Long post warning.
TRIGGER WARNING: self harm, alcohol, mental illness, eating disorder, medication, voices, assault, hospitalised, sectioned, diagnosis, blood, injections, blood transfusions, voices, delusions, alone, anxiety, deaths, funerals, cancer.
I’ve decided to write a letter to myself when I was younger. I think it is important to look back on that past and see what I would have changed and what I would have said if I was able to talk to my younger self. This is important as I can learn from what has happened, and it is helpful because I know things now, which I wouldn’t have known when I was younger.
Dear younger self,
You will be okay, you will go through some really difficult things and may want to not live, but you will pull through. In the future you will struggle and get scared, and these feelings are valid.
I need you to remember this, don’t ever get a blade and drag in across your skin, your body isn’t here to be cut, and destroyed. You will regret it. There are other ways to cope with feelings. Imagine your body is covered in scars especially your arms, and you can’t even wear a short sleeve top in front of your own family. Or go to work with a short sleeve top on, how that will impact how you feel and what you can wear. Don’t ever self harm, you will put your life in danger and you don’t want that. If you start to harm, you will end up having blood transfusion after blood transfusion, hospital visits, getting sectioned, and your body not being able to repair itself quick enough and you being on even more medication. It’s not worth it. You will self harm in many different ways and they are all as dangerous as each other, there is no safe self harm. If you start self hamming you will find it so difficult to stop and it will be come a way you use to cope but there are much better ways to deal with what is going on in your life.
Don’t worry about eating in front of people, don’t worry about having a treat, don’t worry about your weight. You may loose and gain weight but it is not the end of the world. That’s life. You should eat healthily and drink water, your body is for life so treat it with respect. Don’t put weight loss goals on your body with time limits, it’s a life long project and there is no rush. Just try to be as healthy as you can. Learn to look after yourself and love yourself.
You will experiment with alcohol, but trust me it is not worth it. It will impair your thinking, and change your behaviour. It is easy for me to say don’t use it to cope with life problems, and self medicate but in reality you will need to learn from your mistakes. Alcohol isn’t healthy, and will make you feel rubbish, be so dizzy you can’t see your hands, be sick everywhere, and make you put on loads of weight. I know I said not to worry about your weight but if you drink too much and put a lot of weight on it will impact your health and make you feel bad. If I told you that you will drink alcohol as soon as you get up just to cope with things in your life, and it may make you do things you wouldn’t normally do, and things you will regret for life. Make your choice now before you get blinded by the effects of alcohol.
Life will be really difficult and you will have to take medication for illnesses and problems you will go through. This is not a sign of weakness, actually the thought that you are willing to take medication to help you, that’s brave and very sensible. Don’t use and abuse medication, take it how you are supposed to and don’t forget to take it. You may be on medication for the rest of your life to help deal with the voices and problems you have when you don’t take medication. You can do it, you are brave. People take medication for so many different reasons, it doesn’t matter why you will take medication, just know that the doctors know what they are doing and giving you. You may begin to question why you are taking medication and think it will harm or poison you, but doctors would loose their job if they were doing that. I know you may not always think rationally but that is why I am writing this. Don’t overdose on medication, it is not good for you, you will be very ill and could die. I know you may feel like you want to die at times but try to challenge this thought and do your best to think about a good future.
I know you may be scared but you will end up in hospital many times, in a mental hospital and a medical hospital. Don’t be afraid, it is probably the best thing while you don’t feel well and you will be safe. You will be sectioned and you will choose to go in voluntarily. You will feel very lonely and scared, but you will pull through. You will have an operation and you will be very scared, and your blood hemaglobin will go down to 4.4 and you will be very ill, you will be sectioned and then made to have a blood transfusion. This will be the first of many and it wont get easier. You will be scared of the thought that someone else’s blood is going in to your body and you will believe you don’t deserve it, but you do. Without it you would die, and although it was through your own actions as to why your blood level got so low this doesn’t meant that you don’t deserve the transfusions. You will also have many iron infusions and be on a lot of medication. You will also be injected with anti psychotic medication and threatened with ECT because you will refuse to eat and drink for days, but you need to try and focus on the positives and the thought that you will live to see age 24.
There will be many arguments in your life, but they are not the end of the world, you need to try and not let them get to you. It’s important that you are able to learn from them and not let it get you down. I would like you not to take it to heart. It’s normal for sisters to argue, and you need to remember they are learning as they grow up too.They may make mistakes just like you. It’s okay to make mistakes, but just remember, you need to learn from them and make changes in life.
I know you have probably heard some voices already and I know you must be scared and I wish I could say it will get better but it won’t. The voices will control your thoughts and how you feel. You will be put on medication to try and help with them, it might help a bit but you need to find other ways to cope and deal with them. They will tell you to harm yourself and carry out tasks, and i know you will believe you have to do them. That is okay but you need to try and challenge them. You cannot let them control things you do, for example, they will tell you to harm, but you will need to do the best thing and not to do what they say. You have your own mind and I’m telling you it is okay to think for yourself. I know what it is like and I know it is hard, but you need to believe in yourself and have faith that you can do things right. The voices may scare you and be horrible to you, don’t let that hold you back. It will be difficult when they are telling you to do things, mainly harming, especially when they tell you bad things will happen if you don’t do what they are saying, but try and remember that they can’t do anything, you’re in control, they are in your head, they have no powers. I know this will be really hard and it will be difficult to think like this when they are strong. God will talk to you, but it’s a really positive voice. He will help you and giude you through some tough times. Best thing is don’t be afraid. Try not to let the voices wind you up, they will get too much and stop you from sleeping some times. They will also pick on you when you are feeling most vulnerable. Don’t be ashamed about your voices. It doesn’t make you a weak person, actually you are really strong to deal with this and carry on living. You will talk to them out loud and this may scare the people around you and you will learn to talk to them in your head, but this isn’t as effective. Also don’t get angry at them and swear at them this makes them worse and they know how to get on your neves if you do this, try not to show them how they make you feel.
