Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A letter to my 16-year-old self.

Trigger; suicide, depression, sexual harassment, panic attacks, eating disorders

You do go back to school. You spend ten days in Italy doing nothing but reading books and it reminds you why you don't want to stop learning. You decide that school is the best option, for now.

But you leave, again. The frequent absences add up until you've left for (what seems like) good. You spend months at home with your mum caring for you. You are too scared to leave the house. You don't want people to see what you have become. School becomes a distant memory. You come back for a day in May and have a panic attack in a room full of the girls in your year.

You come back for your last year. And you work harder than you've ever worked before to make up for lost time, you do it because the thought of having to spend more than another year in that hell hole is the only thought worse than going back to the black depression. 

You fall in love. You realise you've become one of those people who falls in love after a few weeks. And you don't care.

You don't get into the university you dreamed of. You cry. A lot. You don't really get over it. But you know if you'd ended up there it would be doing the wrong degree, and you probably wouldn't have made it through first year. You'd probably be dead, realistically. You stop caring that people get awkward whenever you talk so openly about your mental health. You didn't care that much to begin with, but you really don't care now. Fuck them.

You give in and go to a private therapist. You won't let your parents make you go for weeks because you don't want to sacrifice the principles your family holds so close to their heart. But you go, because it's a choice between going or dying. And you want to want to do the former.

You break someone's heart. You think that it's the worst thing you can ever feel.

You move out. Away from the eyes of your parents, you stop eating completely. You start your path down the slippery slope you always thought you could avoid.

But then you meet someone. And you tell them you're falling in love with them in a smoking area of a club, and they tell you the same, and things seem like they could be okay for once. You take a chance and book flights. You start to live spontaneously. You think you might be happy, for once.

But things aren't good, and things aren't happy, and you try to kill yourself again, and then you have your heart broken, and you don't think you'll ever recover. 

But you do. 

Sort of. 

Life is liveable. Even though you're on your own.

You realise things about yourself. You grow. You are an adult. You are Queer. You breathe a sigh of relief when you discover that you are not Wrong. You are just different. But you are harassed, you are assaulted, you become used to carrying your keys in your fists when you walk home at night.

But the black doesn't stop because of your new found identities, and the depression doesn't leave just because you think you can live your life alone, and you ink the words of a poem on your arm in an attempt to keep yourself alive, in an attempt to try to make yourself want to stay alive.

And then suddenly you are twenty years old, and sitting in your bedroom alone; and you've had to take a valium to make sure you can sleep because you've spent the day receiving abuse and people telling you to kill yourself on the internet because you spoke on the radio about abortion.

Suddenly your life begins to have some sort of meaning, some meaning bigger than yourself, something concerned with thousands of faceless women who travel to the UK every year to have an abortion, and suddenly you realise that you can't leave, just yet. 

You try to sleep, and hope that tomorrow will be better. You are tired of waiting for tomorrow. But there is nothing else you can do.

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