To My Strong, Exhausted Friend: I See You

Dear you,

I see you.

You cover it well, but I know how tired you are.

Pretending you are coping, painting on a bright smile and saying ‘everything is fine’.

Worn out from hiding the effort it is taking you to get through each day.

You rarely let your guard down.

Occasionally I glimpse, past the work, the relentless striving and the competency, and I see you holding on for dear life.

Desperately trying to keep it together.

Pretending you can do it all.

Hoping no one sees your panic.

Faking it til you make it in the hope one day you will, and this won’t have all been for nothing.

I can see the frantic whirr in your eyes.

I know you are terrified of what would happen if you finally laid it all down and said, “I’m done.”

You are wound so tight and fearful of what the unravelling will look like.

I watch as you bite your lip to stop saying what you really need to say:

that you are overwhelmed, but don’t know how to stop.

Have you admitted the truth to yourself?

Do you think you know too much to be ill?

You are not used to being the patient, needing support.

You are the one who offers help, not the one who receives it.

Do you know how fragile you are?

(and how precious?)

I am not going to sugar coat it,

it will be messy.

To be honest and give up.

To surrender.

You will feel over-exposed and will worry about what this will mean for you.

How will others respond when you are the one with questions, not answers?

Elli Johnson
Elli Johnson
Elli Johnson. Writer. Photographer. Child wrangler. (Over)thinker. Beauty seeker. Professional tea drinker. Mental health advocate. I’m learning how to live and writing about it as I go, follow me at, on twitter @MrsElliJohnson and on Instagram @ellijohnson

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