Messages for people.
Dear Former Jerk,
To the ex-boyfriend who broke up with me while I was bleeding on the bathroom floor…
I get it. I get it now, I really do.
I was so mad at you for so long. How could you leave me, while I sitting there literally bleeding in front of you? How could you look at the new cuts on my arms and admit defeat? When you cared about me?
My friends called you jerk, douche, and every variation of the word. I let them, joined in with them, told stories about how terrible of a person you were. I’m so sorry, now. I find myself in your position now, trying not to be you and finding myself on the edge of doing just that. I’ve spent months on this precipice, fighting the voice at the back of my mind that alternates between screaming and whispering to run. I started to listen to it, back in the winter, but my own stubborn nature beat me out. I swore I could do this – sit on the figurative bathroom floor for as long as this person needed, and never walk away.
You weren’t being selfish. I get that now, and maybe I’m making that realization as a justification for what I’m about to do.
I am exhausted, just like you were at midnight on that hot summer night. My mind is tired from constantly trying to reassure myself and someone else. I find myself silent, just as you were, as words are failing me. I don’t have the advice or the comfort or the counsel or the patience left in my body, and no matter how hard I pray, it’s not flooding back into me.
You were tired and scared. I am tired and scared.
You walked away, to save yourself. I think I’m about to do the same thing. It could be a terrible mistake. How did you know it wasn’t? Did you, really? Or did you gamble, hoping someone would take your place and do your job better than you could have?
I think it was a risk you had to take. I mean, I’m still alive, so clearly it didn’t end too badly, huh?
I’m about to take a page out of a book I burned years ago, and I’m terrified there will be no going back. Is this who I am? Is this who we all are? I wish I could ask you now.
Hoping you’re well and with all the apologies in the world,
For just a moment, pause and take a deep breath.
I know what’s happening in your head right now. You can call BS on that, but I’m telling you honestly, I get it. It’s like an atom bomb has gone off. There’s been a massive explosion of emotion and it’s devastated all clarity and rationality in its path. You may be still suffering the blast, or sitting in the wake of its destruction. Everything – every thought, every feeling – is spiraling. Your nerves are completely frayed. The only way out that you can see is down.
Look up – I am begging you, look up.
Don’t give into that voice that is telling you that hurting yourself or offing yourself is the only solution. It’s lying – it wants you to hurt and to suffer and to give up.
Maybe you’ve already slipped into that numb stage of acceptance. You might have minimized all remaining emotion, crammed it into a box, and buried the stupid thing. You might already feel at peace with your decision to be through with it all. Just take a moment and listen to your body. It doesn’t want to die or hurt anymore than it has to. There’s a small part of you that is reeling with anxiety over this decision – find it. Hold onto it. Survive tonight because of it.
You might still be in the midst of the explosion. The waves may be slamming into you, over and over again, each worse than the last. Your mind is hardly functioning – it’s crossed the threshold of chaos and gone into oblivion. All you can do is hyperventilate and shake and watch your tears hit the ground. Breathe, darling. It’ll pass. It hurts – holy hell, it hurts – and the panic is all-consuming. You can survive this, though. It will end. Just brace yourself. Weather the storm. You will resurface stronger than ever.
I want you alive – I need you alive. This world needs you. There’s still so much you have yet to experience and oh my love, you deserve so much more than you have now. Please, don’t allow this to crush you before you’ve truly lived.
I have so much faith in you. I do. I wish I could be right there next to you, holding you and crying with you and promising that everything will be okay. But the thing is, I can’t. I’m here and you’re there and that’s what life has dealt us. That does not, however, mean that you are alone. Not in the slightest. In mind and in spirit and in heart, I am with you until the bitter end. I am thinking of you, praying for you, pleading for you.
Just stop. Stop what you’re doing right now and allow yourself to know that I love you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you mean the world to me. Please, don’t go.
Survive tonight – hold onto me and survive one more night. I promise morning will bring something so much better.
All my love,
To a Familiar Stranger
You are a virtual stranger to me, but trust me when I say I know you and understand.
That compulsion to keep hurting yourself? I get it. We could compare scars. That unending self-hatred? I hear it every day in my own mind. That intense fear of being alone? I’ve felt that.
You are not alone, my dear. You never have been and never will be. There are people who know exactly what it is you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to admit your problems, or to confess the darkness in your mind. The world may judge, but your health is far more valuable than anyone else’s opinion.
