Dear 17 year old me:
Don’t blame yourself for that night. You couldn’t have known that the people you trusted would take you and break you until you couldn’t feel. Don’t judge yourself for deciding to keep it a secret. Although isolating, find comfort in the fact that even though your family didn’t know, your relationship with them is stronger than you could imagine. Breathe deep and realize you are alive. I know you will turn to drinking many times. Please know that it’ll give you temporary leave of your nightmares, but it’ll also make you feel uncontrollably broken. The sobs into the dark night will hurt. They still do.
Dear 22 year old me:
I’m sorry that your missing friend has been found dead. Grieve for him, but please do not lose yourself in that grief. Stop feeling like a fraud inside just because he wanted to do great things with his life and you are here feeling like you could happily fade from existence. You are worthy of breathing, and you will come to realize this. Please put away the alcohol. Please step away from that blade. The relief you get from it will only be temporary. You’ll see that you hurt only for a moment and then it turns to numbness again. Please realize that you will feel again, and when you do, it’ll be the best feeling imaginable.
Dear 23 year old me:
Stop hurting yourself. I know you look at yourself in the mirror and hate what you see more than you thought could be possible. Take care of yourself because the self-loathing will destroy you. Please stop making yourself sick and avoiding food. That won’t solve your problems. It just makes it all worse. Please talk to someone. Talk to your friends online in another country. You may be scared but they will surprise you by giving you love and support. Look online and see there are many like you. Find support in To Write Love on Her Arms. You will feel that you are worthy of love. I promise you.
Dear 24 year old me:
Keep working at it. You are slowly making progress, and it’s showing. Can’t you feel the happiness start to settle back into your skin? The smile you wear now isn’t always a fake one. Do not fear relapse; you will come to realize that you are actually quite strong. You will relapse. You will cry. You will wish the ground would swallow you up. Just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Be kind to the guy you are dating; he will stick with you through it all, and even though he doesn’t understand, he is patient. You will end up marrying him.
Dear 26 year old me:
Over the last two years, you will have learned that you can be happy again, that you can live rather than just merely exist. You will still struggle and waver, but on the nine-year anniversary of that fateful night, hand on heart, you clearly state that you will not self-harm again. Be proud of yourself.
Dear today me:
So here we are: coming up 13 years from when life took an unexpected turn. Yes, it’s been one heck of a ride. Well done on staying free from self-harm for four years. Despite knowing that you will always potentially feel the urge, you know to breathe deep and that the feeling will pass. You now know that drinking won’t solve life’s problems. You still need to work on your eating habits, although you no longer make yourself sick. You still struggle with sleeping too. Keep working at it; you’ll get there. Understand that you will still have days where the blame and guilt consumes you, and you will feel swallowed up by your emotions. You’ll feel mad that you cannot rationalize it all. You need to learn that not everything has a reason; just ride out the hard times. Be proud of the fact that your heart is bursting with the need to help others. You have done a lot for various charities and people over the last few years. Know that your friends appreciate your unconditional love and support. Look at yourself in the mirror and try to love yourself a little more each day.
To anyone reading:
There is always hope. Be patient with yourself. Learn to love yourself. Know that, despite how alone you feel, there are always people here with outstretched arms and hearts to help you heal.
thank you.. <3
<3 hope today is a good day for you!
It feels like I was just reading about myself. Thank you for this. It made me cry, in a good way. Never stop fighting.
Thank you for your kind words. It’s ironic that in feeling alone in our pain & suffering, we find common ground with so many others. I hope you are having a good day, and you always keep fighting too 🙂
thank you for this. I found comfort in reading the entries past age 24, to see that someone else has kept on and has gotten better, and to know that my life now at age 24 is only the beginning of brighter days.
Brighter days are always there just waiting to be found. Took me a while to realise that, but once you live with that in the back of your mind it helps you get through the tougher times. Keep your head up! 🙂
I wish my 14 year old daughter could believe this. And I hope she sees the day that she can clearly state that she will not self harm.
If you don’t mind emailing us at [email protected], we’d love to send you and your daughter some encouragement.
I wish I could give you words of advice but the TWLOHA team are far better equipped to help you find support. What I will say is this – although at times it may not seem like it – for me, as soon as the secret was shared the pain eased, and it made it easier to find the good in things. I hope with all my might that one day soon your daughter sees that brighter days are ahead. Also, please take care of yourself too – worry and heartache can be exhausting. Love to you both
So thankful for posts like these! 16 years of living in darkness (4 years in recovery) and sometimes it’s hard to remember that it’s not the end when we slip up and fall back to old ways. In that season now. Thank you so much for an encouraging and real post! Much love!
That’s the beauty of life – with each day comes the possibility of making it a good one. Don’t fear the slip ups, accept them for what they are – just little bumps in the road, and hold on to hope. 4years in recovery is a massive thing to be proud of. Keep on fighting through! 🙂 x
Thank you for sharing this. As someone in their early twenties still struggling to feel more than just coasting through life, this particular type of post was hopeful, helpful and inspiring. I hope that one day I can look back and be proud of the strides made.
