A letter from February 15th, 2021

Dear FutureMe,

I've been reading about other people and their experiences with psychosis (which I definitely went through.) These people all say they are feeling the same as me. Some days feel empty, and like nothing will change for the better, and others feel neutral. I think the most important part to remember is that these feelings will change and after some hard work and introspection I'll be able to live a normal life. That's the hardest part right now, not knowing what that normal life will look like.

No amount of wishing will bring back the past life that I was living, or the routines that I built such safety around - but it's also important to remember that safety net wasn't as secure as I believed it to be or these people would have supported me through my hardships instead of completely abandoning me, or making it worse through telling me to just accept that the panic attacks, the high anxiety, the insomnia were 'normal' to life in general. All of these factors are things that led me into believing that I was just not normal, or there was something wrong with me.

There was something wrong with me, and that group that claimed to support me instead insisted that I avoid it like it wasn't something I could change. I know now that the symptoms I was feeling were a combination of my mental illness, the constant reminders that I was always "doing my best" and the avoidant behaviors that eventually led to my entire mental break. I can't say I was bound to fail but instead of looking inward and working on these problems I was seeing as problems due to the long-term decline in my health, I looked of other people or outside stimulation and validation that I was fine despite all the insomnia, or hours of crying, or being unable to get out of bed. I created superficial reasons to take care of myself instead of thinking to myself that I am worth the effort of taking a shower, or fixing up my hair. I used my relationships as reasons to do basic wellness routines.

I hadn't been eating well, in order to match a diet that wasn't suited to me. It encouraged me to starve myself. I stopped sleeping to people please the additional relationships I didn't have time or energy for - these people didn't have my well-being in mind, they had their own selfish needs in mind and used me for my body instead of cherishing my mind or me as a human being.

The damage of these behaviors are done - I lost my mind. I lost my sense of being. I lost what I believed to be a safe and somber life with my family but in the end - in the midst of my survival response - I did not stay. Even in the depths of my mental shut down, living in the moment of pure self preservation, I left the situation because my instinct even knew it wasn't working.

Who knows how many days I went without eating. I remember times where I sacrificed sleep, and hydration, or even using the bathroom to please these people that asked too much of me. In the end they didn't stick with me because they were selfish in their endeavors - in ways I was never selfish.

This is my time to really reflect on myself. When I ask the question, "How do I love myself?" I want to reflect on the love that I wasn't receiving in the relationships I prioritized over my own health. To the detriment of my family, and by family I mean my sons, I chose to self-sacrifice and to self-sabotage. The abuse I endured led me to over extending myself beyond what my body and mind could handle which is what led me to the psychosis. I don't owe anything to these people, I only owe it to myself to see what reasonable expectations of myself are and to take the time that I need to be a healthy version of myself too.

I've learned this starts with the basics. Eat enough, sleep enough, speak kindly to myself. Don't look at the past as some beautiful piece of life that I destroyed frivolously, remember that it was an explosion as a result of not caring for myself in the simple ways that I need to. Showering when I need to, eating with my family, doing my best to laugh and joke and have fun with the people that truly support me. Right now, that is my parents. Instead of feeling so stuck and upset that I'm living with them, I need to practice being grateful that I have people that genuinely want me to be well, and to live a future.

I know that some days are so difficult, they feel empty and they feel difficult, the days feel impossible. Remember that in the scope of things, they are getting better. Slowly but surely, the days are getting better. They aren't all getting better, but if you look back months and not days, they are getting better. Keep doing one thing each day to stick to the path. Don't stress so much over the bits that are out of your control. Focus on taking care of the things you need to for yourself - there isn't a huge pressure to get into work simply because it's what society expects of you - I can take the time that I need to repair what is broken within myself because I have people that are helping me to make sure that I am well before taking that dive into doing what everything else.

Let patience into my life. Let time heal, with the work that I am putting in with the help of my therapist, and remember that there is more to life than the people that lied about being in your corner. I am my own best support, my parents are a close second, and my friends and children are the motivation to continuing my goals.

Love,
Yourself.

Sent 6 days to the future from February 15th, 2021 to February 22nd, 2021