Never thought I’d write this one. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’ve hit this insane milestone in something which has genuinely changed my life. Eleven-year-old me was clueless but we’ve come so far, here is a letter to pre-anxious and depressed me.
You are eleven, you’re still a child and your life has been turned upside down. Big adult doctors have just told you that you have anxiety and depression, you’ve barely recovered from your eating disorder and you are struggling to fit in at your new school. You are terrified, and to answer the biggest question you had on your mind, this doesn’t make you a monster. You are still a child.
Things get tougher as the years go on and your depression plummets numerous times and a few times the bad times don’t disappear they just continue and continue till there is nothing keeping you going. You are still a child. You make incredible friends, many of which you won’t remain friends with. You make incredible memories, all of those you’ll struggle to remember.
You’ll act like a right brat and it’ll make sense to you but no one else, you’ll get told you are too difficult to be around and that’ll make you cry. You’ll cry every year on your birthday, that won’t ever change, the trauma is still there. You’ll have some people who stick around though, and you’ll forever be grateful for those. You got very lucky and ended up surrounded by people who deserved better than you. Hold on to them and try to remember the memories as you get older. They are beautiful memories.
You have boyfriends, they give you lifelong commitment problems. It wasn’t worth it. You’ll cry a lot over men, not because of them but more what they say and how they see you and you’ll beg to be different than who you are. When you are younger you change you are for men and then as you get older you do as much as you can to stop getting close to them, you are terrified of commitment. You are terrified of messing things up and people noticing your flaws.
You tell your family, all of them. You break your parents’ heart when you tell them you’ve tried to kill yourself five times. They’ll never understand why you did it, but they’ll love you anyway. Just make sure you tell them it wasn’t their fault; they couldn’t have done anything different to change what happened. You spend more and more time with your family especially once you go to university, you stop making excuses to get out of family days and plan them. That support system keeps you going, it keeps you thriving.
You pass almost all your GCSES and you do TERRIBLE at your A Levels, like horrifically terrible. But you still end up at university and after an interesting and draining three years you come out with a degree and you go and do your masters. You aren’t dumb and you are definitely not clever, but you are passionate. That spark never leaves, you will be great and will do great things. You even want your PhD; I know it drastically changes from wanting to leave education to be the biggest hypocrite out there.
You work and you work, some jobs put you through the ringer and even with being knocked out, punched and spat out you continue to enjoy working. Working two half an hour shifts at sixteen quickly turns to doing six to seven days a week every summer and you feel blessed to have made it this far. You enjoy it though, making money and putting a smile on people’s face. It helps you avoid your depression.
Now the bad things, it gets rough and you lose four friends. You lose a few more in an attack and you lose yourself mourning. You are emotionally and physically beaten down by life, and despite this you keep your head up. You begin to be more open starting first with your friends then with the whole of senior school, not sure how you managed it to be honest. Then you get diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it gets scary and it feels dark for a very long time. You speak again, and again and again.
Then you go to university and every doubt you’ve ever had disappears, you are incredible. You hit rock bottom; you can’t have children. The depression spikes and you barely leave your room. You turned to alcohol, you always said you wouldn’t, but you did and for three years through deaths, heartbreak and loss alcohol got you through. Then a global pandemic hit, and you realised you were misusing drink, you stopped, and you kept off it. The pain got harder, but you dealt with it healthily, it felt like you couldn’t breathe, and you continued anyway.
The pain you felt the 20th of October 2010 is the pain you continue to feel the 20th of October 2020 but it’s different now. You are incredible and you receive messages so often of how you impacted and influenced others. You made a difference and that’s what you promised you’d do when you lived after your last attempt. You began a blog, the same girl who couldn’t get the grips with English Language now writes weekly to a hefty audience, and you continue to shock and learn.
The woman you are at twenty-one is nothing like you could’ve imagined. She’s got horrific traumatic experiences, but they don’t drag her down, she’s got so many mental health problems that it terrifies others. She is ridiculously insecure and yet still rates herself so highly, and she loves life. She loves her friends and her family; she loves living and learning and spending money (yes Cayley I threw that in for you). You would be proud of who you became, you are incredible.
Ten years fighting my brain, I’m grateful for what I’ve learnt. Excited for the next ten years, not sure it could get any worse but I’m sure life will show me otherwise. To those around me, I love you and I’m okay there is really no need to be worried. I love living and I’m praying this continues.
Thank you as always.