This is you from 2015, and I just wanted to write to you to tell you a few things.
Firstly, you make it to the end of November 2015 (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this letter). I know right now you probably can’t believe that. I know that you can’t imagine making it to the end of week, sometimes not even until the end of the day, but you do. You make it another year! You are stronger than you think. You really, really are!
Secondly, things do get better! Things won’t always feel as painful as they do right now. I’m not going to pretend that everything is always great, or that you get miraculously cured from the dark depression you are in now, but it gets better. I no longer dread waking up every day. You will start enjoying the time you spend with LO, rather than counting down the minutes until you can give her to her Dad. And she is AMAZING (but you already know that) and despite what you think she loves you and doesn’t want you to stop fighting. She has not replaced you with ex’s new girlfriend. She needs you, her Mum. Please, please try and remember that and don’t let the Black Dog poison your mind with the thoughts that you are the worst mum ever as you are doing the best you can, and things will start to feel easier.
I’m also not going to pretend the next year will be easy. It isn’t! But take it a day at a time and before you know it you’ll have got through a year. Please let people support you. Shutting people out is the worst thing you can do.
The next year will be full of a lot of changes, and you will make some of the toughest decisions of your life. I’m not going to tell you about them as I know you will worry, but let me reassure you that the most important change will be that you will start to get some of the support you need for your mental health. The thing that will change your life most is the peer support from the people you meet at the local mental health charity. They are amazing! You will feel less alone, you will feel understood, you will feel finally feel like you have met ‘your people’. They will help get you through the tough times. I really can’t wait for you to meet them!
I want to tell you not to think some of the things you are thinking, not to do some of the things that you are doing, but in the end I guess those things end up being what makes me the person I am now. And I’m here!
Today, I am still living with depression and anxiety, but I also feel like I have a future. I don’t know what that future will hold, but just feeling that way is progress, it’s a step forward. So hang on in there, as I’m proof that it won’t always be as black as it feels now.
Please try and take care of yourself,
Love Cath xxx