cancer patients react to treatments differently, even if it’s the same type of cancer. Why is it so much harder to understand that the same can be true for mental health conditions? Some are lucky enough to go into remission and become cancer survivors. Others may lose the battle because the treatments have not worked. I challenge everyone to think about bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses the same way they would think about cancer, to literally replace the words to see if we can think about mental health illnesses with less stigma.

There are more people like me, who have kept this part of themselves secret because of the destructive stereotypes that have us hiding in shame, further building the stigma, because we stay silent while society spins a harmful, inaccurate image of what a person with bipolar disorder looks like.  Most of us, like those with physical chronic conditions, are doing our best to live well.

The prevalence of cancer and mental health disorders is actually rather similar:

  • The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with cancer is a little more than 1 in 3. (American Cancer Society)
  • 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. (WHO)

I want to help build and live in a society that shows as much compassion for those living with and surviving mental health conditions as we show for our loved-ones living with and surviving cancer.

Dear Potential Employers

I thought I didn’t have any stories about mental health discrimination. Afterall, I had just become public with my bipolar condition only a couple of months ago. How could I have experienced discrimination when people didn’t know? Sure, I have heard insensitive comments like “my boss is so bipolar” made in my presence, the person venting never considering I might actually be living with this very real and difficult condition.

A couple of months ago, I quit my coveted, prestigious corporate job I held for years.  I also began to write and advocate for mental health awareness. I had been co-facilitating a support group at my local NAMI chapter and as I became more confident, this new empowered move was a natural next step.

From an early age, I worked tirelessly to prove myself equal or better than my peers. Bringing home all A’s, winning awards and scholarships. I went on to earn my MBA from a top program, all the while hiding the fact that I was also managing my bipolar disorder. I refused to let even myself see that it was harder for me.  I refused to see until recently that if life was a swim meet, I was competing with one arm tied behind my back, and sometimes even extra weights tied around my ankles. The fact that I was able to keep up or win races doesn’t negate it had been harder. But I continued to hide, especially from myself, because I did not want to appear less than- less capable, less trustworthy, or less lovable.  Many times in my life, I thought I would drown. I thought I had no choice but to give up but instead, I picked myself up and kept going, doing the best I could.

I have now been living well, happily for two decades after my initial diagnosis. I have had successful careers, a wonderful marriage, and a beautiful child. My proudest achievement is knowing I am a good mom, practicing conscious, positive parenting.

Everything I have achieved gave me the courage to “come out.” I needed to do my part in breaking the stigma.  I wanted to believe I had proven myself enough over the years that my career forward would not be much different, despite my new openness and my advocacy work. I was optimistic.

Unfortunately, I soon found myself mysteriously passed over for jobs for which I was well-qualified.  Repeatedly ghosted on opportunities where the recruiter initially sought me out, for which my skills and experience seemed perfectly aligned. Hiring managers were suddenly silent after successful rounds of interviews and much momentum.

I couldn’t shake my suspicion.  I am now searchable online as an out advocate for mental health. I wear my bipolar I diagnosis, past psychosis and all, publicly on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook. Though I made no mention of my mental health condition in my interviews, it is very plausible that potential employers would look me up.

Can I pinpoint to the actual reason why I was being ghosted? Of course not.

Could it have been that they found a more worthy candidate? Absolutely.

But as with any other form of discrimination, I will most likely never find out the real reason.  Just as it has been happening for decades to countless gay applicants or people of color applicants who did not receive a callback, I will never be sure of the cause. This was why I wanted to hide all these years. I did not want my mental health condition, however deftly managed, to ever come up as a possibility for discrimination. I am already a female and Asian. Now I have another factor that employers may not look upon favorably.

Mental health advocates have long recognized what we’re fighting is beyond stigma. It is discrimination. So here’s what I want to say:

Dear Potential Employers:

I am the same dedicated, hardworking candidate I was before you learned of my mental health condition. Before writing me off, please review my qualifications, glowing references, and work samples. If you pass on my candidacy prematurely, whether or not there is a just cause, you will be missing out on an excellent, empathetic team member and contributor.    

Sincerely,

Michelle

dylan-gillis-533818-unsplash                         Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

My first podcast interview is live!

Listen here!