I want you to surround yourself with people you trust and allow yourself to actually trust them. Reach out when you need help. Don’t fear professional help, either. Try to be brave in the face of all this chaos. You’re going to be okay, I promise.
Find your reason to get better and hold on tight. Don’t forget what you’re fighting for – family, friends, your future…
You’re not dead yet, darling. You still have a whole life to live. So, keep your head above water. Kick until your legs are exhausted and then float to recover and then swim again. You are worth more than the blade you’ve been using to escape.
All my love,
This April will mark six years since we said goodbye.
I have a hard time grasping that, because in my head, we’re still in the backseat of the car on the way to the hospital. You’re crying and I’m singing our lullaby and trying to stop all of the bleeding. You can’t move very much because you’re in so much pain. Dad is still driving as fast as he reasonably can in Sunday traffic, and I think we all know that this is it.
You’re still beautiful, though. Your eyes are that dark green that just kind of stops time if you stare for too long. The little hair you have is soft and that pretty blonde I always envied. I’m learning to look past the blood in this memory. I’m learning how to remember you and not the scary parts.
See, mom, I’ve had a really hard time forgiving myself. I’ve felt like this was all my fault since the day it happened. I was supposed to be right behind you; supposed to catch you..but I wasn’t and I didn’t. I’ve allowed that guilt to consume me and fuel 90% of my choices since that day. I know that’s not what you would want for me, though.
So, I’m making a choice – to stop running, to stop being afraid, to stop doubting. Since I felt your heart stop, I’ve been running. I haven’t stopped. From person to person, home to school, apartment to apartment, and city to city. I haven’t paused for more than a moment because when I do, that’s when I have to start caring again and that’s when the hurt comes back. I’ve been so afraid to get close to anyone, and that’s not your fault, but I need to get out of the back of that car. I need to wash the blood off my hands and move forward. I need to stop doubting everything I’m capable of because the fact that I am alive still seems to be a miracle to me.
I love you, mom. I love you so much, and I miss you every day. I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more.
In my mind now, though, it’s you and me and no one else and nothing else. It’s nine in the morning and we’re laying in your bed holding hands, talking about life, like we always did. You’re not sick and I’m not scared. It’s just us.
I love you, and I hope that wherever you are, you hear that.
I’m writing a letter because I’m not really sure how to communicate these things face to face. I’m not good with confrontation or landslides of emotion or eye contact.
Don’t worry, this is nothing bad.
It’s just personal.
I’m saying thank you.
Thank you for reminding me that all men aren’t rough and insensitive and unkind and critical. Thank you for saying words that made me feel safe and accepted. Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge the validity of each scar without knowing the story behind them.
Thank you for letting me talk when I really had nothing to say. Thank you for holding me through the nightmares and not asking what I’d seen when my eyes finally popped open.
For being gentle, kind, and strong the night I needed to just to be held.
For being funny, confident, and attentive the night I just needed company and the touch of other human being.
I’ve been searching for this goodness for years and though our nights were fleeting, you opened my eyes to a world I’d fought so hard to lock out. Your greatest imperfections are perhaps your greatest blessings, because they’ve given you empathy you may not be conscious of.
And you have no idea what you’ve done for me, and maybe you never will.
That’s okay, though. The universe works in mysterious ways, and maybe this was just the stars’ way of relieving me of that fear and distrust. Maybe those nights, though shallow in nature, were designed to be deeper than we understood at the time.
This is a thanks you may never hear, but I’ll say it again anyway and hope the karmic nature of the universe carries it back to you in nothing but goodness.
You treat me like they did.
Like an object, like a warm body designed only to satisfy your needs.
You don’t see it, but when you’re kissing my neck I am cringing. I am fighting back tears so you don’t know how painful this is for me. I don’t know why I keep letting this happen. I am so outspoken and so fiercely independent in every other aspect of my life, but ever since them, when it comes to men, I have no fight. I am weak and pliable and worthless.
I hate this feeling. I hate feeling so disgusting when I crawl into bed at night. I feel dirty and no shower can erase the sensation of your hands or theirs. It’s like they’ve been engrained into my skin, tattooed forever, stains that everyone can see if they look hard enough. My heart breaks every time you look at me, because it reminds me that I have allowed myself to again become trapped in this situation. I know there is a way out, I can see the door, but I don’t know how to get to it.
