My darling, I’m not sure how terribly pleased you are to still be here, yet here you are – alive and awake and still existing. In this moment you’re trying to decide which feeling is worst: the plastic tube stuck down your throat loaded with charcoal that keeps prompting you to be violently ill all over yourself, or the prickly feeling of shame burning across your face accompanied by the seemingly endless and completely involuntary stream of tears dripping down your face?
I’m going to tell you something now that no one else has (nor will for a while still) said to you yet:
You are not to blame.
These feelings of despair swirling through your mind, the constant ache settled deep in your bones, the self hate and desire to surrender to your mind and stay hidden away in bed till the end of time – these are not feelings to feel guilty over. You are absolutely not to blame for the inner workings of your mind and please, I beg of you, ignore the shame for there is absolutely NO SHAME in the inability to defeat your inner demons all on your own. In fact, erase that word from your vocabulary right now for otherwise it will be used too often in the coming years.
You’re going to walk out of this hospital feeling heavier than when you came in, the burden of this act weighing heavy on you and my darling, I wish I could tell you that today is rock-bottom but we’ve still got a ways to fall before we reach solid ground. You’re going to drift through space and time for a while, and while you’ll manage to put on a good show for the outside world the tiny universe contained to your mind is going to be chalk-full of chaos and raw energy that will keep you wide awake night after night unless quenched with alcohol or soothed with the sight of your own blood dripping down your battered arm.
When your fall down the rabbit hole comes to an end and your feet finally touch the gloriously solid ground that is rock-bottom you WILL recognize it and understand that the only way out is up and you will fight with your entire being to climb out of that hole. And you will slip and fall and each fall will bring you that tiniest bit closer back to rock bottom but I promise you my darling girl, you will hit rock bottom only that once.
My love, you are going to have to fight hard for your happiness. Help will not always be offered and you will often have to rely on yourself and while that will seem impossible at times, you my dear are strong and you are smart and resourceful and you absolutely can (and will) survive this. Not only will you survive it, but you will come out the other side better for it.
Cope any way you see fit and do as you please with your body but my darling, don’t allow others to disrespect it. You my dear, are meant to be cherished not used and thrown away. Your mental illness may complicate matters some but it absolutely does not strip you of the right to be loved and respected. Do not feel as though you have to say ‘yes’ simply out of fear of saying ‘no’. They are not all ‘him’ and if you say ‘no’ the majority of them will respect your wishes and leave you alone. The memory of his demanding hands on your body and his putrid tongue in your mouth will never fully be forgotten but rest assured darling the memory will fade and in time become a fleeting thought that only rears its head on the very rare occasion.
My darling, right now you feel as though the weight of the world is sitting on your chest but I promise you, Girl Guides Honour, that it absolutely will get better. The weight will lessen and this illness that currently seems impossible to live with WILL become manageable and you will go on to achieve everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Not only that, but you’ll actually end up going on some incredible adventures and meeting incredible people and somehow you’ll find yourself being labelled an ‘inspiration’ and ‘role model’ and you’ll look back on this moment in time and cry, because in this moment you can’t see a future for yourself.
My love, this is me from your future and let me assure you – your future is absolutely worth the wait. You are so loved and valued and important to so many people and you’ve started to accept that. You’ve got people on your side, caring for you and listening to you and pushing you to be the best you possible. So I need you to fight. Fight to stay afloat even when you grow weary and tired as you will time after time. Fight for the treatment you have a right to. Fight to move to a home you feel safe in. Fight to follow your recovery plan and fight for your right to HEAL.
My dear Maysen, you are strong and you are smart and you are brave and the last words you want to hear are the cliched words about to leave my mouth but THIS TOO SHALL PASS (with lots of hard work and dedication from you). So work hard at it because you are absolutely deserving of the happy future that awaits you.
For now – take a deep breath and let the tears roll shamelessly down your cheeks. It’s ok, there’s no shame in it. You will be ok.
I’ll say it again.
You will be ok.
Take a deep breath.
You will be ok.
With all the love in the world,
(Us, travelling the world, 2017)