Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Write a letter to the future (recovered) you.
Dear Older Addy,
I’ve never been very good at writing to you. I can write to you from the past, as you’ll only be too aware from the time bending letters you’ve received throughout your life, but I’ve never been very good at writing to you from the future, mainly because I don’t know who I’ll be writing to. Will I be writing to you who found a beautiful, kinky woman to settle down in a happy, loving relationship with? Or will I be writing to you who was consumed by his mental illnesses and lives in self-imposed hermitage? For the sake of this letter I’ve decided to opt for the former. I’m choosing to believe that you were able to overcome your mental illnesses. I’m choosing to believe that you met a wonderful woman who loves you for you are, kinks and all. I’m choosing to believe that you are the father to Amelia and Alexander, two mischievous children who keep both you and your beautiful wife on your toes. I’m choosing to believe that you are happy. That you succeeded in your recovery and have been self harm free for [insert appropriate number of years here].
The reason I have chosen to believe your future is a happy one is because I need something to cling onto. I need to believe there is hope. As you’ll only be too aware my life has been a calamity of catastrophes from the word go. All the chaos that I’ve had to deal with; bipolar, social anxiety, depressive episodes, suicidal ideation, self harm, have left me devoid of hope. Once upon a time I did believe that things would be better for me. That I wouldn’t be as alone, as isolated, as consumed as I currently am. But that was before the great depression of 2014-2015. That was before the darkness gripped my soul and rendered me unable to glimpse any light that may be out there.
I’m sure you’ll remember the great depression I’m currently locked into. The depression that took control of your mind and forced you to endure the most boring, monotonous daily routine that you’ve ever experienced. Days upon weeks upon months of doing nothing but the same, constantly fighting the urge to self harm by lighting up another cigarette, another cancer stick, that will surely come back to bite you in the future. Does it? No, don’t answer that. I know it will. I’m not an idiot. I know my actions will have some bearing on my future, but if I know, if I’m told what will happen, I will further lose the ability to hold onto hope.
And that’s what I need at the moment. Hope. I’ve written about it lately. How I’ve lost my hope. How I don’t believe there is a better future for me. How everything has become too much that even the victories seem pointless. Eight months of being self harm free and I feel nothing but nonchalant. I don’t see it as a positive. I don’t see it as anything other than an empty gesture. I’m resigned to the fact that at some point in the future I will cave, and I will return to my self-harming ways. That’s what I need from you, my fatherly friend, I need you to tell me how you managed to overcome your demons. How you managed to navigate the great depression and become the happy, fun-loving, recovered human being I’ve chosen to believe you’ve become. I need you to give me hope. I need you to give me strength. Because I’m fast running out of it. With every day that passes I lose a little more of it. With every day that passes I become weaker. More inclined to ‘give up’ and stop fighting what I believe to be inevitable.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m asking too much. Maybe I’m being too demanding. You have kids to look after. A wife to keep happy. A life to live. You don’t have time to help out a hopeless soul who has forsaken the belief his life will ever be better than this. But maybe if I ask kindly enough, if I appeal to your empathetic nature, you will find it within your heart to take pity on me. To gift me with the knowledge that I need to rekindle hope in my soul.
Perhaps you could tell me the story of how you met your wife. I’m sure there will be a story. Knowing you it’s not likely to be a simple ‘we bumped into each other in the supermarket’ tale. I’m sure there will be drama and destiny and odd little moments of cherished beauty. Perhaps you could tell me what it felt like to hold Amelia for the first time. I’m sure that was quite something. Knowing you, as you stared into the beautiful eyes of your first-born daughter, you cried. And happily so. Perhaps you could tell me how you succeeded in overcoming your self harm urges. I’m sure that was a lot of work. Knowing you, it required a great deal of determination, inner strength and help from kind, caring souls. Perhaps you could just regale me with tales of your life; your exploits, experiences and endeavors. What do you do now? Are you an inspirational speaker? An author? A filmmaker? Or are you still disabled, struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck, strengthened only by the love you hold for your gorgeous family?
Just knowing some of these stories, just having something to hold onto, would help my current malaise. It’s not enough to choose to believe you are a husband, a father, a friend. I need to know that you are all of these things. I need to know that my future holds something beyond the dark abyss that you are currently lost to.
So please. If you can. Take a moment to send me a letter. Take a moment to regale me with stories of your life. Take a moment to show a hopeless person that there is hope, that there is something to believe in. You’d be doing yourself a huge favour, trust me.
Thank you for listening to my rambling. I know this is incoherent. I know this isn’t the greatest thing you’ve ever written. But the depression has been all-consuming today. Even summoning the strength to write to you is a victory I should be celebrating. So now this letter is done, go and give your scrumptious wife a surreptitious bum squeeze from an insanely jealous younger you.
I’m glad you’re happy, Addy. At least, I hope you are.
Love n hugs,