“You’ll never change what’s been and gone” – Noel Gallagher.
I have tried to explain my depression to thousands of people over the last 13 months and still the only person who gets it and understands it is ME. It is frustrating but good that I know who I am and I won’t change for anyone. I am pure and honest to the core, always have been, always will be. I made mistakes. I admitted them. I apologised in public and in private. I told the world on live radio about my depression, when on International Radio Poznan earlier in 2017. As for my mistakes. I won’t make them again. That’s done.
“Leave the past for another day. Please no more talk today.” – Dubstar.
I sincerely hope and pray this is the last time I ever have to write this. It won’t change my daily suicide thoughts though. I know that now. I want to die everyday because of this one event on my travels. In the last 13 months all I have needed to escape this daily depression is for the culprit to come forward with their reasons and admit their guilt. But now, I am resigned to the fact that for whatever reason, they currently don’t have the guts or willpower to apologise to me or to admit their mistakes.
“You’ll never know how much you hurt me” – Mick Hucknall.
I have read a lot recently about compulsive lying, lying to friends and I have realised it is also a mental disorder just like my mental pain daily. We both have issues and hence why i have forgiven this person despite the fact they never apologised. There is still no response from them and I assume the culprit is still alive and hopefully healthy. If you read this then please finally understand how and why lying to friends is morally wrong. It causes mental problems which will never go away. I am just honest. It’s a long story but I have to tell it true without mentioning names and places. I wanted to mention names and places as I am honest and pure and hate hiding things but I got slated before for naming and shaming so this time my story with the anonymous person. Gutted. But this is the story.
I met this person travelling. We were good friends, I thought. We met up in three countries, we ate, we drank, we talked travel together. It was fun for me! I assumed (obviously wrongly despite my wisdom) that it was also fun for the other person. Now I guess it wasn’t fun for them but I wasn’t to know that as their actions and words spoke otherwise. They faked this friendship, again for what motive (personal gain, free travel tips, free postcards?) I will never know.
I first met this person in an unnamed country in 2014. We gelled on our love for travel and adventure, and there was another meeting in late 2014 and again we kept touch and met up during 2015. During the first 18 months of being “friends”, I had always invited that person to visit Northern Ireland one day and I meant it. I tell it to all my close friends from my journey. That person in turn had also invited me to their town and country. So of course me being the perpetual tourist at the time, it was obvious that sooner or later I would visit their town to meet for drinks and food tour the sights and write about it.
I was as excited about that person’s town as I was about all my other travel friends towns. In fact at the time I was comparing our friendship to these other travel friends from my journey. This time I’ve named them. If they want their names removed, I will do it for them.
My Colombian mate who worked with me years ago (2004 – 2005). I kept my promise and visited his town. He had time to meet me. He showed me sights. We ate and drank together. I wrote about it. He didn’t lie to me. I class him as a friend. Here are my stories from Julio’s remote towns in rural Colombia:
My English friend who now lives in Sweden where he is married and a father. I kept my promise and visited his new town in Sweden. He had time to meet me. He showed me sights. We ate and drank together. I wrote about it. We even toured a Wacaday Republic together – Ladonia! He didn’t lie to me. I class him as a friend. Here are my stories from my reunions with Daniel:
I kept my promise and visited Haya’s town in Israel. She had time to meet me. She showed me sights and even though she was busy organising a wedding, she gave me travel tips. We ate and drank together. I wrote about it. She didn’t lie to me. I class her as a friend. Here are some of my stories from my time with Haya:
I kept my promise and visited my German friend Rene in 2007. He had time to meet me. He showed me sights. We ate and drank together and in the end also visited 4 countries together. I wrote about it. Here are some of my stories from my reunions with Rene:
These are just four examples of real travel friends who were honest and didn’t lie to me. In the instances when I visited my travel friend’s towns and they were not around (which happened with Lief when I backpacked Norway in 2015), they usually sent me travel tips or even sent a friend to show me the sights. This happened countless time son my journey. It’s what I did for years. I made friends with over 2,000 people. I made a point of visiting their remote towns and villages to meet them and write about them. I buzzed off the crazy places! Another example from Israel was Alex and Natali who took me to the Druze Village of Isfiya in 2013!