I am screaming internally every minute of every day. I just want somebody to know that I am locked in this never ending nightmare. I can’t even escape it in my sleep. My demons follow me from the waking world into my dreams and back again. You and they are everywhere and I can’t seem to hide.
I just want out. I need out. The stress is messing with my mood swings and I can’t seem to stop destroying my arms. How many more scars can you and I leave before I finally give up? Because as much as I try to convince myself and everyone else, I am not indestructible.
I need to keep swimming. I need to keep fighting. I’m just so tired. Head above water, though, right?
To the two men that took what was mine,
I just wanted to say something to you. I haven’t spoken to either of you in over two years now. I don’t have to see your faces or hear your names. I don’t know where you live, who sleeps beside you at night, or where you work. In essence, it’s as if you don’t exist anymore.
But the scars on this body remind me every day that you are real.
N, I have not forgotten the months I spent under your thumb, being manipulated and abused in a way no person ever should be. The humiliation has not faded from the times you made me expose myself to not just you, but to your friends. My body still remembers how it felt to be touched so mockingly. The shame still sits so heavily on my shoulders from not speaking up or seeking help. You did so well at twisting my perception of the entire thing. I’ve been drowning in guilt for years because of everything I never wanted.
A, I hope you’ve figured it out. I hope you’re healthy, because I’m not. I remember with perfect clarity how suddenly it all happened. I can’t forget how strong you were and or what it felt like to be stuck there beneath you. I hate myself for just laying there – I can’t even begin to put in to words how much I hate myself for not fighting back. Do you know what you’ve done? I hope you don’t. If one of us can come out of this happy, I hope it’s you.
I want nothing more than to be in a steady relationship and to one day become a mother, but you may have taken that from me. You see, all my body and my heart know now is that form of abuse. My brain won’t stop telling me that all my body is good for is pleasing a man. I’m weak under pressure now – I feel worthless under the eyes of a man. I allow that abuse.
Are you hearing me? I allow it now.
This body that was designed to love and to carry children has been tainted. It feels damaged and I would be ashamed to give it to any good man. So, ever since you, it has seemed okay to me that it be used for someone else’s wants. Do you have any idea how disgusting that makes me feel? I destroy every good and safe relationship because it just doesn’t feel right that I would allow a decent man to even lay a finger on this ruined body.
You took everything from me.
I want to give you something right now, though. This you don’t have to take. I want to give you my forgiveness.
Both of you made terrible choices and mistakes, but you have the power to do so much better now. You both have incredible lives ahead of you if you can just see what is good and what is wrong. Treat people with respect and love and charity. Find what actually makes you happy rather than just what satisfies you for a few moments.
I want a future stronger and brighter than the past I am leaving behind. I want that for me and I want that for you. The wounds inside all of us deserve the chance to really heal. I don’t know if you think of me, but I often think of you and I want you to know that you are forgiven.
Be stronger than you were.
You know who you are, because you saved my life.
You helped me see the truth of my illness, helped me to accept it, and got me into treatment. You held me while I cried – over and over again you wiped away my tears and promised me that this would pass. You swore I wasn’t crazy, no matter how far off my mind drifted. You walked me through the medications and how to manage them. You wiped the blood off my arm and bandaged it. You saved me.
I can’t thank you enough for every patient hour spent on the bathroom floor, even if your palms were sweating. There are no words for the way you held me up when I had no family to turn to. You were my family when I needed one most. I’ll never forget the nights we laughed and cried and yelled at each other.
We haven’t talked in months. That’s okay. I understand that moving on was best. I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re finding all the happiness you deserve. The last time we saw each other, everything was wrong. I’m not sure if we’ll ever make it right. I just wanted to say thank you, because you deserve more than that. You saved me – and I will never forget that. I promise.
To those I love,
I’m sorry. I hope you know that I’m trying. Sometimes, I’ll fall short, but I promise that there is still some good left in me. This year has been very close to hell for me. I’ve lost a lot – and I think part of that included my mind for some time. I’ve also gained a lot, though, and I don’t want to forget or lose sight of that. One of you always reminds me that there is good left in this world; you always tell me to look beyond this small moment in time and remember the big picture. You’re right, and I’m sorry I struggle to listen sometimes.
