A letter to my 21-year-old self

Empty chairs by an empty desk

When I was 21, 22, somewhere around that age, it was a brutal time for my emotions and my mental health. More recently, I’ve had some depressing episodes, but back then, I put myself in a difficult position. It was a time I… rarely wrote about. Despite me being very personal on my blog sometimes, that time was dark, and I didn’t write any of it on my blog. I filtered out the endless crying and the pain, I filtered out the mistakes I’d made and the things that made me hurt people. I only wrote about the good, happy times. It’s obviously too late to turn back and change things, but I have learned from my mistakes and moved on from the past.

To be honest, thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes sometimes, because I hardly remember the person I was then. It didn’t feel like me. It felt like someone else.

I’ve wanted to write something a little less vague about that dark past, but tearing open old wounds is something I hate doing to myself, even if to get a bit of closure. Even if I do feel closure, I separate myself from the person I was back then and try to think about things like an observer. But I still feel a huge pity, sorrow, and shame for the person I was.

This letter may be a bit of a start of me writing a little more about that time – if I ever choose to continue. You can also read my letter to my 18-year-old self.

I’ve written this post as part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly linkup hosted by myself and Tara. We write about something from our past – anything that evokes a trip down memory lane. This may not be the most positive of posts, but it never had to stick to that. Tara is hosting this month so if you are participating in the linkup, head to her blog.

Thank you in advance for reading about a rather bitter time in my past. 💖


Hey, Georgie.

Now is the time I tell you that things are going to change. You’re probably going to look forward to nothing but a trip to Japan. Japan, the one place you’ve wanted to go ever since the culture captured your heart when you were thirteen. Japan, the place you could live if you ever escaped your family. Japan, the place where you could eat absolutely everything. Except, this year, because reasons, you decided to stop eating red meat and meat from land animals.

You’re going to realise that things in life are getting really boring. I urge you to hold on because it won’t be long until you find what’s right.

Not long ago you wanted to quit your masters degree. Now, just stick it out until the end. It’s going to be tough, because I’ll tell you now, you are going to lose your job. It won’t be your fault, but it’s going to be hard and it’ll hurt. But you’ll have no trouble finding something new. Don’t stress. Your skills got you far and they will get you far again.

This is the sack of bricks, though: You’re going to meet someone who is going to turn you to the dark side in ways you wouldn’t have thought imaginable. As the days go by, the warning lights will flash, and you’re going to ignore them. Argue all you want with me, but believe me – you will ignore them. You’re going to ignore them because you’re going to fall so hard.

I don’t just mean from the perseverance. When I say fall, it’s going to come from somewhere as deep as the heart.

You’re going to come close to hurting yourself, and the emotions you feel will be interpreted wrongly by everyone, but especially yourself. You’ll hurt people without realising and you will hurt people and think it’s OK. You’ll learn one day, but not before you make mistake, after mistake, after mistake.

You’ll be humiliated by people in the form of rumours, and you’ll feel alone. You’ll make choices you think were right, but realise later that you regret it, and try to convince yourself that you don’t. You’ll get stuck, and be stuck with toxic people who you should let go of before they hurt you even more. You’ll achieve so much, and your family will be there the whole time, but only if you let them. Don’t push them away. Your friends will be there. Turn to them. Don’t hide from them because they will be the only people you will have after this.

This, Georgie, is the year you become your own worst nightmare.

As for the someone you’ll meet: your heart will fail you. And your heart will deceive you. This is also the year that you will learn so much and be glad you went through with it… Alright, I’m lying – this ordeal is probably going to last more than twelve months.

If it gets hard, you might think about ending your life. If you do, don’t end it… because I promise you that the best thing is around the corner. And it’s worth it.

