To Sinead O'Connor: From Someone Who Understands

Dear Sinead,

With much love, compassion and a sense of sisterhood, I want to reach out and say thank you.

Thank you for being brave and sharing your pain. Thank you for being human and allowing your vulnerability. Thank you for being so powerfully emotional and empathetic. You have gifted the world with your amazing words and your beautiful voice.

I also want to say I’m sorry.

I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. I’m sorry you feel so let down and ostracized. I’m sorry you feel so alone. But you are not alone.

I watched your video and I see you. I listened to your words and I hear you. I feel your pain. You have touched my heart. To me, you are family. The millions of us who do, have or will, experience mental illness in all it’s glorious brokenness — we are your family.

I believe true family weather the storm of fiery words and angry emails, and say, “Are you OK?” “What’s going on?” “How can I help?”

Family never say, “I love you but…” They say, “I love you anyway.”

When the pain you’ve tried to hide so long is seeping out and staining your face, I believe family should gently say, “Talk to me.”

Family doesn’t have to be DNA. Family is not defined by blood or ancestry or the person who knew you the longest time.

Family is forgiveness and acceptance. Give and take. Understanding. It is about love. And love is not an easy path to walk. It is a path fraught with mishaps and misunderstandings. Failures and fears. Then forgiveness.

Family see you screaming at the world, while inside you’re tearing apart, and they wrap their arms around you and say, “It’s OK. You will be OK. I am here for you. You can weather this storm.”

Some are blessed to find their family in the people who raised them — the people who just happen to share blood ties with them. Many more people find family outside that very small circle. Sometimes, searching for family in the wrong places, will break your heart.

The beautiful people in the world are just waiting to hug you. To love you. To accept you. To watch you make a mistake, say the wrong thing, fall over and get back up again. And to say, “I love you anyway. You’re my friend. You’re my family. I see you.”

Sinead, your raw shout to the world is heart wrenching, and I am so truly sorry you feel so isolated. I want to send you a huge hug and say thank you for exposing your vulnerability and not turning inwards, to take the pain out on yourself.

With every ounce of my being, I hope your true family have reached out and wrapped their arms around you and said, “You’ll be OK,” because you will be OK. You have made a difference. You will continue to make a difference. You are a beautiful soul and that beauty is etched in every tear you shed.

I see you. I hear you. To me, you are family.

With much love and compassion,

Your soul sister

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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