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To My Little Sister, Who Witnesses the Effects of My Mental Illness

I know you were only 6 when I had my first episode and I know how confused you were. I know no one explained it to you.

I couldn’t — I was still figuring it out myself.

I know throughout the years you’ve had to step up and be the older sister even when you weren’t supposed to be. I know the look on your face when you’ve seen me after self-harming, or locking myself away behind a closed door. I know the look of worry in your eyes when you see me still in bed in the afternoon, or haven’t eaten all day or have just had a really bad day with my anxiety. I also know that even though I’ve been stable for a year, you’re wondering when it will happen again and you’re scared. I know you’re always worried about bringing friends or boyfriends over and wondering what they will think of me if something happens. I know you might use the word “crazy” to describe the house you live in.

At the end of the day and after all these things are said and done all I can tell you is that I love you, thank you and that you are one of the reasons I continue to fight and one of the reasons I am still here today. You are truly one of the bravest girls I know.

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If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Thinkstock photo via Purestock