A Letter to Myself After My First Dissociative Episode


Dear Charlie,

You sit there in an office. A year and a half later, you find yourself sitting again. Today, you had your first dissociative episode. With this letter, you attempt to find a grasp on reality. It’s so easy to say, “I am alive, yes, here are my knees and elbows.” It’s so easy to have thoughts of suicide too. You’re used to those by now.

Your mania is something you welcome with open arms. You hear voices and can truly identify with Russell Crowe’s performance in “A Beautiful Mind.” Depression is something you sit and revel in. You welcome darkness into your life.

Fighting it is something you gave up on long ago. In doing so, you have creeped into a world where you accept yourself. You find solace in your dark moments.

You sit there in your car, wondering why your lovely therapist and family can’t fix the way you feel. Trust me, you do feel better, but bipolar disorder and life throw you some heartbreaking truths. Adapt.

Evolve into a new person, my dear friend, because you have miles to go. But listen close, you have a fast horse, and many well-lit inns along the way. When you are lost, think of Frost’s words.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep.”

Because the woods will get dark. And as much as you would like to spread your light throughout this world, the whole place can seem bleak. There will be nights that never seem to end.

Sometimes that dark paranoia will creep up to your car and tap its knuckles on the glass. It whispers, I’m here. Sometimes, you see or hear things other people don’t.

Recall how during Inception, Leo spins a top to tell what reality feels like.  Tonight, you drew a tattoo on a piece of paper. The artist traced it and placed it on your body. You went with your sister and her friends. That small sun with seven rays is your spinning top. Press on it to pump sunshine into your blue and black veins.

I don’t know what you’re thinking right now. But please, put the key in the ignition and start driving. You have a hell of a life in front of you. Turn the music loud and roll the windows down. Scream at the top of your lungs. Love hard and fast.

You’re about to fall flat on your face. Get ready for a fight, every day for the rest of your life. It’s going to be one epic, soul-crushing saga, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You do it.

Use your voice as a weapon. It’s strong, but for some reason you kept it quiet for way too long. You are the light in your life. Shine wildly.

You are going to be looking for something in the next few years. It is a place where you can call your own. A home. A place you find peace. The very place you consider a nightmare has the secrets to your dreams. Your brain is a beautiful place.

See the beauty in each moment as they drip down the hourglass. Your life is going to end, but that day is not today or tomorrow or the next day after that.

How you think about love is going to change drastically. Trust, not empathy, is what will help you through it.

Stay alive. Every second is worth it. You will learn how to fly.

And when the day winds down, and you feel tired, the voices might bark loudly. Ease yourself into the sensation of the cool pillow on your cheek. Your head resting, aching for another chance at an incredible day. Morning always comes. Breathe in and out. Feel your heart beat.

Tomorrow is eternal.

With all the love in the world,

Someone who has your back no matter what

Follow this journey on Adventures of a Little Boy.

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