How High Achievers Can Mask Mental Health Issues (s3e07)

Michelle Yang was a very successful teenager on paper. Michelle was outgoing, earned excellent grades, and worked hard at her immigrant family’s small restaurant.  Her constant battle with depression, anxiety and insomnia was less obvious to the world. The stigma against mental health conditions, especially within her family, prevented her from accessing proper help for years.

Finally, while studying abroad during college, she suffered from a serious episode that led to her being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Michelle now wants to break that stigma and encourage others by sharing her own story of how a successful career, a happy family and a good life is more than possible.

From personal experience, she knows why Asian Americans are three times less likely than other people in this country to seek help for mental health. Now, she’s writing a book to advocate for mental health wellness.

 

Listen here!

Show Notes

Just say hi

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplashzac-durant-1141750-unsplash

I drove by a homeless man today sitting in front of a drug store entrance with a cardboard sign. When two people walked out, he smiled brightly and greeted them. They in return averted their eyes, pretended not to see him, and shuffled quickly away.

What would it be like to have your presence invalidated all the time? For people to not see you?

I live in a city where many complain of a “homeless problem.”

“Some people just don’t want to be helped,” they say.

I have heard kindhearted people dehumanize the homeless. Making jokes, even taking photos of them while they’re sleeping, without consent, and posting the photos on social media for laughs. (Laughs, to my horror, which they get!)

I was at a summer street festival with a group of friends when they spotted some punky street youth. Two people in our group sneaked up behind them and started exaggeratedly sniffing around. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Wanting no part of this, I separated from the group.

When I think of the homeless, I think how easily I could have been one of them. If I didn’t have the means to pay for my medication. If my parents hadn’t been there to take care of me when I was diagnosed. If I had gotten lost in the streets during an episode, I could easily have been wandering the world alone, not knowing where I am.

Out of over half a million homeless people surveyed, “…25% of the American homeless… were seriously mentally ill at any given point in time. 45% of the homeless had a form of mental illness.” – Mental Illness Policy Org.

I could easily be one of them.

I think of all the people who were dealt a less fortunate hand in life. For example, the kids in foster care who get bounced from home to home and never adopted.

“Approximately 400,000 youth are currently in foster care in the United States. Approximately 20,000 of those youth age-out each year without positive familial supports or any family connection at all. Within 18 months of emancipation 40-50% of foster youth become homeless.” – Foster Focus

I think of Summer from my high school, a sweet bespectacled girl with a brown hair and an easy smile.  I didn’t know she was in the state’s care until she’d run away from her foster home, never to return.

Trying to protect me, my parents always taught me not to make eye contact with people who live in the streets. Avoiding them was to avoid potential unpleasant confrontation. I grew up practicing this until college when I decided it sounded fun to volunteer at a soup kitchen. I expected to make dozens of sandwiches and dole out bowls of steaming soup, which I did. What I did not expect was to sit among the homeless people partaking the meals. Over time, mutually therapeutic bonds formed over casual conversations and laughs over cheesy dad jokes. They were just normal people. They were not there to hurt me or rob me. I didn’t need to fear them or put up extra armor to be in their proximity just because they were homeless.

I’m very lucky that my college scholarship program furthered my education by hosting a speaker series on homelessness curated by a caring former mayor. There were panels made up of homeless people and I obnoxiously peppered them with endless, inappropriate questions, like, “How did you end up with SEVEN kids while homeless?”

Looking back with more maturity and perspective, I am mortified by my naive questions. But I’m glad I asked them. They helped me peel back the layers of misunderstanding, fear, and mystery.  My bold and insensitive questions allowed me to really learn the story behind a strong, devoted mother who would do anything for her children, who herself, starving, started drinking hard alcohol at age 5 because that was the only source of sustenance in her neglected home.

The speaker series provided a safe space that allowed me to ask my judgmental questions, to really listen to the people kind and patient enough to educate me and delivered me to a place of compassion. To a place where when I meet a person who lives in the streets, I can smile, look them in the eyes, and just say hi.

