It’s two years exactly since my breakdown. It still sounds over-dramatic using that word but there’s literally no other way of putting what happened that weekend. I am not going to go into what happened here (see my previous posts for that information), instead I want to write a letter to myself in May 2018. The me that was lost, sad and so very scared of what was happening. The me that held on and got me to this current me, sitting in our newly-decorated spare room, having finished a day of college work for my makeup artistry course, full of gratitude and feeling kind of hungry.
Dear Me in May 2018,
Okay, take a deep breath and just try to stay calm enough to read this. I know your concentration is shot at the moment but it’ll be worth it. Also, I should say, nothing I say here will change what’s happening and what will happen, but I just want to give you the hope to hold onto while you go through it. I’ll do it as a list, due to the aforementioned concentration issues.
- Yes, this is a mental breakdown, and it is serious. You already know this but it may take a while for you, and others, to realise just how serious.
- It’s bad and I’m not going to lie to you – it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. But it DOES get better, I promise.
- I know right now you’re certain that the antibiotics (doxycyline) you took for the sinusitis are responsible (and I still believe they were a strong catalyst), but there has been so much else going on. In time you’ll realise how much you’ve taken on, how much you’ve been pushing yourself, and how much you’ve not felt right for a while. THAT friendship really hasn’t helped either lately, has it? Don’t worry, it resolves itself in a way that has needed to happen for a long time.
- You’re about to discover just how far people will go for you. Not just your immediate family (who are going to be as wonderful as ever), but your (still very new) husband, his family, your friends. They won’t give up on you, and they won’t let you give up on yourself. They’re still there, and you’ve been able to repay at least some of what they did to help you.
- You’re going to spend time in hospital. Hmm, should I have told you that? But like I already said, you know this is serious, and I think you probably already know you need some specialist help. But that’s okay because…
- … in hospital you get that help. You get a diagnosis (not going to spoil that surprise right now) which makes sense of so much of what you’ve felt for so much of your life. You’re going to end up with a fantastic team of mental health professionals supporting you. Just wait until you meet Louise, your Care Coordinator, and Stacey, your psychologist. They are going to change your life.
- You’re going to once again love all the things that right now you feel you don’t connect with or deserve. If you can, try and watch that programme, listen to that podcast, go for that run. But don’t worry if you don’t feel like it right now, they’re not going anywhere.
- You’re going to go on some awesome holidays, even while you’re ill, and you’ll cope wonderfully, and even enjoy them.
- You’ll sleep again. I know right now you’re terrified of closing your eyes because your brain won’t be quiet and stop haranguing you, but you’re going to get back to being The Queen of Naps (remember, Iona calls you that) again. In fact, one of my favourite times now is when I’m reading my Kindle in bed with the light off at night, ready to drop asleep any moment and feeling so warm and content.
- This all sucks, but you’re going to gain so much from it. Insight into why you think the way you do, what wasn’t working in your life, and massive appreciation for the smallest things. You’ll look up at a blue sky and smile again, and you’ll float on your back in a swimming pool and the only thing you’ll have on your mind is what you’re having for tea. You’ll love food again too.
- Tom won’t leave you. You won’t leave Tom. If anything, our relationship is now forged in fire. I’m really proud of us.
- Don’t panic, but you’re going to leave your current job. I know, I know, you love it. But you will choose to leave. Not just yet, and you’ll know when it’s the right time. Again, don’t worry, I’ve started doing something that I’m so excited about now, and I feel in control of where I’m going with it. Oh and those friends you made at Oakwood? You haven’t lost them either. As if they would have let that happen.
- You will one day remember fondly the things you hate right now. I know that ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra is constantly on the radio at the moment for you, but I can hear it playing outside now and I’m happily humming along to it.
- You’ll love your home again. Yes, it’s where the breakdown is happening and that’s hard, but it’s also where you’re going to recover.
- Keep reading anything by Matt Haig, he continues to help throughout all of this.
- You’re going to get at least three more tattoos and have your daith pierced. You badass.
- You’re going to develop some coping strategies that are not helpful, and at times you’ll feel
ashamed of and heartbroken by them. That’s okay, all of it. One day the only reminders will be
silvery lines on your skin that you can stroke and feel compassion for.
- You’re going to be okay, just keep going. Even if all that looks like right now is remembering to
breathe, eat and shower.
- I’m so bloody proud of you.