To my friends,
Thank you. Thank you for chasing me down the street, for holding me, for standing by me, and for refusing to let me go. I know I pull away a lot – I insist that I can handle everything on my own. You know me, though, and you know that I can’t do this without support – and you give me that support unconditionally. I hardly believe that I deserve that, but I will not take you for granted. God gave me you because He knew I would need you, and I will never be able to express my gratitude enough. You are more than friends to me; you are family.
To my family,
I love you. I know I’ve scared you. There have been times when you’ve thought you might lose me. To be honest, there were times when you could have – but your love is what kept me anchored. It is what pulled me back from those moments of complete despair and gave me a reason to continue. So, thank you. Thank you for fighting for me, even if it required fighting me. I could have never gotten this far without your relentless efforts. I would go to hell and back with you – but I think we may have already.
I hope you know who you are. You are the one who held my hand, who pushed me, who held me, and who fought to keep me with you. You are the one who listened to my secrets and put up with my tears. I want you to know how much I love you, even if we lose patience with one another. Sometimes, we hurt each other. Sometimes, we laugh without a care in the world. No matter which end of the spectrum we’re on, know that I will always be here for you. I’ll write you while you’re gone, and I’ll love you from a distance. Never forget how much you mean to our little family.
You are not broken. I know you feel like you’re falling apart right now. Financially, you are struggling. College is hard. Work is a necessary evil. Good friends are hard to come by. Beauty is a seemingly unachievable standard. Everything, at this moment in time, is crushing you.
But I made a promise to you – a promise that I would never break.
I am here. I am at your side. I will share the burden with you. Your shoulders have to hurt, bearing so much weight. I will take some of that from you; we can walk side by side. We can talk along the way. When it seems too much, we can cry together. When the burden seems light, I will laugh with you.
Until this trial passes, I promise to do all in my power to keep you looking up. The bottom of that hole seems so lonely, I know. It seems like everyone is thinking less of you. Let me tell you, they are not. Humans are fragile. It is easy to wound each of us. There are times in each of our lives that we face seemingly insurmountable challenges. We all end up stumbling blindly through our own darkness. Can you understand, then, that you are not alone? Every person walking past you on the street has empathy to share. We all bleed red, we all cry salt water.
Your mind is hurting. Your heart is broken and you don’t know how much longer you can hold on for. I am here, though. I am right here. You have never been and never will be alone. You can do this. You can keep kicking, swimming, fighting. The waves are high, but you are strong. I am your buoy in this sea; we’ll stay afloat.
I love you.
Head above water. Right now. Hold on.
To a dear friend,
You are sitting at the bottom of a hole right now. You think no one could possibly understand. You think that you are crazy. You are sitting in the same place I was just a month ago – you are inhabiting that same dark place that scares you so much. You’re not comfortable there, but it is what you know.
I want you to look up. Turn your eyes up toward the sunlight and out of the darkness that has consumed your vision. It’s going to be uncomfortable – your eyes need time to adjust – but please don’t shut them again. Blink a couple times, sure, but please don’t look away from the help that is within reach.
Your choices do not define who you are. The chemical imbalance in your brain that is telling you “no” every day is not who you are. This body in which you live is not you at all. Your soul is your identity. The goodness, the love you have for others, is what makes you who you are. I love that soul of yours – I love the brightness it exudes.
I know it’s hard right now. I know you’re scared. This is territory you cannot explore on your own. You want to be independent – you don’t want to ask for help – but you’re at the end of your rope. Your arms hurt from holding on for so long. I know that feeling – that exhaustion of trying to make all the pieces fit together but finding that the edges just don’t line up. So, do me a favor. Let me help you. I will hold you up. I can’t do it all for you, because the only person that can truly save you is yourself, but I can be the support you need. Don’t be ashamed of this – don’t apologize for your tears, because those feelings are very real.
Your feelings are real.
The world would have you believe that this sadness makes you crazy. It will tell you that you are wrong to feel this way. Do you know how stupid that is? You would seek treatment for cancer because it is a physical ailment. Guess what? So is depression. It is the chemicals in your brain.
This illness does not define you or tarnish it in any way. It seems hopeless right now. You feel ugly in a way most people do not understand, but I am telling you that your mind is beautiful. Its strengths and its flaws are what make it that way.
Just look up. I am here waiting with open arms. God is waiting, too. Just take the next step. Just one foot forward and don’t look back. You can do this.
I love you.