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Letter To My 23 Year Old Self

I was looking around in some of my documents and I found this one I wrote two years ago.  I share it with you now and will reflect on it in the next posting.

May 28, 2013

Dear Angela,

I know you might not believe this, but you are going to be okay. I understand that it is a dark and confusing time right now. There are moments that you wonder if this is all worth it. To feel this kind of pain, or to endure this heartache. But I want you to know it will get better. There will be times of clarity. And those are the really good times. Hard to believe when you look at your life right now, but there is light in your future.

I know you struggle with finding love. You are searching for it everywhere. I can see that. I get that you are trying to fill a void. I am here to tell you that you will find love. Honest to goodness true lasting love. He is everything you imagined he would be and more.

I can see that you want the circus that is your life to end. But I can also see that you don’t know how to stop it. Be safe in the knowledge that this is bigger than you. And one day it will start to make sense. You will emerge from the depths to live an honest and good life. Stay as true to yourself as you can as you navigate the road ahead.

I am not saying that in anyway that this is going to be a cake walk and everything will just land in your lap. Unfortunately there are some rocky roads ahead of you. But what I really want to make clear is that you are going to make it. It is true that you are a good person. Even if that is hard to believe right now.

You have a capacity to love that will amaze you. It is one of your greatest gifts. It is getting stomped on right now, but you will get to a place where you can show someone that love who truly believes in you at your core for the person that you are.

I believe that all you really need right now is someone who can pull you off the roller coaster and give you a big hug and tell you that help is on the way. But this is something that you are going to have to figure out on your own, with not too much help for the time being. That changes in time when you meet a couple of really good doctors who figure out the mystery, but that doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen today.
You have an illness that makes it tough to forge ahead calmly without the help of medication and therapy. You will find out in the near future that you are bipolar. When they tell you the diagnosis you don’t even know what it means. All you know for sure is that it has a name and there could be good reason for the way that you are feeling. All at once it is a relief then a huge weight put on you. There will be tons of confusion around this time. But it is also the steps in the right direction to recovery. That’s what they call it when you are balanced and not having an episode. It is interesting because that is what an alcoholic that doesn’t drink is in – recovery. It is a heavy word for what you will be dealing with. There is a lot to recover from. The hurts and damage to others. The pain you will inflict on yourself. The loss of the future you thought was ahead of you. The diagnosis does change you. In some ways good and some ways not so good.

The good ways are that you finally get the help that you have been screaming for. You will do the dance of finding the right medications. Know that that does take time and extreme patience, but it will come. The pattern is that that will hold you for a while, but you are not free of episodes in the future. You will hit the bottom again, but with the knowledge of what the hell is going on this time around.

The bad part is how you will feel about yourself and what you are capable of doing being a person who is bipolar. It can be limiting and you will find that there is only so much stress you have the ability to handle. Too much too fast pushes you too far. You will also find that you put limits on your own abilities because of some perceived notions that you are not smart enough, capable enough, determined enough, well enough. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy.

The man you are married to right now does not love you unconditionally. He is controlling, manipulative and abusive. Your gut was right about him at the get go. You should not have walked down the aisle to be forever attached to him. And the other guy that you are fooling around with right now is not a good person either. In fact quite dangerous. I would like to tell you to run because he almost takes your life from you. But it is in that moment of near death that you realize that your life is worth living and that you have got to get the hell out of there. I am infinitely proud of you for getting away.

The greatest gift you can give yourself right now is trust. Trust in yourself that you are going to get through this. There is a place of peace and I so want that for you right now in this moment. Can I also tell you that it is worth it? Impossible to digest in the moment you are in now, but it is good on the other side. When you free yourself of men who control you you will find that life is good. There are even moments ahead where you will pinch yourself to see if you are dreaming it is so good. And it is in those moments that will keep you going.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Believe in yourself that you are headed in the right direction. Be sure to buckle up though, it is one hell of a ride.

The 44 year old Angela

Letter writing supplies photo available from Shutterstock

Letter To My 23 Year Old Self


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APA Reference
, . (2015). Letter To My 23 Year Old Self. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 6 Aug 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Aug 2015
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