Stay strong,

Georgie

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Comments on this post

I can empathize and relate so much. It’s easy to forget that there are people out there who go through much of the same things as you do, and often, especially when I hit a “low point” in my mental health, it’s easy to think you’re alone.
Being someone who has bi-polar disorder and PTSD, I struggle frequently, but never more than in my early 20’s. I never want to relive those feelings and mistakes, BUT they honestly have made me a better person now. Even last year, which was one of the worst in my “adult” life, I am working on making a distant learning experience, because I’ve decided that is NOT who I want to be.

We can’t forget our past transgressions, and we shouldn’t. To forget them means we’re doomed to repeat them. However, you’re incredibly brave to not only face them yourself, but to share a bit with others. It honestly does give a light at the end of the tunnel for those who have been, or currently are in a dark place with no foreseeable way out.

You’re a very strong woman, and I cannot thank you enough for posting something this personal.

Early 20s sounds like a real struggle in life for a lot of people. I think it’s a time when we learn a lot and really have the potential to change. My mistakes have definitely made me a better person, and I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. I’m still trying to be better, nicer to people, and treat people right. It can be hard when you have some negative influences in your life, too, though.

I’ve always looked back on the past a little cautiously, there is a lot I have shared with very close friends. Although I have written about personal things on my blog, it’s another step to write about something upsetting and dark. Getting it out there helps – it’s just a little window of what I experienced, but writing it out helps.

Some might think we are playing it easy by remaining in a difficult situation. But that’s not true. Sadly, we stay in denial until we pull ourselves out of that situation. It might take a while, but once we do it, then we can finally breathe. The strength is there, even if it takes a moment, or two, to show it’s self.
You are still strong, it doesn’t go away. 🙂

Thanks for sharing.

Beautiful letter, Georgie.
You must have gone to hell then but it’s amazing to get out of it and come on the top and look where you are today and I think you are at a pretty awesome position right now.

I have told myself that no matter how bleak things look, always look for the bright side of them not matter how hard it might be so as to not fall prey to depression.

What a lovely idea! I saw that my sister took part in this, I think I will too!!! ♥️

Wow Georgie, I was completely captivated by your writing! It was almost as if I was feeling what you were feeling. Has anyone ever told you that you have amazing writing skills?

I’m actually very surprise to read this because I never thought you to have struggled through dark times during your early 20s. Like you said, you only blogged about all the good and happy times. It’s amazing how you’ve come through and come so far over the years! I hope your future till continue to go up on a high, but no matter what, there’s always light at the end of the journey 😉

Ah, I have been told quite a few times over the years! I used to want to be an author. I was writing a book at some stage before I realised that long-form narrative isn’t really my thing.

A lot of my friends who read my blog back in 2009-2010 know that I wrote openly about my depression; at some point I stopped and things were really on the up, I was happy and I wrote about happy times on my blog, but my relationships started to struggle and I filtered out a lot of negative stuff. It’s something I wanted to open up about again, so I thought writing a post like this would be a window into how difficult my early twenties were.

I’m sorry to read that 21-22 was a real rough time for you back then. I think it’s brave of you to come forward with what you’ve gone through. I think everyone of us has gone through a dark period, so it’s good to see that we’re not alone. These rough patches hit us all. I am glad you were able to pull through and not commit suicide, no matter how bleak things had looked back then. You’ve come so far since then, and it has made you stronger in the end.

I’m glad you powered through those rough times. Look at you now! You’re bossing in life with your job, relationship, and other aspects of life. You have a lot to be proud of 😉.

It’s good that you stuck through the rest of university to earn that master’s degree! It’s hard to tell what’s good or bad for you at the moment but you made the right decision when the right time came along. Sometimes, things happen so we can learn and be a better person at the end.

Ah, I’ve considered writing one of these. Mine would be morbid, though. 😳

“… the year you become your own worst nightmare.”

This sentence resonated with me quite personally.

I also struggle with things like this, because even though there may be closure, it’s hard and an emotional hassle to reflect on the past and write it out—so many tears and emotions come riding up, waiting to attack. It’s easy to feel that again, like it’s happening as you write it.

❤ Thank you for sharing.