I wrote this letter to myself in July of 2012
My dearest Simone,
I decided to write you (myself) this letter in case there is ever time (which there very well may be) that you are convinced yet again that suicide is the only reasonable choice.
As I write this, I am so happy to be alive. For the first time ever, I want to be alive. Or at least for the first time since India was a big part of my life. Remember India? Remember how awesome that was? That was all you.
Now you might be thinking, “well that was too long ago, and the world is too impossible to fix.” Those things might be true. However, if that was what you were doing at 16, imagine what you could be doing at 56. You can’t fix the world, but you can help at least one person, or you can make at least one person laugh. Things like that have a domino effect. And so does suicide, but not in a good way. You aren’t done giving the world a little goodness.
If you really need help, and you don’t know whom to call, call 1-800-273-8255. That’s the suicide hotline. There is always a way out of this darkness. You might forget how close you once were to death, Sim. Too close. And you might be thinking that you don’t want to make a big ordeal over the fact that things got bad again. Maybe you’re ashamed, or embarrassed. Maybe you made a big mistake. Maybe you’re too wrapped up in drugs and full of guilt for the endless love and support your family gives you. Maybe you failed a class, or got fired from a job, or forgot to pay your energy bill. Whatever it is, you can handle it.
You were too close to death in 2012, and it’s possible that no one, including yourself, will ever get how serious it was-because you’re still here. That is not an excuse to go through with it. You have nothing to prove.
I believe in you, I believe that you are supposed to be alive. You are not any more important than anyone else on this Earth, but you are not less important either. You deserve to be here.
Sure, in the realm of existence, planet Earth is just a grain of sand. That doesn’t make it all worthless; it takes the pressure off. Sometimes you put a lot of pressure on yourself because you aren’t always who you think you should be. But you’re already exactly who you’re supposed to be. Under all that self-loathing and comparing yourself to others, you have the strength to love yourself, which can be the hardest thing to do.
Remember that you want to see Cole grow up; you want to be an aunt one day. You want to be there for Tia. Don’t make her bury her baby. You have a mom, dad, and step-mom who all love you immensely. Plus you have the best siblings in the world. All the people in your life would rather you be alive and making mistakes, instead of dead over something that could have been solved by calling someone and asking for help.
If there is a man in your life who isn’t treating you the way you deserve, it’s okay to be alone for a while. You deserve open, honest communication. You deserve to laugh. You deserve to feel beautiful, because you are, and you don’t have to starve yourself to achieve it.
In fact, if you’re so upset right now that you can’t eat, go get an angel food cake, or some chicken nuggets with ranch and watch a little “Arrested Development”, or some “SNL: Best Of”s. Call MC, or call Jess, Lorrie, or dad.
Facing the demons that are holding you down by asking for help will begin to ease the fear. You spend a lot of time thinking you’re a waste of time, a waste of love, a waste of money. None of those things are true.
Sometimes you convince yourself of some pretty weird things. Remember when you thought your dad was going to agree with your plan to die? And remember how wrong you were? It would be really annoying for a lot of people if you killed yourself. If you think everyone is going to hate you because of how you feel right now or because you did something shitty stuff to get you where you are right now, I encourage you to take the risk and speak out. Just because people might get mad at you, doesn’t mean you deserve to die.
There will be people along the path that don’t like you, but you are a great person, and there are a lot of people who really love you. You’re pretty lucky, but don’t let that make you feel guilty- you deserve it. You love others; sometimes you don’t love yourself enough.
After 42 days at Menninger, as I write this, I have found that the thing that has freed me the most form the burden of myself has been saying tings outloud to another person. Just put the truth on the table and see what happens- the worst ting that could happen is you would die, which is highly unlikely, and which you probably want anyway.
The Simi that you were on July 11th, 2012, wants the present you to stay alive, to see what else is in store for you in this weird gift that is life. Things aren’t always good, but when they are you fool yourself into thinking you don’t deserve it so when they’re bad you are convince that’s how it’s supposed to be. This thinking keeps you stuck.
Remember what Avani told you about wanting happiness. Drop your ego; drop your demands and desires of the way things must be. Accept what is; accept yourself as you are, even though you can come up with a million reasons why you are unacceptable.
I wish I could save up some of this clarity I feel as I write this so you can have it when you need it most.
You have what you need to overcome your hardships, you just need to remember. You tend to stop listening to that stronger part of you when you get all suicide-y, so I hope this letter can help remind you that if you feel like you’re drowning right now, reach out. It is hard. Today I am remembering how tough and scary it was to feel like you were drowning for two years before it was Menninger or death. You don’t need to wait two years. Please don’t kill yourself before you ask for help.
Go to a meeting! If you’re afraid of seeing someone you know, go to one a little further away, the drive will be nice anyway. If you wrecked your car, that’s okay. Ask for a ride, there’s no shame in going to a meeting. You don’t need to share, or be as deep into drugs as some of the other addicts there. That is a group of people who wont judge you.
You might be feeling stupid because the sorrows you face are not nearly as terrible as the sorrows that a lot of other people face. That doesn’t make you petty, and you are not stupid.