 

 

12 things I do for everyday wellness

 

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years living with bipolar disorder, it’s that everyone’s different in how we struggle and cope. Every person responds to medications differently and can have greatly varied symptoms.  As a peer living with bipolar disorder (I’m not a professional), here are some things that have helped me find everyday wellness:

    1. Seek treatment. See medical providers. Is it a psychiatrist for medication, therapist, or just a primary healthcare doctor?  Often a team is needed, but however you feel supported, it is so important to seek ongoing care. I’ve learned this the hard way. If I neglect making appointments when I’m well and busy, it is so hard to get in to see providers when I do need help. Finding good providers who will advocate for you is much more challenging than one would expect, but also absolutely vital.
    2. Always take medication. Always. Traveling to different time zones or camping? Set an alarm. I also avoid all other drugs, including caffeine, alcohol and anything recreational. These can prevent medications from working appropriately or mess with sleep cycle.  
    3. Get enough sleep. To me, getting enough sleep is just as important as seeking treatment and taking meds. If I don’t get enough sleep for several consecutive days, it the first sign that something’s wrong. When traveling across time zones, I give myself extra time to adjust.
    4. Nurture a support network. Invest in friendships and relationships. Often I will not feel like leaving the house, but in general, if I’m well enough, I make a point to show up for others when it counts. I would like people to show up for me, so it’s only fair.
    5. Attend support groups. NAMI and other support groups can be very helpful and are free of cost. It’s invaluable to have a safe space where everyone knows exactly what I’m going through to prevent feeling alone in a society with so much stigma. There are some online support group options as well. I don’t find find these to be as effective as in person meetings, but they can still be a good resource.
    6. Build a routine. I find having a routine tremendously helpful. This is one of the reasons I enjoy working, as it provides a built-in structure and a sense of productivity.  I also appreciate the social interaction with other adults built it in a job.
    7. Leave home at least once a day, even if it’s just to take a walk. Something about getting out, breathing the fresh air and being under the open sky helps me avoid depression.
    8. Turn on the lights. It’s so simple, but I find warm-toned, bright lights to be instantly mood-lifting. I need my home and work space both to be bright.
    9. Avoid triggers. Loud background noises like fans or sports games on TV get make me anxious. I only recently learned about the link between bipolar disorder and hypersensitivity I excuse myself when I need to or turn off these noises as soon as possible.
    10. Find inspiration. I love to paint and draw. Having my work up around the house reminds me of more productive times if I’m feeling down on myself, my creations serve as silent pep-talks. Photos I love of family, friends and pets do the same thing in my living and work space.
    11. Set boundaries. I have a breaking point, everyone does. It’s my job to know what that is and to set appropriate boundaries. Sometimes I need to remove stresses or even people from my life to protect myself. This can be very difficult. We are working against a lifetime of conditioning and a strong sense of obligation and responsibility, but self-care must come first.   
    12. Be kind to myself.  I need reminders to be compassionate with myself and to stop the negative self talk. It’s so easy to fall down a spiral of thinking everyone hates me, that I’m a failure and a fraud. I suffer from Impostor Syndrome. To combat this, I consciously think of examples of positive interactions with people to remind myself they don’t hate me. Similarly, I force myself to list out my achievements and productivity to not feel like a failure. It takes so much effort, but it is one of my most important coping skills.

Do you have any coping skills that I didn’t cover? Please share.

 

 

Before Me

My paternal grandfather (huge guy holding the shovel) at the groundbreaking for Inchon’s School for Chinese. This is where my dad and his siblings, my brother and I all went to school. It is still running to this day.

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As a teenager no longer able to bear being another mouth to feed, my grandfather left behind his hometown and the famine in Shandong, China. He was illiterate and homeless. On his own, doing what he could to get by. He crossed the Yellow Sea and landed in what is now Inchon, South Korea in the early 1900’s. There he made his fortune. Working tirelessly, building little by little, from bottling soybean oil to constructing buildings. By the time I was born in the 1980s, he owned a noodle factory, a bathhouse, and one of the largest banquet hall Chinese restaurants in the city. He was a true self-made man and a leader in the Chinese community. 

What the success story hides is the trauma my grandfather must have endured. He traded his life as a penniless teenager wasting away with his family, only to live through the violent invasion and occupation by the Japanese (1910-1945) and the tumultuous Korean War (1950-1953). 

After the war, the government seized much of his land because he was not a Korean citizen.   But he continued building his successful and varied businesses and thrived as the patriarch of a prominent family with seven children.

