I’ve had several people now suggest to me that I should write to you. At first, I didn’t want to, actually for a while I couldn’t, mainly because I couldn’t bring myself to face you. I couldn’t bring myself to tell you of all the things that are yet to happen to you, of all the things you will suffer. No one wants to ruin a child’s innocent outlook of life, your innocence is partly what will keep you going, it is part of what will help you survive everything you will have to go through. I know I am just writing to the younger version of myself but it hurts to have to be the one to bring these things up to you. It saddens me that no one else did this for you.
Things have started to change in your life recently and you have had to adjust. I wish I could say to you that this will be the worst of your problems but I can’t. Sadly, things have started to happen to you, and Rebecca I am so sorry but this will go on for a long time and the effects will last well into adulthood. I am 29 now and I am still struggling. I should probably tell you what these things are.
You will start to be afraid of the dark. There will be points when you aren’t so afraid but then the fear will come back. At 29 your fear of the dark is probably the worst it has been in about 20 years. When you are older you will be afraid to travel at night on your own or be home alone. You will be afraid to sleep in your room alone and you won’t be able to sleep without your lamp.
You will suffer from nightmares. The nightmares will get so bad that at the age of 11 you will start to pray obsessively to keep you safe at night. You will pray the same 5 prayers every night, with the same special intentions. Not one part of your prayer ritual will change because you think if you do it wrong the nightmares will start again. If you fall asleep during any part of your prayers or say anything wrong you will start from the very beginning and keep going until you get it right. This will be the beginning of a rough, undiagnosed battle with OCD. You won’t know you have OCD until you are 28 and you will wish someone had noticed it earlier. The obsessive praying doesn’t stop until you start living with Rob. By the way, Rob is your husband when you’re older. He looks after you and keeps you safe. He loves you more than anything.
The OCD will get to the worst it’s ever been when you are 28 years old, at 29 it is still not better. You will obsess over germs, to the point of fungal infections from over washing your hands. You will struggle to sit on public transport, it will be so bad that your body will be so sore from clenching your whole body from the anxiety of catching germs from everyone. You won’t even be able to let people touch the mouse or your computer without taking out your antibacterial wipes. Old people will trigger OCD for you as well and hands, hands will trigger episodes too. You start praying obsessively again and when you feel you or someone has blasphemed you will obsessively beg for forgiveness from God. But this will get better by the time you’re 29. The only problem is that you will distance yourself from God because you fear making your OCD worse.
You will become close to God while growing up but eventually you will feel abandoned. Your distance from God will lead you to find your own inner strength but you will feel like you’ve lost a part of you. You know you are lost without Him, you don’t need Him, not really, but you will miss Him. Without God, there are times you feel you don’t know yourself anymore. You have a complicated relationship with The Almighty but be patient. I still haven’t found Him but I’m hoping I will.
You will start to get anxiety, at such a young age. You will go to hospital a lot for “asthma” when you are younger, but eventually you will realise most of these asthma attacks were anxiety attacks. You will be a very emotional child and a very moody teenager. Nobody will understand you and sadly nobody will try. You will go through periods of depression, such a deep and lonely depression. You will think about killing yourself more times than you can count and you will start to hurt yourself to be able to cope with the pain. Your arms will be covered in scars and eventually you will cover those scars with beautiful tattoos to try and leave that pain behind. In your early 20s the highs you’ve experienced in your teenage years will become dangerous. You will do things you regret, put yourself in danger and let yourself get used. You will hate yourself for a long time. You will have your first experience with psychosis. Eventually this will lead to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
You will have trouble maintaining relationships and will surround yourself with the wrong people. You will have two of the best friends you could ever ask for, one with whom you shared a hat in primary school which will lead to a friendship that has now hit the 18-year mark, and the other person will one day become your cousin law. These two people will fight hard to keep you alive. You will make it hard for them to stay by your side but they don’t ever leave and they don’t ever love you any less. In your mid-20s, you will start at a workplace where you meet some more friends that will also be by your side no matter what. They love you unconditionally and you will love them with all your heart.
In your early-20s, in the height of your first manic episode you will meet The Rob. As cocky and arrogant as he may seem, he will be kind to you and treat you with more respect, even on that first night, than any other guy has ever treated you or will ever treat you. Even then you will know a relationship with him will go the distance but that will terrify you. Your insane mood swings will scare him off as well. Eventually though he becomes your best friend. The person you trust most and the person you can’t live without. You’ve always loved him and you’ve always known that. He will be your husband one day and your biggest fan and supporter. No one will be there for you as much as him so please be patient with him when he is not having coping well. It is hard for him to see you suffer.
You will struggle with anger and the feelings that come from being abandoned by the one person who was meant to care for you the most. At your age, she has already forsaken you and this won’t be the last time. But don’t worry, she was never a good enough mother. If she was, she would have protected you when you needed it and made sure none of this would happen. You are stronger without her, I promise you that. You will spend years being angry and suffering and not understanding why. You will always feel like there’s a piece of the puzzle you’re missing and when you get to my age you will wish you never found out what that missing piece was. Your first 29 years on this world will be extremely difficult. More times than not you will want to quit and end it all but you will push yourself. You will be stronger than you can ever imagine.
You will blame yourself for all that you have had to endure but I need you to know none of it was your fault – ever. You will hate yourself for things that were out of your control but please don’t. You will eventually learn not to blame yourself and allow yourself to grieve for everything you have lost and for everything that was taken from you. You couldn’t have done anything to change the course of what has only started to happen. But you will change the course of your life and you will survive.
I love you little one,