To: Amy Buttery, Ventura, California
From: Drew Mitchell, NW Illinois
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” Gimli, from “The Fellowship of the Ring” (JRR Tolkien)
Take a close look at the attached pictures. Can you explain the purpose of your comment and your purpose for attempting to explore my website? I refuse to believe that you were trying to access another website that was having the exact same issues that mine was at that exact same period of time. The screenshot from your Facebook page was taken during the period that I was having issues with my server. The message from the server has much the same language that your Facebook status had, although I believe the “belly button lint” comment was uniquely yours. In other words, do not accuse people of doing things that you yourself are guilty of.
Enough said on that. Please continue reading.
First of all, I admit that there were things I did wrong that first weekend of October 2012. I did my best to apologize to you for any disrespect I showed and/or any pain I caused you that weekend. I admit that up until you ended our friendship, I thought there was still a chance for us to reconcile our differences. I thought the world of you and wanted nothing but the best for you. As of this writing, I have so many mixed feelings about you, but I still hope for you a happy and successful life.
I would think that my behavior that weekend should have tipped you off that something was wrong. I was not myself. You had known me long enough to know how I typically behave. You had made statements over the previous three years that I was a lovable person, that you understood my condition and you never allowed it to have any bearing on how you felt about me. You seemed sympathetic and empathetic to my condition. You even signed some of your emails to me with X’s and O’s at the end. I thought we were pretty good friends despite the fact that we only knew each other through the Internet.
I have PTSD, depression and panic disorder. My condition was partly to blame for my behavior over the weekend in question.
The thing that hurt worst was that whenever I tried to explain what I was going through over that weekend, you would not allow me to, citing that you were very busy. It was as if your entire viewpoint of me had changed. I could not understand how anything I did that weekend was so bad that a five minute explanation was so out of the question for you. Instead, you acted like I was a hunk of dog crap on your shoe that you wanted to be rid of.
If you had allowed me to explain myself, you would have learned that I was grieving that weekend. It was the 25th anniversary of my mom’s death. The first week in October is always rough for me; the fact that 2012 marked 25 years since her death was extremely difficult for me. I don’t expect you to understand the effect the death of a parent has, especially when lost by someone early in their life (I was 24 when my mom died). I hope and pray that your mother has a long life so you don’t experience that kind of pain each and every year over a long period of time.
My mother meant the world to me. She was my first best friend. She comforted me when bullies tormented me. She went nose-to-nose with school officials who had made the bullying worse by dismissing it as a “rite of passage.” She stood by me when I was at my lowest. She hugged me and told me how proud she was when I beat all odds and was named salutatorian of my high school class. I live my life as a tribute to her. I want to continue to make her proud of me. My only regrets are that she didn’t see me graduate with honors from college and that she never got to see me get married. So that is who I was grieving the weekend that you ended our friendship. Mama had her faults, but she always loved me unconditionally. I will take that knowledge to my own grave.
Do you remember the chapter from a book I was writing at that time that I sent for you to read? The working title was “Behind Blue Eyes.” The book has little to do with the song by The Who and everything to do with my mom, who had deep blue eyes. I guess I thought you were pretty special to let you read something like that. Instead, you made the manuscript the centerpiece of your anger against me that Monday. I haven’t touched that manuscript since you ended our friendship – too many memories of what you did. I had intended for the book to be finished and dedicated to her in honor of that anniversary. I guess that was why I rushed you about reading it. I’m still very sorry for that. I know I could have explained it better, especially if my emotions hadn’t been all over the place.
If you had asked a few questions, maybe you would have understood my state of mind, the heartache I was dealing with and then maybe you would’ve felt differently about me. I tried like crazy to apologize for allowing my emotions to get the better of me, but you were so busy that a time to discuss things never came up. I wanted to tell you so badly that I was not coping well in dealing with one of the WORST events of my life had made me act so differently than usual and that I was so sorry that my behavior had hurt you.
I waited all that day to hear something, anything, from you. Monday evening you said you were still busy. I needed help from you to understand where I stood with you. Then, later that Monday night, you bawled me out because it was after 11:00 at night when I emailed you, saying that it was not your “job or responsibility to validate me,” and that I should help myself. I never asked for validation from you. And how could I help myself? I needed answers that only you could give.
In my defense, there’s a two hour time difference between us, so I was awake at 1:00 AM because I was unable to sleep. I was driving myself crazy with worry at every turn that whole day. Yes, I should’ve been more respectful toward you, but my own well-being was at risk as well. It was a vicious cycle.
Even the next day (Tuesday, October 9, 2012), I asked you to allow me to explain and you said not to bother, that all was cool. I thought all was forgiven. I even “blessed” you for being so wonderful. I told you I loved you like a little sister. Then you blocked me from every site we were friends on. That hurt me so much. That was the anniversary of the day that we buried my mom. Just one bad coincidence after another. By this time, I was numb.
I soon learned that my wife sent you an email wanting to know what happened between us. I learned of this the next day (Wednesday). She asked for your help because she was worried I might harm myself (which I never intended). You didn’t respond; instead, you blocked her. When I learned this, it hit me like an ice pick to the heart. At that point I knew that I no longer meant anything to you, if I ever had.
You told me many times that you didn’t want to look like a self-absorbed teenager. Yet those three days sent me into flashbacks where I was dealing again with the mean girls in high school that made my life a living hell. It was awful. All of this and having to deal with real life: working when I could, taking care of our foster kids, and trying to be a good husband, all without turning into a raving lunatic.
I went to my therapist and told her about all that had happened. Instead of the usual treatment plan she used with me, she treated me using grief counseling. Essentially, I needed to cope with losing your friendship much as I dealt with the death of my mom. The similarity was mind-numbing. And the flashbacks? They lasted for quite a while. Eventually I started seeing a psychiatrist who would put me on a cocktail of medications to alleviate my symptoms as much as possible.
Through a lot of hard work and perseverance (and no thanks to you), I am doing much better. But to put things in perspective, prior to our falling out, my therapist listed my condition as being in “partial remission.” Afterward, my inability to cope caused a major setback. I’m not blaming you; I blame myself for failing to utilize the coping mechanisms I had previously learned. I was in a tailspin that started that weekend and I failed to get myself out of it. If it happened today, I believe things would have come out differently. I am a stronger person today than I was two years ago.
I will say that because of this experience, I learned some valuable lessons. I no longer trust easily. I’m more cautious with my feelings. I understand that online acquaintances and close friends are not necessarily the same thing. I believe you only saw me as some Internet guy, someone who lived in a box called a phone or computer that you visited when opportunities presented themselves. You were special to me. I trusted you. I never lied to you. I was loyal to you. And except for the events of that weekend, I treated you with respect. I honestly believe that I placed more significance on our friendship than you did.
I used to think that if things were reversed, I would have forgiven you. Except now I’m not so sure. All I know from you now is hatred. I’m tired of being blamed for bad things that happen to you. And I’m still curious about that bit of lurking you did on my website. Glass houses, dear. Glass houses. (smh)