Dear The Early Adult Me...
Please stop destroying yourself. You will see one day, that life has amazing, beautiful things in store for you. I know it doesn't feel like it now. I know that every single day, you feel like life is never going to be any different. I know that every single day, the pain you feel inside for absolutely no reason, consumes you, and takes over your thoughts. I know that, right now, you can not see any possible way out. I know right now, you think your friends, and your family would be better off without you destroying their lives. One day though, you'll realise that you're an amazing friend, and an amazing sister, daughter, aunty, and anyone would be lucky to have you in their lives. One day, YOU will realise that YOU are a worthwhile person.
Every time you pick up a razor to release that pain inside, and distract you from the intensity of those thoughts, I want you to know that one day, your thoughts won't be consumed like they are now. One day, you'll be able to deal with your problems in a way that isn't physical harming to yourself. And each time you punish yourself for cutting, with another cut, I want you to know that in a decade's time, even though you'll still feel a sense of disappointment when you see the hundreds of marks on your body, you'll also feel a sense of pride. Because although your body will be scarred for life, each scar will remind you that despite the hundreds of times you felt no other way to cope, despite the times you didn't care what the outside of your body looked like, because the inside was even uglier, despite your feelings of worthlessness, each scar will remind you that you have overcome things that most people couldn't even begin to understand.
I want to tell you that, although suicide will always be an option, you're stronger than this. And you can, and will beat this. It may not seem like it now, and taking those boxes of pills may seem like a great idea to escape, to ease the burden you are to others, but one day you'll realise that you are a worthwhile person, and people actually feel lucky to have you in their lives. I want you to know that when you wake up in hospital, for the second, and third, and fourth time, and feel that pang of disappointment in yourself, and see the pain in your family's eyes, wishing you'd succeeded so that they wouldn't feel this, every, single, time, one day you'll see that the pain in their eyes was not a pain caused by you being a burden, it was one of not being able to help you. One of not being able to show you just how amazing you are, and how lucky they feel to have you in their lives.
I know the first visit to the psych ward made you feel so stupid. I know the walk up those stairs was one of the biggest steps you had forced yourself to take at that point in your life. I know you wanted to turn around and run. I know you wanted to go and take the pills you'd planned on taking to get you admitted it in the first place. I know you worried about what people would think and the shame this would put on your family. I just want you to know that I am proud of you. I am so proud of you for taking those steps. Without taking those steps, not just that time, but so many times after, that I've lost count, you saved your life, you saved my life. I know many hospital admissions you felt were unnecessary as no one was able to save you, and when you got out, you'd just do something stupid again to escape the pain, but I'm still proud of you for agreeing to go most times, and not fighting it, when you were forced to stay against your will. And whilst your hopelessness at the time, blinded you from asking and accepting the help you needed, hospital was at least a safe place for an interim period. Hospital will keep you safe, until such time as you can keep yourself safe on your own.
I want you to know that the moment you get that glimmer of hope that encourages you to reach out for help, beyond a safety measure, that glimmer of hope that encourages you to try and change your treatment, from the crisis management perspective to assistance with overcoming and dealing with underlying issues, it won't be easy, but it will be worth it. I want you to know that for every two steps forward, there will be another step backwards. I want you to know that as time goes on those two steps forward, will become three and four steps forward, and the one step back will only come occasionally. And whilst it seems incredibly hard to keep the hope alive when you see yourself get so far, and then feel like you go back to where you were, I want you to know that one day you will succeed.
I want you to remember that even as the years pass you by, there will still be moments where you believe you can't cope anymore. There will be moments where you just want to give up. There will be times where you truly believe that things are as bad as they were in the beginning of your journey, where you will feel frustrated and like you're failing again. There will be set backs and quite a lot of them. But as you mature, as you accept the help you're given, you won't be that same scared sixteen year old, you won't be the eighteen year old taking those first steps up the stairs, or waking up in emergency for the very first time. However, all of those things have equipped you to deal with the set backs you feel at this time.
I want you to know that one day, there will come a day when you don't even need to see a psychologist any more. One day, the problem won't be with your difficulty handling your emotion, and you'll be able to cope with any issues in a healthy way. One day, you won't even fit the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder any longer. One day, you'll get that Bipolar diagnosis that you've known existed for years. And you'll realise right then, there is hope. If you can overcome a personality disorder, and change the way your thoughts work after a decade of thinking this way, a simple chemical imbalance is unlikely to beat you. If you can go from thinking of self harm and suicide at least once a day for as long as you can remember, to letting it be a fleeting thought from time to time, with no intention to act on it, correcting that brain chemistry in your head should be an easy task.
Mostly though, I want you to know you are worth it. I want you to know that you're amazing. That you have overcome so much. That you're stronger than you give yourself credit for. That people are lucky to have you as their friend, and as a member of their family. I want you to know that whilst there was a time when I would look at my arms, legs and stomach and hate you for what you did to my body, I forgive you. I realise now that the constant labeling you gave yourself of being weak and pathetic was anything but. I want you to know that I wish I could have shown you how things would be for you today. I wish I could show you how happy you could be, how functional your life could be. I am proud of who you will become, and one day, you will be too, even if it doesn't ever seem like it right now. I want to apologise for all you went through. You didn't deserve it. But I also want to THANK YOU, for if you didn't go through what you went through, if you didn't fight for our life so many times, I wouldn't be the person I am today, or worse still wouldn't exist at all. Thank you for shaping me into the amazing 29 year old I am. Thank you for trying, even though you felt like giving up so much of the time. Thank you for being you, and contributing to making me, me. I love you, and you are a very, very worthwhile person.