Thursday, December 22, 2011


I wrote a letter to myself as an assignment for a class. It was pretty broad but I knew exactly what I wanted to write about as soon as the assignment was given. I won't share the whole thing here but I want to share a bit of it and for a reason.

Bri has this annoying little habit of reading me all of the shocking or depressing news going on in Boise and it sounds something like this, "Whoa! These people...bla bla bla....dead hooker and coke." I never read that stuff and not because I'm not interested in the news (I am) but it seems more like tabloid fodder and less like news. So today...After the 5th crazy news story Bri looked up and said, "It seems like between Thanksgiving and like right after Valentine's Day people are just crazy." I say "Bla bla bla..statistically..bla bla...making shit up...yeah. Holidays are prime crazy time."

Huge slightly irrelevant story and now to the point: The Holidays are prime crazy time and not just for people who like to kill hookers and do coke. It's crazy time for a lot of people. I am on large amounts of drugs to curb my crazy and December still makes me nuts. December made me sad today. Really sad. Because I thought about those crazy people and how a lot of us are on the verge of doing something really stupid to dull the pain/feel the pain/make someone else feel the pain. No, I'm not going on a tri-state killing spree but I do know what it's like to feel so desperate that you do things that are downright INSANE!

Ok. Stop me. Here's the letter. I think it speaks for itself.

A letter to myself on my 25th birthday. April 10, 2006

Dear Sarah,

I know that you are so sad right now. I know that you feel really desperate. You envisioned things for your life that were exciting and adventurous. You envisioned a relationship that fulfilled you in beautiful, meaningful ways. I know that you are going to go out in the backyard when the kids are napping and scream at the top of your lungs. It will only make you feel worse. I know that you sometimes feel so depressed that you can’t even lift your arms to put the dishes away. I know that when he gets home you will walk into the bedroom, crawl into bed and stay there until he calls you in to kiss the kids good night. You will go back to bed and lie there until he comes in. When he does, you will silently cry. You will move further away and just wish that he would reach out to you and tell you that he loves you. He won’t.
Tomorrow, the day after your 25th birthday, something will happen that you think is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Later you will make the biggest mistake of your life. It will not make you feel better. Not that day, not ever, and it will end your life as you know it. You will begin to blame your husband for the depression you feel. You won’t reach out to him and he won’t reach out to you. You won’t tell anyone. You won’t get help. Even when it gets so bad that you can’t get dressed anymore. You will live silently. Raging.

There is just one thing that you can do, right now.

On the day of your 25th birthday you can stop what hasn’t started.

Please do exactly what I tell you to do: Get up. Put the kids in the car and drive to your parents’ house. Go inside and find your mom. Ask her to watch the kids for a little while. She will do it. If she asks you why, you tell her that you are going to get help before you can’t go back. She will understand. She has seen this coming for a long time. Drive to your husband’s shop and go up to his office. Sit across from him and look in his eyes. Please don’t look away. He has to know how serious you are.
Say this, “I love you. I want to have a relationship with you. Right now I am so depressed that I’m scared for my life.”

He will tell you that he loves you. He does want to be with you. He will cry when he says it.
Leave his office and go to your doctor. Even if you have to go to the emergency room. DO NOT let this go on for one more day. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! You are not being dramatic! Get help now!

Dr. Jones will send you to Jennie and you will spend the next 6 weeks in therapy everyday. You will get medicine that pulls you out of that dark void. You will start to see the real light at the end of the tunnel.
Your husband will go with you sometimes. It will be hard. You have to say what you feel. You have to lay yourself open and tell him how scared you are. You have to ask the hard questions and listen to the answers. When he disappoints you (he will) do not quit. Please be vulnerable. PLEASE! Tell the truth. Tell him that you have been terrified since the day you told him you were pregnant with Olivia. Tell him that you feel invisible. Please tell him that you love him. Don’t start a fight to cover up how you feel. Don’t be tough.

I don’t know what will happen after this. If you do what I told you to do then the future is a mystery. An unguarded one. A truthful one.

But I do know what happens if you don’t.

Your husband will find out. You will finally go to Dr. Jones and Jennie but it will be too late. If you thought what you were going through was hell, you were sadly mistaken. What happens next is the real inferno. You will spend a year fighting and crying and begging. You will beg him to come back. He won’t. You will tell him that you love him. It doesn’t matter anymore. You will lie in bed at night (in your parents’ house because you don’t have one anymore) and you will torture yourself with your mistakes. Your girls will cry to “come home” and they mean the place where both their mom and dad live. It doesn’t exist anymore.

When he finally gets a beautiful, blonde and thin girlfriend and introduces your kids to her you will wish you were dead. When you meet her you will wish she were dead. You will endlessly compare yourself to her.

You will finally give up. You will finally begin the grueling process of divorce. It will start out amicable. You’ll have long talks about what each of you need. You’ll be hopeful that your kids will be ok. You’ll move into a cute rental in the north end and feel like you may survive this after all.

He will fire you. It will not be so amicable anymore. You will have to fight to keep any shred of the life you once had. You will shelter your kids from the fighting. You will shelter them from your desperation. You will spend hours at the attorney’s office. You will spend hours going through mountains of papers. You will go back and forth between walking away and fighting with all you have. You will have to sell your car to pay your lawyer half of what you owe her. In the end (2 years after the day he found out) you’ll choose some stupid halfway point on the scale of walking and fighting and you will have to start your life over. This will cost you 10,000 dollars in attorney fees alone and you will have NOTHING.

This is not the path you should choose.
I know that today, on your 25th birthday, you feel like it is his fault. You feel like the only answer is to run away. It isn’t the answer. Only you can fix this. Stop right now.
It is possible to not feel the way you do today. Please get help.

With only the love that you can give yourself,
Your 30-year-old self