A letter to my 21-year-old self
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.
Before the events that occurred when I was in my early twenties, I was on anti-depressants for some time, and I went to counselling for a short period of time. I was reluctant to get professional help at first, and I wish I had been more open to trying therapy or seeing a professional. I think I might have coped better if I sought help sooner. I know some people are reluctant because they feel ashamed or embarrassed, but there is nothing wrong with seeking help. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed, but given the amount of stigma around mental health issues, I didn’t know how to bring up the topic to the people around me, especially my family – who really didn’t believe that mental health issues were real. But today it is possible to get help online, and some workplaces or schools have a program that gives you access to counselling for free. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength. ♥️
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. 💖
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.