Dear past self,
These past five years have been hard for you. In 2018, you had an episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the beginning, you could not accept this and denied medication, but it got worse and you were hospitalised four times. Now you are steadily walking onto a path of recovery, I hope you remember the people who supported you, and remember how you persevered and overcame.
You have a family that really loves you. When you were waiting for your 4th hospitalisation, you lost your own will. You were running on the streets and on the road, putting yourself in dangerous situations. You also provoked and disturbed passers-by, and made your family feel helpless.
At that time, your dad, your mum, your brother and your fiancé “subdued” you together. They brought you to safety and did what they could to stop you from running. They stayed with you when the pandemic was at its worst and the medical system was overwhelmed; waiting for help with you overnight even though they were physically and mentally exhausted. Thankfully, you did not lose your consciousness or memory when you were delusional, so you still remember how they protected you. Now, even though your brother has emigrated, he still bought you a wedding gift, dad and mum have retired and they cook for you and the family and handle the house chores every day. You truly have a blissful family. You have to keep on building these touching, joyful memories with them while they are still young.
You also need to remember your beloved mentors and friends at church. When you first had depression, they listened to you and carried with you the negative feelings you had about living. You were hurt, you had hatred toward people around you. You felt sorry for your job and what you experienced growing up. You hated yourself and felt ashamed of your failures in your job. There is a saying, “you have to reach pain to leave pain.” You touched the pain in your heart when you were interacting with them. Every time you had a flashback, speaking to them helped you let go. Had you not witnessed your mentor worrying and caring about you and felt how she was tearing up for you, you wouldn’t know your agony, you wouldn’t know how important you are. You need to bear these in mind to repay her compassion.
Besides these people, you’ve met empathetic supervisors and coworkers during your job at the elderly center. They gave you acceptance when you had limited working abilities and when you had to take leave to receive therapy in the hospital. This friendliness is not found in all workplaces. It was also here when you developed trust with your coworkers, and earned the sense of capability you need to rebuild confidence. Our Father in Heaven prepared this place for you to stay and rest. Remember that whenever you called your supervisors from the hospital she gave you support. When you joked about loving her she responded with humor, and she made you feel an enormous amount of warmth when she promised to give you a doll when you were waiting to leave the hospital.
Lastly, when this letter is in the exhibition, you will be married to your fiancé. Congratulations, you have a loyal, reliable partner who stays with you no matter what. He patiently waited for you when you were in the hospital, he was ready for your phone calls anytime. He shouldered the anxiety and lostness with you when your illness was unstable. You are always happy with him, you often talk about what’s on your mind, and you appreciate the bitterness of life together. I hope you live happily with him forever!
Finally, I want to praise you for your perseverance, because you didn’t give up fighting your illness, because you didn’t give up on your life, you could enjoy the beautiful things that come after. I am proud of you for living and not giving up on loving those you love. Although you self-terminated your medication twice leading to hospitalisation, you now understand you can’t reduce your symptoms just by your will, and adherence to your medication helps you stabilise your condition. Together with trusting those around you and treating each symptom, you are very stable now.
Four springs have passed since your first episode in 2018, all the grace and love you received will be with you for the rest of your life. God’s kindness will not leave you and your family and will help you accomplish the mission of inspiring those who are going through difficult times. Your life is enriched by these experiences, this is the unique story that belongs to you.
21st October 2022