Letter to My Twenty Year Old Self

Posting entries of a most personal nature can lead to a bit of enlightenment. It leads you to others who are suffering. Depression can come at any age. Thoughts of suicide often begin to seriously fester in your twenties.

That was me. I was unsuccessful at it. No one would have believed that I was even capable of the thought of ending me at age 20.

I used to try to visualize my funeral; imagining the words exchanged by those who were closest to me. Things like: I don’t understand. She had everything going for her. Why didn’t she tell us? She was the one member of the family that we never worried about.

And that last one was the most telling. With all the craziness that surrounded our family, I was the one they didn’t worry about.

It’s always the quiet ones who surprise us in life. The ones that go about the business of living making the least ripples, causing the least conflict, giving the illusion of control, masking their tumultuous interior; those are the ones we most often lose.

For me, it did indeed seem like the best of times. I was in the final stages of a very successful student teaching practicum, I was about to graduate magna cum laude, I was engaged to marry the man who was my soul mate. It was just months before my 21st birthday, and more than anything, I wanted to die.

I did the research; mostly in the library, where I could go undetected. How many pills would it take and what kind ? What about bleeding out in a warm bath ? Was hanging ever a good choice ? Carbon monoxide poisoning ? Driving into a tree ?

And then there were the most personal decisions. Who would I want to find me ? Would I even try to call 911 ? How would this affect my loved ones ? My parents who had already suffered a lifetime of hurt ? The younger siblings who I’d helped to raise ? The man to whom I’d pledged to share a future ?

Pause. Save Draft. Tears for one who dodged the bullet.

Dear Me at Twenty,

It gets better.

You will hear this from a few relative strangers. There will be a few who you can reach out to. Tell them how low you really are. You will not burden them.

They may not have the answers; but an open dialog can be very helpful.

Go back to that family doctor who gave you the placebo; let him know you are aware, and now would like some real help.

Write it down. All of it. When you commit to the words, you might just see things more clearly. It’s never important that anyone else see your words; just do it for yourself.

Give yourself a break. You came through some pretty rough stuff as a child; and you made it this far. Maybe you are a survivor after all.

Breathe. Everything, even the pain, is temporary.

There really is a purpose for you. Life is never an accident; never arbitrary. You don’t have to believe in God to accept this. You may take a lot of years to discover your truth, but you will.

There is so much yet to come; so much pure joy, so much love, so much hard work that matters, so many people whose life you will touch.

I’ll be waiting for you. We’ll share a beer. We’ll look at our past with real joy and real sorrow. We will have overcome.  We will celebrate. I promise.

Love,

A much older Me

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5 Responses to Letter to My Twenty Year Old Self

  1. Nicely written, how you grew up through the hopes and heartbreaks.

  2. Many thanks, Christine. I wrote this many times over the years; never thought I’d let it go public. Funny how once that door opens,it gets easier to self-reveal. Have been moved by the obvious struggles of some very young bloggers here. Maybe posts like this can be of some help.

    • What I liked most about the “Dear Me at Twenty” was the compassion for the younger you and how you grew up with wisdom to today. You never know what young person will read that and find hope!

  3. ❤ Thank you for expressing such honesty, self-compassion, and self-regard. It is amazing to witness your own tragedies and victories. It does matter. You matter, and so do I. I love how you put it. So yes, thank you for loving yourself and touching our lives.

    • What a wonderful comment. Thank you so much, Izzy. When I started this blog, I was pretty sure I was mostly talking to myself. How nice for it to be noticed and to have others relate. It does matter.

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