So in 2016, I was a fool to think that another travel friend (who I classed wrongly in the same breath as Daniel, Haya, Rene etc.) would do the same. I wanted to visit their remote town, meet up for coffee, tour the sights and write about it. If that person wasn’t there, I was sure they would give me travel tips for my blog. If they couldn’t do that, I was sure they could maybe send me details of a friend they had in that town who would be able to meet or in the worst instance give me travel tips. I was so wrong, and the cruel lies that followed from this false friend started 13 months (and counting) of daily suicidal thoughts and depression.
What followed ahead of my visit to their town astounded me. Instead of being excited about my visit and ready to show me the sights etc. that person chose a nasty alternative – lying. They lied. They pretended not to be in their town during my visit. They promised travel tips which never came. They went from being a false friend to completely blanking and ignoring my messages, and even worse pretending not to know I was in their town. The problem was I now had proof of the lies and couldn’t believe it. This was just the tip of the iceberg. I wasn’t even given tips on a hotel I could stay in, the bus routes, anything. As a foreign tourist in their town, it felt like they didn’t care and wanted me to die. Remember, travelling can be daunting and dangerous and though I haven’t mentioned the person, the town/village/city, the country or even the exact month, they should have at least told me the dangers, some useful tips. If they were a real friend, they would do that right? All my other friends did – on a 14 year journey outside Northern Ireland. None of my other friends gave me nasty lies. I couldn’t believe it and broke down one night. And incidentally the photos on this post will not give away the location either so don’t look for clues. I have now had to hide the person’s name and their country/city.
I broke down and was suicidal every night from the day the lies started. Why was I being lied to while at the same time, this person was claiming to be good friends. And having already visited their city, I was STILL awaiting their travel tips for my blog. I actually blogged about their town anyway despite not having the tips. It was really sad. Then, two weeks after my visit to there town, a message from that (now clearly fake) friend said “Hey Jonny. How was your trip to my town? We are still friends. If you need any tips let me know”. It was all a lie. They hadn’t cared about my trip, they felt guilty about their lies and for whatever reason they were now digging deeper lies. Many more lies followed before and after and I won’t go into all of them – some were pure nasty. On receipt of that message I cut my wrists I shaved my body hair off and fasted for a day. I was doomed. I was humiliated. I was embarrassed. It was a huge insult to my blogging, my sightseeing, my touring, my writing, our friendship. It was all a lie. If they cared about my trip, why didn’t they meet me? If they really couldn’t meet me (it happens) then why couldn’t they have sent a sibling or a friend to meet me instead? If they couldn’t even do that why couldn’t they give me some travel tips. They knew I was covering that city for my blog, and I later wrote about it for other websites and apps. I now realised I couldn’t trust my friends ever again. I didn’t want to travel ever again, I hated myself for trusting people. Why was I the victim? Why couldn’t the person have just given me the travel tips or met me? Why did Haya and Rene meet me and this person didn’t? I was so confused.
My real friends suffered. I missed Daniel’s wedding. I missed Jody’s wedding. Those were two main events in my 2016 life and I missed them. I missed every Northern Ireland match and for the first time in 5 years, I didn’t attend even one AFC Bournemouth or Glentoran home match. My life turned on its head. I lay on the tram tracks in Gdansk in Poland not long after I finally made it there in July 2016. I went missing in September 2016 and was reported to the Polish police. I was in the news, news I realised later had been all over Northern Ireland and Poland. Even my best Polish friend Rafal saw me in the national newspaper. This time for really sad reasons instead of being a travel writer. I was a goner. I wanted to die.
13 months on, those lies are still the sole reason for my depression. (Yes, later another false friend also lied to me, but I coped better as it was my second experience of it now. And even later, an outsider to the story and wannabe “GuruGod” intervened into the story knowing nothing about my friendship to the people involved, or even Haya, Daniel and my travel style of writing. Nothing good was coming out of this. Not even suicide awareness. I lost weight, I cried my eyes out nightly. I went back to my flat in Brzezno in Gdansk in October 2016 and cut myself off from the world. As I write this 13 months on, nothing has changed. I still pray that the person involved is alive, healthy and happy but also that they understand what they did wrong. You don’t pretend to be friends with someone (especially not a travel writer going to write about their towns!) and humiliate them. The friendship was a huge lie for 3 years. I won’t trust anyone ever again after this. I guess I grew up in an honest family who admits our wrongs. I am truly sad every day now, and life goes slowly on.
“Suicide is painless” – Johnny Mandel.