When I was in the hospital I journaled daily. Throughout the day I would write, sometimes ending the day with a few pages and others with close to ten pages. I have found this true of all my other stays inpatient. The time away from the outside world gives me time to think about a lot of things. Although I can be quite an over-thinker and get in my way…I also find that I come to some insights about myself while I have so much quiet reflection time in the hospital.
In a previous post I wrote a letter to myself when I was 17. During my stay inpatient I found myself writing a series of letters to myself. I have found it to be a sense of self compassion and forgiveness towards my younger self. So often, I can find myself looking at the past with extremely critical lenses towards mistakes I have made or things I have lived through. Through these letters I have been able to look back at the person I was and to see that she was doing the best she could, with what she had.
Throughout my stays inpatient, in residential treatment, PHP/IOP and in individual therapy I have often been giving the task of writing a goodbye/breakup letter to my eating disorder. I remember different times and different head-spaces I was in while writing these letters. During one of the letters I wrote that I was unsure of whether I even wanted to say goodbye to my eating disorder. In others, I wrote of my desire to let go and move away from my eating disorder. I have written these letters more times than I can count. However, there is a letter that I had not written until this particular hospital stay, and I have realized that it is the one I have needed to write all along. The letter I needed to write was to the girl who endured (and sometimes still endures) all the pain that the eating disorder and other mental illnesses have created. That girl needed to be told she was loved.
Confession, I considered re-writing the letter because I felt it was not my best writing. However, 1. I was tired from being in the hospital 2. I have always worked to be authentic so here is my original letter, to myself, when I was in my darkest time.
To My Sickest Self,
If I could wrap you in the biggest hug I would. I know how much it hurts and that you want to just disappear. You want to be ghostly and fade away from life. Sometimes you question is life is worth living. I know you spend all night awake, exhausted, but your brain won’t shut off and all you can think about is tomorrow’s food. At first you thought you had control, but you now know that deep down that you feel so out of control. You do things you’re not proud of but it’s your illness taking over, so forgive yourself. Love, you don’t have to give up. You will make it through more days and even years. Hold on. You matter despite what depression and the eating disorder say to you. I promise. You are resilient and continue to fight on and you still have hope deep down in your soul. You are here in 2016 and you have still kept that small hope. I know it hurts so much and I know the pain feels too heavy. You will hold on still. It’s going to be difficult, painful, scary, and sometimes overwhelming to battle the eating disorder. I send you so much love, dear girl.
You are beautiful.
I love you.
Prior to taking a hiatus I was posting on a Mon-Fri schedule. Right now, I am trying to get used to being home and getting my feet back on the ground. The past three or so weeks have been a whirlwind for me, my loved ones and my treatment team. I am not sure what I am going to do about posting regularly right now. My focus is on becoming stable at home.