Letters to Myself About Recovery – 5 Years Later

Today I read letters I wrote to myself in hospital.
It was a writing task: “5 years time”.
The first was a letter to myself if nothing had changed.
The second, a letter if I embraced my recovery.

At the time I was totally convinced – 
I’d be stuck in the first letter forever.
The first letter spoke of bleakness,
Never-ending pain and torment.
Emptiness, both physically and emotionally
No hope. No joy. No future.
The contents made me weep,
For that trapped, scared girl
Who couldn’t see a way out of hell,
Convinced I would never leave.

I remember writing the second letter,
Thinking never, never will I reach this place.
(It wasn’t even a ‘unicorn recovery’ letter;
Filled with rainbows, perfection and never feeling sad again,)
It spoke of contentment, freedom, peace,
Yet still addressing struggles, overwhelm and flaws.
But even that felt unattainable.

The first spoke of time slipping by,
That before I realized, five years had passed
And nothing had changed.
The second spoke of courage,
The acceptance of life’s challenges,
The acceptance of myself.

The first letter was right –
Time does fly by
But the second was also true


It is worth fighting on.

Even when the path looks untreadable,
The journey feels impossible
And hopeless inevitable…
Just take that first step.

I’d forgotten I’d written those letters,
That at the time felt so superficial.
I found them 2 years later,
And what shocked me
Was not only the current parallel of my life with the second,
But the fact I’m worlds away from the first.

I spoke of hopelessness
Yet now I’m living my dreams.
I wrote of emptiness,
Yet now my life is full.
I was sure of pain, torment and entrapment 
Yet I am healing, content and free.

And most importantly?
The second spoke of imperfection;
That not everything is good,
Not everything works out,
And there are falls along the way.
And, my god, there have been slip-ups,
And times I’ve cried and cried,
And times I wished I’d given up.
But much more importantly,
I got back up,
I let myself feel everything,
And I carried on.

I never thought I’d get to this place
Of acceptance, contentment and peace.
I was told I’d stay stuck in that first letter forever
But I fought. And fought. And fought.
And now I’m living.

So I will tell you what I told myself
5 years ago,
Despite not believing then:
It’s not too late.
You’re not too broken. 
You’re not a lost cause.
Time slips by, for sure,
But you have the choice to say
No more. 
I deserve more.
I deserve to live.

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