My father was the youngest.  Charismatic and funny, he inherited my grandfather’s strength and determination. He doesn’t often speak of his childhood though, only that he didn’t have a good one and wished better for my brother and me.  

Regretfully, by the time I came along, Alzheimer’s disease laid claim to my grandfather’s mind. He was never able to recognize who we were or answer my questions. I collect and treasure the stories about him, both beautiful and marred, as bits of wisdom to help me understand my world.  

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My maternal grandfather told me stories of the air raids in the Korean War that sent him and other school children scattering and screaming. Though always a kind and doting grandfather to me, he was a challenge for his five children, unwavering in his ways.

My Little Uncle was my favorite. As my mom’s youngest brother, he was the baby of the family and only about ten years older than me. Little Uncle was so much fun, he could make up games out of anything. I giggled uncontrollably at his silly faces. He was also the most patient grown-up I knew. Little Uncle taught me how to swim and how to wrap a present in the short summers we were able to spend together. 

When I was older, he told me why his eldest brother left home at age seventeen to make his own way in America: 

“You must kill the monkey to scare the chickens,” he muttered.

“What does that mean?” I asked, completely puzzled by this odd image.

“That is what your grandfather believed. To make the younger children stay in line, he beat his oldest son brutally. Kicking him repeatedly even after he fell to the ground, while the rest of us watched.” His eyes were sunken and faraway. 

I only got to know my eldest uncle after we immigrated. He struggled with severe depression and was often withdrawn.  Drowning in sadness, he once called my grandfather in Korea in the middle of the night to confront him, “Why did you give birth to me?”

Nevertheless, they broke the cycle. My little and eldest uncles never laid a hand on their children.

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My grandmother’s sister was married to a violent alcoholic. He beat her badly. I heard hushed stories of how my great-aunt came to hide in her sister’s house, only to be eventually turned over to her husband. The family could not hide her from him. No matter what he did, she belonged to him. “Mei ban fa. Tha de ming ku,” they would say. “There’s nothing to be done. Her life is bitter.”

He eventually killed my great-aunt and died himself soon after. For years, after they were orphaned, their five young children, the youngest just a newborn, lived with my grandparents and their five kids. 

When my father, giddy with love, asked for mother’s hand in marriage, my grandfather asked him somberly to make a promise. “You can yell at her all you want,” he said, “but you must never hit her.” 

He kept his promise.

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Studies show Asian Americans are the least likely among different ethnic groups to seek treatment for a mental health condition.  For many, including my parents, the awareness of mental health as an issue did not exist. Naturally, the possibility of seeking mental health treatment never occurred to them. 

My mother never handled stress well. When the restaurant we ran got busy, she would panic and her voice would become shrill, unable to breathe. My father had a violent, uncontrollable temper. We were always on eggshells around him. Unlike my uncles, he was unable to break the cycle.

Whether trauma can be inherited is debated, but how one reacts to stress is affected by our families and our environment.  Due to our family history, the “fight or flight” reaction is triggered more quickly and more exaggeratedly. 

I wonder about how much my family’s past trauma contribute to my own diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  Why if unmedicated, I am susceptible to psychosis. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Whatever the cause, I can’t change that I live with my condition. But having more context about the past helps me better understand my parents, why they are the way they are and why they raised me the way they did. It helps with the daunting task of healing our relationship from a place of love and compassion, and to better understand myself.

 

noodle factory

          Me at my first home, a noodle factory in South Korea. (circa 1982)

 

Parenthood

 

Parenthood saved me. Maybe not in the way you think.

I was such a good Chinese daughter. I was “drinking the kool-aid” as my brother called it until I was about 30 years old.

All growing up, my parents would scold me and say, “You will understand when you become a parent yourself.”

The irony is, when I was finally ready to become a parent, that’s when I stopped drinking the kool-aid. Stopped being a “good daughter.” I finally drew the boundaries I needed to stop the patterns of abuse.

Preparing for parenthood made me reflect deeply on the type of parent I wanted to be and it was only then that I realized the harshness of my own childhood. I vowed to break the cycle.

I vowed to provide a nurturing environment for my child where he knew he was loved everyday. Where he would never know what it’s like to be abused, physically or verbally. Where he would never been manipulated and made to think that our love for him would be conditional. Where he would be free to explore all his creative passions.

