Day Eighteen – Letters to three different people
So this is an interesting one. A couple of days ago, I spent the evening with my dear friend Kim. We talked, and one of the conclusions we came to was that I should write a letter to my mum. This obviously needs a lot of thought, so my number 1) letter will come in the form of post after I have had a few days to think about what needs to be included within it.
My number 2) letter is to my dear friend, Jen.
It is difficult for me to put into words like this all the things I want to say to you. How grateful I am that we found each other, how grateful that you took the time to get to know me; I am not really a great believer in fate but on this occasion I am willing to go out on a limb and trust it.
When I doubt myself, you re-assure me. When I hang back, afraid, you stand behind me to make sure I keep moving. When I am hurting, you pull a big fat plaster out and cover over the wound like only you know how to.
You cannot see how special, and how beautiful you are, or if you do, you refuse to believe it (Great. Thinking about this makes me cry and I’m now sat here in the office blubbing away!) Perhaps the strength of my feeling towards you can be attributed to my Borderline personality, perhaps it is just ‘me’, but either way, I can never understand how you question the fact I think so much of you. You tell me you can’t understand why I have put you ‘on a pedestal’ when in my eyes there is no place you are better suited to being. You spend your life helping other people, but can’t see how special that makes you.
I want you to know that although we joke about me looking after you when you are old, the feelings behind this are no joke. I may not have known you in your early youth, but I fully intend on being part of your life until you take your very last breath. That moment, of course, will break me, but having your influence over me for so long beforehand will give me the strength to deal with it in an appropriate way, a way which would make you proud of me.
I want to thank you for continually teaching me the correct way to live, how to make good decisions and avoid bad situations. I want to thank you for validating me when I have done right, and not chastising me when I didn’t quite make it work, like others so often have. Your non-judgmental attitude makes me feel loved, and safe.
I seriously think everyone needs a ‘Jen’. Thank you for being there. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being you.
All my love,
My number two letter was a little harder to decide on. I wanted to write to my dear friend Kim, but there are things I wanted to say that involve her own circumstances so I was not willing to post that on a public blog. Instead, I decided to write a letter to my ‘sixteen year old self’.
I am writing this as you, eight years on, after multiple suicide attempts, self harming episodes, bulimic and anorexic episodes and hospitalisations. I tell you this not to scare you, but to warn you of the things to come, should you choose not to listen to my advice.
First and foremost, I want to talk about Mum and Dad. Despite what you might feel, or how it might seem, they do love you, and care you for very much (oh jesus the tears have started again). This much has become obvious to me, although it did take me the good part of eight years of hell to realise it. This realisation will only come to you with time and maturity, but please try to accept what I say. They might not show it in a way that is reasonable and acceptable to you right now, but they really do love you.
Secondly, I know that you have been struggling with difficult emotions for a few years now, and I know you have been self harming to deal with them. I want to explain to you that there is a reason you feel like this and that you are not a bad person, like you so often tell yourself. You have Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a medical condition, and it makes you act the way you do. It is not worth blaming anyone, but now you know what you have, you should waste no time getting the help you need. Kick and scream if you have to, to make someone listen. Ignore those people who accuse you of attention seeking or lying; all attention seeking has a cause and yours is your BPD; you need help and unless you fight for it now, you will end up 8 years later with deep regrets that you didn’t get this sorted sooner.
I know that you won’t listen to this next piece of advice, but please, if there is any chance, try. You must stop harming yourself. I look at my arms now, and all I feel is hate, and regret. I get stared at in the street. Glances from people and their shocked faces. Awkward questions. If I ever get married, my arms will spoil the day. I have constant pains and itching. You don’t have to go down this route. I battle every day to stop myself from cutting again and sometimes it is torture. If you stop now, you can save yourself. Your arms are clean, and so are your legs. You have no idea what I would give to have clean arms again. To be able to wear short sleeves and not worry that people will see my arms and immediately label me, or judge me.
I am not going to go periodically through the next 8 years of your life and tell you what to avoid. Most of the things I regret have had some form of positive outcome (even if I had to spend a while searching for it) and you need to make your own mistakes, and learn your own lessons. Despite this, I have a few thoughts that might just help you on your way;
Be very wary of becoming involved with people who are attached, or people who make you feel bad, or hurt you. Because of your borderline, you are drawn to danger, to excitement; but this always ends in tears. Be true to yourself and stick close to your morals, this will keep you safe.
On this note, you must learn to respect your body, and yourself. If you learn to do this before the next few years pass, you will save yourself a lot of anguish. You may think you are fat now, but you really aren’t. You are healthy, active and fit. You are beautiful, even though you look in the mirror and hate every single thing you see. You are worthy.
Please, please try to find a way to respect yourself, and to stop damaging yourself. You might promise yourself each cut is the last, but I can tell you from experience, it only gets worse. You might promise yourself ‘this is the last time I throw up’ but you know as well as I do it is all lies. These habits are addictive and the strength of the addiction grows as you feed it.
Like I said, I speak to you after 8 years of living a daily hell. I have tried to take my own life on nearly 10 separate occasions. I cannot count the number of scars on my arm ranging from small burn marks to large red welts. I have been hospitalised in both psychiatric units and mainstream hospitals (including a cardiac ward) on more occasions than I care to remember. I have lost far too many teeth for my age due to acid wear from binging and purging. I have been passed from pillar to post, jumped from one medication to the other, slept with more men I care to list (and there are more I can’t even remember!). Is this really the life you want for yourself?
You are a beautiful, sensitive and good person. With this advice in mind, you have a chance to change the path of your life. I just hope you can take my advice, and save yourself before you go the same way I did.
Sixteen and so young…