Two years on: A letter to myself in hospital

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My love,

You have been in that bed for two weeks now. It’s not comfortable by anyone’s standards. The sheets are made of plastic that is easy to wash and feels like tin foil. The pillow feels like a cough drop against your cheek.

When this letter reaches you, your entire life has completely come apart. There is nothing else, except that bed with purple sheets. That and your own heartbeat.

You’re here because you tried to silence your heartbeat. Weeks and weeks of a painstakingly slow and incredibly fast downward spiral, insomnia, panic attacks and pain finally pushed you over the edge.

What’s the point to go on when the pills aren’t working? I haven’t slept more than 90 minutes straight in months. Every minute feels like an hour. I’m so tired that breathing hurts. Everything is so much effort I feel like I’m walking in water. Nobody listens to me. No-one cares. I’m never going to get better, I might as well die.

I’m here to tell you that despite your best effort you’re going to still be alive two years from now.

I know what the most pressing matter is, so I’ll let you from your misery first.

It will take several tryouts but eventually the doctors at the hospital will find a pill to help you sleep. I know every moment feels like forever but soon you will sleep for a whole night straight for the first time in months and when you wake up to the rays of the golden sun, quiet tears of happiness will run down your face.

I’m still on the same medication and sleep well at night. Every night.

The antidepressants you’re on now won’t help. Neither will the next one you’re given after them. The third one will though. It will take weeks and months but eventually, finally,  you’ll be able to get out of bed, go to shops, wash laundry.

You’ll have plenty of lovely things happen to you. You will start a blog and make lots of new friends online. You will tell about your experiences and people will message you telling how much you’ve helped them.

I know it doesn’t feel like being in that bed is helping anyone right now but believe me, being in that hospital bed will be a turning point in your life. You will be dividing your life into two from now on: before and after hospital.

I know being able to sleep doesn’t solve it all. You’re still in pain. You still shake uncontrollably for hours at a time and nobody is able to tell you what’s wrong. If it’s any consolation the shakes will lessen over time and all that’s going to be left is a little tremor in your hands. You’ll be given pills that will take that away completely.

You will be doing so many things that you wouldn’t believe me. Two years on you’ll have new friends who like you and you’ll have a part-time job. You’ll be able to get out of bed in the morning after a well-rested night, tell jokes and feel moments of peace that will grow more and more frequent.

You will meet professionals who will save your life several times long after the nurses are not there to keep you behind three sets of locked doors. You have met a lot of horrible people but you will meet so many lovely, caring people as well. In this hospital and outside it. They will carry the weight of the illness for you when you’re too tired to.

At the moment you’re basically a zombie. Nothing upsets you. Nothing affects you. I won’t lie to you, it will be like this for a long time. Still eventually, long way down the line, you’ll start experiencing hues of emotion. Those moments will be short and so precious that you’ll cry each time because you’re finally able to feel something. I know that nothing else truly tells you that you’re alive.

You are alive.

It’s not going to be easy for you. Far from it. If you were to know what an incredible amount of sorrow and pain will lie ahead of you, you’d put all your creativity into killing yourself immediately despite the ever-watchful eye of suicide watch.

I wouldn’t blame you. When I think about all that’s ahead of you, I feel so sorry.

And I am sorry. I’m so sorry that I let things go into this point. I’m sorry that I didn’t appreciate my health while I still had it. I’m sorry that I was always in too much hurry to listen. I’m sorry that I ignored the emergency signals sent by my body for so long that the only solution that was left was to make an attempt on my life. Our life. I know now that I was ill for years before I found myself underneath purple plastic sheets. I just ignored it because I thought if I only was successful, eventually I’d be happy.

Of course that never happened. And now all that you worked so hard to achieve has crumbled into dust at your fingertips. You were the only second language student to ever have been accepted on your journalism training course. You were one of the very few who were hired to your first job straight from the school. Your childhood dream. Everything you ever wanted.

Now you’ll never be a journalist again.

I won’t tell you of all the pain that’s ahead of you but I will give you examples of it. You will lose so many people you think were your friends. Event though you’ll be better for it, it will break your heart. You will experience physical illness and you’ll gain so much weight from medications that you’ll look like a pregnant woman. You will be constantly sweating, uncomfortable and terribly nauseous.

In September, two months from now, your dog Aliisa will get poorly all of a sudden. Nothing alarming but your parents decide to take her to the vets the next day just to be on the safe side. On the way to the vets dad will ring.

‘We’re not in a hurry anymore.’

It will break your heart that you didn’t get to say goodbye. But the nurses will be so lovely. They will hold you as you cry and one of them looks up a poem about the rainbow bridge for you. Their kindness will bring you to tears even two years on.

You won’t stop crying for three days but it’s also a turning point. Tears are mixed with relief because you are able to mourn for her. A month before you would’ve felt nothing.

That is foreshadowing of what’s going to be ahead of you. Every step forward will be so minimal that it’s not even a proper step, just a nudge or a stumble, bittersweet and achieved through tears.

I won’t lie to you. You will have such a hard time. I’m so sorry that you’ll be going through it all.

But you’ll live.

I know that none of this will bring any comfort to the hell you are fighting inside your head right now.

But I’m here to tell you that even though it feels like it now, it won’t win.

I’m still here and I no longer want to end my life. A few weeks ago I got my first serious suicidal thoughts since hospital but instead of acting on them I called for help.

I don’t blame you for doing what you did but you will realise that you do have other options. There will be medications that work, therapies that will help. You don’t want to stay but you’ll be glad you did. You will scream at the nurses for not letting you out so you can die but you will be so grateful that they didn’t.

In that hospital bed you’re lying in now you will finally realise that your life is worth saving.

My life.

Ours.

6 comments

  1. ***so many hugs***
    You may not see yourself as an icon, or a warrior, or the heroine of her own true story. That’s what I see. So, the next time you talk to the girl in those miserable plastic sheets, let her know she is stronger than that disease.
    ❤ you – you’re amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. But you *are* a journalist, as least as I think one should be, because the best journalists are those who chronicle the lived experiences of humans to try to humanize those experiences for those who don’t understand and to try help others. That it is your own lived experiences you chronicle doesn’t make it lesser. It probably makes it better, because client voice is so sorely needed to change the world. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

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