I know you might be “too curious” to find out what death is, to know for yourself. Death is always what happens after life, you aren’t missing some grand opportunity by NOT killing yourself. You’re pretty good at coming up with reasons to kill yourself, but why don’t you try making a pros and cons list of why you shouldn’t kill yourself.
After just six weeks of being clean and mindful at Menninger, I worry for you in that dark place. I don’t want to go back there, but if you find yourself there, that doesn’t mean you can’t do life, or that it’s not worth living. It just means there might be something you need to change.
Assert yourself! I need you to speak change, it is important to be transparent about this stuff. You cannot expect people to read your mind; I need you to explain what you feel to someone. Or maybe you can’t explain how you feel right now, you just want to kill yourself.
I assure you, using drugs is not going to make this go away. If you are currently using drugs, maybe you should consider stopping.
Read these words, take a deep breath before every sentence, and re-read this if you need to. Maybe you could just hand this to someone and tell him or her you need help getting back to yourself.
You trap your mind in such dangerous ways and if that happens again, I still love you. I don’t want you to do this to yourself anymore. I know it’s impossible to just flip a switch and turn on the lights again; action needs to be taken. The best thing I can think of is to reach out. Probably to people who know this about you, like ken or mom.
Maybe you’re thinking, “ I can’t tell them, that’s the whole reason I need to kill myself”. You’re going to have to tell them. If you need support, you could call your therapist, or for starters, you could call the suicide hotline as I mentioned previously.
You might be ashamed, but the more you beat up on yourself for bad behaviors, the worse they’ll get. Maybe you’re pissed because you fell back into the darkness, the fog, again and you think the only way to end this vicious cycle is by ending your life. The thing is, this is a cycle, and if it happens again, my only hope for you is that you will try to make the darkness not last as long by trying some skills you have picked up.
Try breathing, take a shower, clean your room, make an appointment with your therapist. Living with the demon that sometimes takes over is a tough fight, but you can overcome this. Again, and again, and again.
The goal here is not to never feel dark or sad or worthless or hopeless again. The goal is to change your thinking habits, and that is going to take a conscious effort. You might not feel like putting the work in, you aren’t motivated to do it; you want to put it off. Maybe you’re hoping that you’ll feel better tomorrow. Trust me, get your phone, and call anyone. Go on a walk.
Maybe you’re thinking that the happiness and self-compassion you felt at Menninger was just some brainwashed, momentary self-love high and it was all bullshit. Maybe you’re thinking that you were fooling yourself and in actuality you are worthless and not capable. You tend to convince yourself of that sometimes… or a lot of the time. The facts are, you were happy; you are capable of being happy again.
Looking at this objectively, you do have a lot going for you. You are so young. It doesn’t make sense to give up now, and you know that you don’t want to yet. You don’t want to be another statistic of the kids that didn’t make it. I guess it would just be better to be a statistic of the kids that do make it.
You might think your problems are trivial and that you’re pathetic for having them because so much has been handed to you. You might think you don’t have the right to have problems because people with less than you have overcome more obstacles than you have, and the fact that you can’t just lift your head up and do what you need to do makes you feel ashamed. No matter how much you repeat these things, and how deeply you believe them, your problems are still here. And as I said, it’s about how you handle it this time.
I’m really proud of you for staying alive. I know it’s much easier to quit.
If you hate yourself for things you’ve done in the past, I forgive you. You let go of a lot of regret at Menninger, and you began the process of self-forgiveness.
You can undo the process of self-loathing. I give you permission to stop hating yourself for not being as successful as you’d like to be.
Something I learned about you at Menninger is that if there was something you could do besides kill yourself to get out of this existential darkness, you would try it. Good news, there is something you can do.
Allow me to give you some examples of things that you sometimes don’t do that you should do; but the fact that you don’t do them doesn’t mean that you should go kill yourself. You’re still fabulous.
Currently, you have not paid your energy bill that you said you would pay two months ago. You were supposed to send the measurements for your bridesmaids dress 5 days ago. 6 weeks ago, you made it your weekly goal to defer from CU next semester and you still have not done that. This is embarrassing, but you don’t know how to write a check. You haven’t figured out your existence.
These things are things you think you should be able to do with ease by now. Just because you’re going to have to ask for some help with things that people your age may be able to do perfectly well, doesn’t make you hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Ask for help. The more you ask for help the less you’ll need to in the future. At least with simple things.
You don’t need to be convinced of the significance of existence. Just hang out in life a little longer; things wont get better if you kill yourself.
I am not letting you off the hook for you responsibilities. There are things that are expected of you, but it doesn’t need to be as scary as that sometimes feels. Do it at your pace, and as I keep emphasizing, ask for help.
Ask for help to take action, those are two important things I have learned. Your thoughts won’t change if you don’t change your actions.
I have a lot of compassion for you in your dark spots. Your happy times too, but I love you and I want you to find your way out of the darkness.
This letter might sound a little cheesy, but it’s a love letter and all the love letters you’ve ever given or received that meant anything to you sounded a little cheesy. This is all true. No matter how many times you fall into the darkness, there is a way out and it is worth it to keep trying.