It’s starting to become a habit to write an open letter on your birthday. You wrote one last year, but didn’t publish it. You didn’t really know what you were trying to say.
A lot has happened in the past two months. You got really hurt by someone you loved, got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and are preparing to move house. Again.
The title of this post of a bit of a multi-edged sword. You don’t really like blink 182 at all, but it fits.
Your BPD causes you to think nobody likes you. It also causes you to do a lot of stupid, reckless things which hurt you and those around you. This year, you need to learn to accept while that might be the cause, you are the one carrying out those actions and you need to start taking responsibility for what you do.
You’re going into your 23rd year while in therapy. It’s been long overdue and you know that. It’s also not really helping yet, but don’t give up hope. If it doesn’t work for you, something else will. You’re slowly learning how to cope with your own brain and be a better person.
A lot of things led you to where you are today. Perhaps if you hadn’t have got that drunk at that party when you were 16, or didn’t go on that first date with that person who ruined your life, or didn’t push your best friend/favourite person away, things would be different. Perhaps you’d have ended up here anyway. But you can’t change the past. What you can do is try to make amends, apologise with sincerity to the people you hurt and try to move on, with or without them.
One thing you have to remember is you can’t make everything better. You’ll apologise for some things you do and if people don’t accept that, occasionally there’s just nothing you can do about it. It hurts, but you have to accept that sometimes people just don’t want to be in your life. You want their happiness, so let them go. You’ll be ok without them, and they’ll be ok without you.
There are times when you feel hopeless, like you have nothing to offer and the world will be better off without you. More of these thoughts will come in the last couple of months of being 22 than you have ever had before, except that one time. You’ll want to act out and cry for help or attention, but you’ll do it wrong and push people even further away. You’ll act in some terrible ways, but you’re trying to get better and it’s important that you realise that and appreciate yourself for it, even on your darkest days.
You’re facing 23 without knowing what the hell you’re getting yourself into. 22 year-old you had a plan of things you wanted to achieve and who you wanted to become this year. That was stripped away from you. It can’t happen. It hurts to admit, but it can’t. Not in the way you thought, at least. Now you don’t really know what to do. Where you had aims and aspirations, now you have nothing. Time to come up with some new ones, I guess?
Something I need you to promise yourself this year is to stop attaching all your hopes and dreams to one person. I know that’s hard to do, especially because of your disorder, but you need to realise the value of what you bring, your passions and who you are as an individual. A lot of the time it feels like you bring nothing to the world, but you do and you need to work out what it is you want without blindly wanting to do anything you can to make someone you love happy, without stopping to think if it’s what’s best for you. Remember the last time you spent two years on your own? It was good for you. You learnt a lot about yourself and how to be comfortable without depending on someone to make you happy. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again.
Remember all the positives in your life when you’re feeling down. You have the most incredible friendships with some of the most amazing humans. Think of your cats, your family, festival season, good books, music, all the things that make you feel that little bit more normal. Pulling yourself out of an episode isn’t easy, but it helps to think of the people and things you love which are the reasons you’re still here.
Right now, you’e doing really well. Obviously you have down days but your friends are incredible, you’ve been feeling great and you’e doing well on your own. I knew you would, you’re always somehow better on your own. You know what to do to make yourself happy and don’t rely on anyone else for that, and it’s great. For the first time in a while you feel like you’e got this.
I know I say to you in every letter that it’s going to be a difficult year, but that’s because the years keep getting gradually more difficult. I’m sorry about that – you’ve got your own brain to blame, really. Hopefully, now you’re making some positive changes in your life, things might start to get better. I hope they do, you deserve it.
And remember; not everybody likes you when you’re 23, but the people that matter are there for you, and you’re always there for them.
Photo credit: Red Lens Photographic