Tuesday, 21 June 2016

An open letter to anyone who's struggling

Dear reader,

I'm so sorry you're struggling right now. I know how it feels, I understand. Not fully, because I'm not inside your head, but I do understand to an extent. I understand how it feels when you think no-one cares, and no-one understands. And of course, because of this, you feel incredibly alone. I mean, you could be in a room full of people, and you'd still feel so, so alone. And that's one of the worst things. Because even though people do understand, no-one can fully understand what goes on inside your head, and it makes you feel even worse.

What is your head telling you right now? Is it telling you that you're fat and ugly, and you don't deserve to eat? Is it telling you that no one loves you and no one wants you around? That you're better off hurting yourself and you're better off dead?

Your head is a liar. All the negative things it's telling you are untrue. Your head can be a manipulative, horrible place to be and I promise you, you are so much better than that. It's okay to recognise you aren't doing well, or you're struggling. It's good to recognise your thoughts and feelings, but please don't let them drag you down. It can be so easy to get caught up in the negative thoughts, that they can drag you right back down. And even if it does, you pick yourself right back up and push on. I'm not saying it's easy, because it's not. It's really really hard. It's so hard to carry on living when you're tired of fighting your thoughts constantly. You're tired of eating, drinking, walking, talking, even breathing. Everything just feels very hard. And because it feels so hard, it makes you not want to carry on. You just want to curl up under your duvet and sleep until all this passes. Or even worse, you want to sleep and never wake up.

Then come the self-destructive behaviours. Your head starts to tell you that you deserve to hurt yourself, no-one is ever going to love you anyway, and that you're worthless. And you hate yourself because of it. I have everything. I have a good family, good friends, I'm not poor, I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear. You start to think this over and over again. There are people worse off than me! I'm just being pathetic. The thoughts go round and round in your head until you can't take it anymore, so you turn to self-destructive behaviours. Just this once. But it's never just this once though, is it? You said that years ago.

I promise you this will pass. I know you're probably thinking, everyone says that and it hasn't gotten any better! I'm just another one of those people, right? But I was like you once. I used to get so mad at the people who told me "it'll get better". I hated them and I thought they were lying to me. But they weren't; I just couldn't see it at the time.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm no where near recovered, but slowly but surely, I'm learning to love both myself and life once again. When I get dragged down, I pick myself back up, dust myself off and push through all the negative thoughts. Because now I've realised that I'm so much better than my thoughts will ever be. I'm not saying that they've gone away, they're still there. I've just learnt how to cope with them. It is possible to recover, and I'm living proof of that. Like I said before, I was once like you - I had no hope, and I certainly didn't think I could ever recover. And because I felt so hopeless, I didn't want to live anymore. However, with the help of professionals, my friends and family, I've realised that recovery is really worth it.

Just think about it for a second. Forget about everything, and just think about this:

A life of misery or a life of happiness?

Recovery is definitely a life of happiness. It won't be like this all the time - there'll be times when you want to give up, when you hate the world, and when you want to relapse. But there'll be more good times than bad times. If you decide not to recover, because it's "not for you", then you're going to live a life of misery. You're going to be a slave to your illnesses until you decide that you don't want to be one anymore.

Life can be such a beautiful thing, but you have to experience it first! There are so many life experiences and opportunities out there, and you can do anything you set your mind to. Whether that be travelling the world, swimming with dolphins, volunteering. A n y t h i n g. 

Recovery is waiting for you, waiting for you to take that step between where you are now, and getting better. It's going to be one hell of a journey, an emotional roller coaster even, but if I can promise you one thing, it'll be this: it'll be so worth it. 

You're going to have bad days, you're only human after all. But the day that you tell yourself you want recovery, and that you don't want to be a slave to your illnesses anymore, is the day that your life truly begins.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take. 

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