This is a really difficult thing to talk about, as I know whatever I am writing and telling you right now will be reallly hard to remember or even think about when you are thinking of delusions. You will believe things that other people will say aren’t true. This will be really difficult as you trust the people that are telling you the things you believe aren’t true but you believe it really strongly with all your heart. People will try and prove to you that the thoughts you are having are delusions and it’s part of your illness. You will believe that people are spying on you, and that your care team are trying to get your DNA. You will also believe that your mum is trying to poison you but these beliefs will be challenged. I know this will be confusing and I will tell you a little secret, I’m finding it really difficult to talk to you about it now even though I have lived with these feelings for a long time, and I still find it really tough to talk about. I still find it difficult to tell what is real and not, especially when you trust the people that are telling you it’s true and equally trust the people telling you it’s not true. I try to think about it but it’s so difficult. Try not to get hung up about what you believe. It will take over your life and you will be afraid to leave your home alone, you will be extremely anxious and not trust people but you need to try to not let your anxiety take control.
You will have some bad experiences in your life, but right now I want to give you some tips which will mean you will be more in control. Don’t let alcohol change your judgement, don’t think the best in everyone, people may have other ideas and may take advantage. Don’t let him in, don’t get involved with him, he is a horrible man, who will hurt you, which will stay with you for life and change how you feel about people. It will mean you have nightmares, flashbacks, and feel physically sick, You will feel hurt and scared. I would like to say things will get better but at the moment I haven’t seen any evidence of that. I hate him so much, but I also hate myself because I let him in and I wasn’t strong enough to take him to court, if he hurts anyone else, I will never forgive myself. Ishould have been stronger. The main bit of advice I want to give you right now is don’t trust him or let him in.
Family is important to you although you don’t think that they love you or care about you. You try your best not to tell them how you are and about your life. There may be many arguments and things you get left out of, but you need to try and keep your prospective on them and your life. They will be there when you need them to be and they do love you. They just find it difficult to show love in the way you want them to and how you expect them too. There will be times where they leave you out and there will also be times when they show you so much love that you aren’t sure how to deal with it. You will take many overdoses and this will be hard for you but even harder for your family. When they find you unconscious in your own sick, and you have seizures in front of one of your younger sister, imagine how your sister and parents will feel. It will traumatise them for life. You love them and I need you to think about how your actions may effect others.
You don’t really have many friends but that isn’t important to you. You have a few special ones and they mean the world to you. Don’t take them for graunted they wont always be there, but you need to be there for them. They will go through difficult times and be ther for you and you have to do the same for them.
Don’t get hung up about diagnosis you will be given. They are not important. They don’t mean you’re a bad person, it is just an illness, you can learnt to cope with it and take medication which will help. Don’t get the idea that the diagnosis will change your life, it’s just a label and labels aren’t meant for people they are meant for food and clothes.
You will need to change your expectations about your life and family. You will grow up thinking about having children young in life and you will be the first of you sisters to be married and have children but that is not the case. You need to think about this as you should be happy for your sisters and not focus on your own life. Don’t get so drunk at your sisters wedding that your sister who has got married has to catch you from falling down the stairs, and you won’t remember a thing. It isn’t fair to do that to her. I know you will be upset and emotional as you may feel like you are losing your sister but in reality she is growing up and you will become a lot closer. Your sister will also be pregnant before you, and you will remember the day she told you. You were so upset and you believed your life was over, but it is the beginning of a new story. You will be able to love and support your whole family, you will all grow closer than you have ever been before and it will be such and important thing for you and them.
There will be many traumatic events in your life, you sister will have cancer at only 2 years old, she will fight it and will win. Your brother will also die and you don’t go to his funeral as your still young yourself but you will regret this for life. I know it might be scary but you will regret not going more than going. You will go to your nan’s funeral and you will be terrified as it is your first but you will be okay and nan will be there looking over you and after you. Nan loves you, all your family tell you that a lot, and you will have some really special memeroies with her, and you get to say good bye at her hospital bed just before she dies, she knows you love and care for her.
At age 23 you will go through 20 sessions of therapy with the NHS and you will learn a lot about yourself and your family. You wont always look forward to going but you will get so much out of the sessions. You will also start private therapy when you are 24 and so far you’ve only had a few sessions but they are helping already. Things will be better if you talk about things your going through and your past. You will have some not good experiences with your mental health care team and your GP but as of today things are going well you have a really good community psychiatric nurse, support worker, psychiatrist and a brilliant GP. They all support you so well and although you will sometimes push them away, it is important to try and remember that they want what is best for you and are there for you when you need help and support.
You have always been an anxious person and your anxiety with grow with your age. A lot of your family and friends know you are anxious and can see it. You will be put on medication to help with your anxiety and you may find at times there are moments of relief. You will decide to stop taking it many times but in the back of your head you know you need it. You try to stop it and replace it by other ways of coping. You are so anxious that you are unable to leave your home alone and that you aren’t able to go in to shops on your own. But you will keep working on this, you will get there.
Don’t be afraid you will get through this. Stay strong.
You are strong and will have to deal with so much but you will pull through.
Love yourself. XxX