Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Clean Slate / An Open Letter

I started this blog with the intent of using it as a place to be open and honest to the world; to use it as a platform for a way to express myself, but I never felt that I had anything worthwhile to share.
However, due to a recent shitstorm of seemingly unfortunate events, I think I have found my voice and my purpose.

Since we are being honest here, I will start by saying that I am Elizabeth, and I live with mental illness.
Without going into too many details about how this came to be, I will tell you that I have Anxiety and Severe Manic Depression.

I knew I perceived things differently from my peers when I was in about 7th grade. I had a "boyfriend" (whatever that means when you're in the 7th grade) and predictably, it didn't work out.
Without even remotely knowing anything about love or life, I knew that someone didnt want to be with me and it felt like my world crushed all around me. I told him (remember, Im about 12-13 at this time) that I felt hopeless and that I just wanted to die. Ridiculous, right? I was a child. I was barely pubescent and I felt as though I was ready to die. My life had barely started. Luckily I had a couple of very good close friends to help me through my first real depressive episode, and for a few years I felt normal.

Life went on as it does for anyone else. I made friends, lost friends, had boyfriends, lost boyfriends, lost a few family members, normal high school stressors and drama came and went. One thing that remained pattern, though, was that every episode I had was because of people making a choice to not have me in their lives. I am not far enough into my treatment to tell you why that is, but that is without a doubt my biggest trigger. I thought if I could just be a good enough friend and girlfriend, people would never leave me again and I would be "cured" of this mysterious ailment that caused me to feel so incredibly hopeless.

As you probably know, it doesn't matter how good you are to people, things fall apart, friendships and relationships fall apart, and life continues to go on. It is impossible to keep every single relationship you ever build, friends or otherwise.
With a few minor slip ups and half assed attempts of getting help (i.e. medication, no therapy) I made it 9 years without seeking further help. I thought I had it under control. I had this. I had done this before. I'll make it.

But all of that changed. My life got turned upside down in both the best and worst way imaginable.
I was about a week into a break up from a person I cared very deeply about. It was the same old routine of a suicidal episode caused by someone leaving, but I was coping.

Then my sister called me.
She made sure I wasn't alone before she told me.
The reason this guy and I had fallen apart was because he was secretly dating one of my closest family members. Someone I considered a best friend and trusted with my entire life. These two people I had done so much for hit me with the ultimate betrayal and I completely fell out. All I could think was "Why?". Why had these people done this to me? What did I do wrong? How did I hurt them? Where was my downfall? What about ME wasn't a good enough girlfriend to him or a good enough friend/ family member to her that made them want to hurt me in such a drastic way? What was this revenge for?

"WHY DO PEOPLE ALWAYS HURT ME?" I remember sobbing to my dad.
My dad pursueded me (without too much effort) to move back in with him to get myself over this hump. Oh, did I mention that I was LIVING with these two people? Let that put into perpective the shock that I felt. Never in a million years would I have ever thought this would happen.

My best friend and I decided it was best to go back to my house while the traitors were at work that same night, pack up EVERYTHING I own, and take it to my dads. One night. One trip. New chapter.I was sad but I was okay. Knowing my pattern, I sat my dad and best friend down after we unloaded her car of all of my things, and I asked them "So what is the plan for when I am not fine anymore?". Together we decided that the best plan we could come up with was that when I am feeling myself go into that hopeless low I would text them and they would take me to hospital to put me on an emergency psychiatric hold.

About 12 hours later, that is exactly what we did. I was sitting on the floor of my best friend's living room, my head on the couch, crying. I looked at her tearfully and said "I think I need to go." Sticking with our plan, I texted my dad, he came and got me, and we went to the Emergency Room. After some routine evaluations, I was sent to Research Psychiatric Center.

I was placed on a 72 hour hold. I went to the groups, I was honest with my Counselor, Social Worker, and Nurses, and I can easily say that doing all of that for myself was the best decision I have ever made.

It's funny how so much pain and betrayal can turn into the best thing that has ever happened to you.

So this is where I would like to turn this post into an open letter to those two people.

To whom it may concern,
Thank you.
Thank you, sir, for manipulating me. For always using my mental illness against me, for making me believe that you were perfect and I was just anxious, insecure, and depressed to the point that I was projecting my problems onto you.
Thank you, miss, for betraying me in a way that I never thought possible. You never gave me any reason to doubt your loyalty to me. You are truly skilled in manipulation of others, you always have been. Thank you for showing your cowardess by never saying a single word about any of this to me, even during the few times I confronted you and confided in you about the problems my relationship with him was facing.
Thank you both, for breaking me down into almost nothing. Thank you for lying to me. Thank you for exposing all of the people who only pretended to be on my team because it benefitted them in some way.
 You got me to my turning point. It is because of the two of you that I felt like I had lost everything. It is because of the help I got after what you put me through that I realized I really didn't lose a damn thing. I gained my purpose. I gained my strength. I gained my life. A chance to finally purge out all of the people who were the basis of all of the negativity in my life. In a really kind of convoluted, fucked up way, you gift wrapped my happiness and handed to me on a platter.
Because of your sneaky, disgusting, horrible betrayal, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I no longer have to wonder about people's motives, because I have hand picked all of the people I allow in my circle based on their character that I know to be true, because they are people who were there for me when there was nothing to be won.
So, have each other. Have your life together, have the house I worked so hard to get us all into, the dishes that were gifted to me, the food I bought. Have everything. Because at the end of each day, I get to fall asleep knowing that I have far more than either of you ever will.
When I look at myself in the mirror I get to see someone who is kind, strong, beautiful, and caring. I get to know that people admire the kind of person I am. I am known as a true and loyal friend, something you two have robbed yourselves of ever being. I get to know that when your relationship that is based on lies and betrayal inevitably falters, you will have a deep regret for hurting the one person that would have done anything in her power to help you. I now have the wisdom to know better than to ever help you again.
Your lifestyle is a never ending cycle of sadness and harm to yourselves and those around you.

Thank you so much for excluding me from that and giving me a chance to start over; to live a purely positive life.



  1. I salute your courage. It takes courage to ask for help. One in four Americans will experience some form of mental illness in their life.

    I attempted suicide on my 26th birthday. The psychiatrist who saved my life said that I should disown my family of origin, because I was only trying to please them, while they were too dysfunctional to care about me. It took me some time to actually follow her advice, but when I finally decided that I had enough, then my life began to improve. Its hard to succeed when the people who should be helping you are actually working against you.

    I think that you understand that these things don't occur in a vacuum, that they are caused by the toxic people in our lives. Relationships are hard, but if they fail, its not always your fault. Don't give up hope for a happy life.

  2. P.S. As a test of trust, I made her tell me her first name. Its Elizabeth. She said that her friends called her "Bussy"

    Dr. Elizabeth Simpson

    I Googled her one day & discovered that she was then teaching psychiatry at Harvard. (I met her when she was a graduate student at Vanderbilt.) There was even a picture of her, so I knew that this person was indeed her.

  3. P.S.S. It was in 1986, so I was 32, not 26. I remember now, because we were the same age, as she had first been an English Teacher, & so was older than the other students.

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