I am extremely lucky. I have bipolar disorder but it does not stop me from leading a full, happy, successful life. But I take credit for it as well, it’s not just luck. I make the choices that afford me this life.

I work, I volunteer, I nurture. I put kindness out in the world and find warmth reflected back in unexpected and wonderful ways.

I hope that people who are just being diagnosed will know that their lives are not over because of their new “mentally ill” label. With the right treatment, you can still go after your dreams.

Defining success

What is success?

And what is success when living with bipolar disorder? Does there have to be a difference?

From a young age, I worked. I saw my parents spend way too many hours toiling away. I toiled along side them. They gave up quality of life and neglected themselves and their children for the purpose of making and saving money. We were never rich and lived very modestly with frugal habits, but if we truly ever needed or wanted something, there was money to pay for it. As a result, I have relaxed relationship with money (a privilege, I know).

I always believed that if I worked hard, I will have enough money to cover my needs. Therefore success was never defined by money for me. After college, I went into nonprofit work. I was seeking to be fulfilled, feel productive, with a healthy work-life balance.

I pursued an MBA degree in order to fulfill a niche in the nonprofit sector but did eventually end up in the private sector, working for a prestigious large corporation.

When does it end? What is healthy ambition vs. an unhealthy amount of pressure to put on yourself? Is it giving up if you are afraid moving up another level would prove too much for you? Is this “normal” apprehension that I should try to overcome or do I recognize and respect my own limits because of my condition? What are those limits?

Earlier this week, I put in my 2 week notice at my coveted corporate job. I had never made more money in my life, yet I was miserable. Ultimately, it wasn’t right for me or my family.

So begins perhaps the scariest thing I have ever done. I will be taking a few months off to focus on my writing before going back to work full time. I will be doing some soul searching in the meantime, so that I can be thoughtful and strategic about my future.

A friendship lost

A few years ago, I lost one of my best friends.

C* and I met in grad school and we were inseparable. When my ex cheated on me and I broke it off with him, she picked me up off the floor. When she and her boyfriend ended things, she was inconsolable. She moved in with me until she found her own place.  I made sure she ate and was there for her the same way she was for me during my heartbreak.

C was by my side as a bridesmaid when I got married. She was the gracious host of my baby shower. Then my pregnancy, though closely monitored by a team of medical specialists, went awry. I had been tapered off of my medication before the pregnancy to protect the baby. But around 38 weeks in, I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep, it was like I fell off of a cliff.

Over a decade of stability on my medication had given me a false sense of security. I thought I could identify the signs if I felt an episode coming on and be able to signal the alarms in time to get help. I was wrong. Without being on meds, I had no grace period. I fell off the deep end and found myself in the worst manic episode with psychosis I’d ever experienced.

I was hospitalized and my poor husband was worried sick and terrified, never having seen me like this. C was with us through it all, even visiting me in the psych ward before the baby was born.

After the baby came, we saw each other less and less, even after my life stabilized and I went back to work. I missed her so much, but she canceled or postponed each of my attempts for us to get together. I even made sure I could hang out without the baby with her so I could be fully present, but it didn’t make a difference.  Exhausted from always being the one to reach out with no success, I decided to wait for her to reach out to me.

I never imagined that it would take a year for me to hear from her. We went from talking almost daily, to maybe weekly, to semi-regularly, to no communication for a year when I wasn’t the instigator.  She essentially ghosted me.  Over seven years of friendship and I was ghosted.

I started and stopped numerous emails and texts to C during this year. I deleted every one without sending.  I was determined to give her some space. She saw me at my lowest, during my hospital stay, now that I was better, why did I lose her?

She did eventually contact me a year later and acted as if nothing happened. At this point, I bared my soul. Telling her her how hurt I was that I had been brushed off and asking why. She never gave me a real answer.

I genuinely wished her a happy life and we have not spoken since.

I loved this friend, she is a kind, wonderful, intelligent, and hilarious person. I loved having her in my life and was so proud to call her friend. I miss her to this day but I also know when to let someone go. And this friendship died when she couldn’t be honest with me.

It’s a lot to see a friend be hospitalized in a psych ward while about to pop out a baby. I get that. I will forever be grateful for her for being there for us then. No matter what happened after, seven years of beautiful friendship is a true gift.

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*C is not her real initial.