Thank you for your kind words – you are not alone in feeling that you are just “coasting through life” – every one feels that way. Hold onto the good & hope. The tougher times do pass, keep on going and one day you will be able to look back and see how far you have come. x
Wow. I have felt so broken all weekend because the people I trusted the most have hurt and left me. Being 17 it’s hard to return to school with little to no friends. I’ve been blaming myself all day for the loss of those friends and reading you’re first letter to 17 year old you was so comforting for some reason. Thank you…
I’m glad you found comfort in my letter to my 17 year old self. Although I don’t know your situation, please don’t blame yourself for the loss of friends. You can’t be held accountable for the words/actions of others. I hope that going to school improves and every thing gets better for you. x
Thank you, hope you are having a lovely day 🙂
thank you for sharing his with us. I am inspired by your outlook. It gives me hope.
Thank you for your lovely words. I couldn’t always see it but there is always hope. Sometimes it right there in front of you, sometimes you need to go searching for it. Hope you are having a good day x
Thank you for these beautiful words. i’m six years into my recovery, and these days the good days do outnumber the not-so-good ones by far… but today’s been rough, with reminders of past traumas and the urge to self-medicate with unhealthy means. Your words were a much needed bright spot of encouragement, a reminder that there are still good days ahead. Thank you.
Firstly, well done on 6 years in recovery – that’s amazing! You are right, the good days definitely do outnumber the bad. I completely get what you mean about the rough days (especially ones with reminders of past traumas). The way I try to see it though, is that to have survived the inital traumas in our previous chapters, we must have had a ‘silent strength’ in ourselves – and with each rough day that comes, that strength grows.
Any day in recovery shows that you have the willpower and inate ability to keep on fighting through. You have 6 years of those days to be proud of, and many more to come 🙂 x
I have also been fighting with depression forma 13 years. My bipolar disorder started showing when I was only 12 and for many years I kept my pain un secret, feeling guilty for being like that. Affortunately at 18 a friend helped me to speak up and ask for advice, I was already thinking un ending my life.
Found support un my family and doctors and my life became better.. Not perfect at all but at least I understand myself better now.
Is the first time I write in a blog about this… And Im happy to be able to share it with all of you..who understand the fight.
I hope you understand my english, I Ami from Argentina.
Best wishes to all.. Always keep fighting
It’s always good to open up and talk. I’m glad that you have support to help you. Also, your English is really good. 🙂 always keep fighting
how encouraging. I’m about to graduate high school and go off to college. & though I am no longer the lost and sick girl I was entering high school, I still have times where recovery just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. There are times when looking in the mirror or putting on pants that aren’t size 0 makes me cry. But this.. Knowing that it’s possible to be happy and find love. That is so so encouraging. Thank you.
Recovery is never easy and even when it feels futile, the truth is it is always worth it. Simply because you are worth it. I’m glad to hear that things are improving and I hope that the end or school & start of college are full of good, happy memories for you. 🙂 x
thank you so much, this made me cry but also helped me lift a little of the weight I’ve been carrying around. More than anything, it gives me hope when I’ve been feeling like there is none.
I am so glad a little bit of weight has been lifted and I hope it continues to do so. There is always hope out there, just sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find. Always have hope. x
Beautifully stated! I wish I could get my sister to understand and believe this. She has struggled with self harm and other issues since she was a teenager, and despite the best efforts of those of us that love her dearly, she still can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It kills me to see her hurting like this, and I don’t want to lose her!
Thank you so much for your comment. We’re so sorry to hear that your sister is struggling with self-harm and other issues, but we’re glad that she’s got you to look out for and care for her. We’d love to talk to you more. Would you mind emailing [email protected]? Please let your sister know that we care about her and believe in her story.
I’m sorry to hear about your sister, but I am so glad that she has the support and care from loved ones. Believe me when I say that, having that, makes all the difference in the darkest of times. I hope your sister finds the light and laughter in life soon.
Does your sister read the blogs on the Twloha website? I know when I was struggling – before my recovery and to this day still, I read the blogs and words shared – as they help ease the feeling of no-one understanding and the loneliness but also provide a virtual embrace and inspiration.
I wish there was more I could say or do to help. I really do. Claire and the Twloha team are great for support, helping you in the right direction, or just a friendly face to chat to.
Love and support to you all x
Wow. Such powerful words. It made me cry, and not necessarily in a bad way. Thank you.
Thank you for your lovely words. Hope you are having a good day 🙂 x
Really needed to stumble upon something like this tonight. Thank you.
Thank you for reading. I hope you are okay and that your day is improving 🙂 x
Where are those people? I have trouble finding them…
Personally, over the years I’ve found that the people you can rely on to be there with love and support, tend to be the people who listen and are waiting on the sidelines to help. I hope that you are alright, and have someone to talk to. x
This is beautiful . I love all the articles written on here. simple , honest , heartfelt, and straight to the point
Thanks for your kind words. If it hadn’t been for the previous blogs on this website, the inspiration they give and the openness with honesty that they encourage, I don’t think I would have found the courage to share my story.
Needed something like this today. Thank you.
thank you for reading and I hope that everything is alright with you x
As a 19 year old, It’s nice to read this and see how much it mirrors myself, but that it ends in hope. Nearing that year free of self harm and i’m terrified of relapse, terrified that it’s starting to get a bit harder to ignore the thoughts going on inside my head, but still trying to just continue on. I hope one day I can be as happy as you seem to be, and learn to love myself. Until then, I wish you all of the best and thank you for writing this, as it was a nice beacon in the midst of a dark day. Stay strong <3
A year is a fantastic achievement, well done. Stick with it though, even though it’s tough – it gets does tend to get easier with time. Just take a day at a time. Thank you for your best wishes. I hope you are having a good day and that you too can find the hope and happiness that I have. x
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it is verygood i love it