To the girl

To the girl who was always told she was too much for asking for her basic needs to be met. Dismissed by people when she raised her concerns as being a crazy woman or a psycho. Not supported when she deemed her partner unfit for sharing a life with because they didn’t love her in the way she deserved. Made to feel silly when she dared to shine her light and be confident for once. Criticised for not being or doing enough to somehow cure an incurable illness and make life more comfortable for able bodied people. Squashing her feelings down and hiding her sadness so other people wouldn’t feel uncomfortable when she felt very validly devastated by life events. Then being told to ask for help, that it was the most important thing when dealing with poor mental health. But when she asked for help no one gave it and instead wondered why she just couldn’t deal with it herself even though she was drowning. They didn’t want to hear or see about her drowning so she again pushed down her feelings. When trying to ask for help and explain, she still didn’t put it across extremely enough so people that should have helped didn’t think she had it that bad.  Her having valid sad feelings was less important than their view of the situation and how she should have dealt with it, their automatic response was judgment and not support. Being told she deals with things well instead of lending a hand and alleviating some of her suffering. Trying to accommodate everyone at her own expense so comes across high functioning and therefore not sick enough in society’s eyes. But yet when she explains the full extent of her illness she must be making it up because surely she wouldn’t be high functioning if she was as sick as she claimed.

To the girl who was never believed and criticised for being unable to stay awake.  Too sick to work but had to work because she wasn’t deemed sick enough. Please don’t give up. I know you are delirious from exhaustion from trying so hard to be what able bodied people think you should be. There is no reward for pushing through exhaustion. Know that while you might feel like the loneliest person in the world in dealing with Narcolepsy, there are other people with this condition that understand. Your life might not be what you want it to be right now, but dreaming of disposing of it won’t help. Stop seeking validation of your symptoms from people who are determined to undermine you and put you down. They will never understand. Your expectation of them is only hurting you. Let the tears flow and let the doubters go, you have nothing to prove to anyone else other than yourself.  I wish I had felt that way long before now. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction of knowing they broke you irrevocably. Be sad and feel your feelings then rage against what they expect you to do. They don’t deserve to claim that they were the one that stamped out your hope for your future.

To the girl who is living a life that is very different from what she expected, there are lessons in the darkness but you don’t have to live in it forever. You deserve happiness as much as everyone else. Other people don’t get to determine your version of happy or what you should be happy with. Keep pushing and listening to your inner voice that knows you deserve better. Lean in to the things that brought you so much joy as a little girl. Bring back the innocent hope and confidence in achieving your wildest dreams. You can dream and not be reckless and stay positive but not be naïve to potential problems. Your ability to deal with a chronic illness will give you a resilience that you didn’t want to have to experience all the bad to get, but it will be there. Your sensitive nature will become your superpower.  You can see things other people can’t. People don’t always like this but please never shield against that natural intuition. It saved your life once before. That being said, don’t take it personal when they don’t like that you are holding up a mirror to things they didn’t want revealed themselves. Growth is painful, not everyone is willing to do it. You don’t like it either but are forced to in order to cope with Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is the forced foe you have to bargain with day in and day out. You have had to sometimes compromise your every want in life to keep it happy and stable. You will find it hard dealing with people who do not have to negotiate with their body in this way. They will struggle to relate to you, comparing their healthy bodies functioning at full capacity to your broken one. They don’t realise your body is not the same as theirs.  But that doesn’t mean you should try harder to prove that yours works the same. Your body keeps shutting down because you are overworking it. If your car was overheating, you wouldn’t continue to drive it at the same high speed to get home. So why are you doing this to yourself and not connecting the constant burnout with the consistent high speed? You alone have power over the accelerator. Society expectations represent the need to drive it, but you decide the speed. It’s your responsibility when the body breaks down. To prevent it breaking down so frequently you must alter your approach. That lies with you, not them.

To the girl who found safety in pleasing others, do you still feel safe within yourself? Or does it feel like you suffering in silence whilst your low maintenance expectations of others means they don’t know how close you are to snapping? Do you fall victim to your intrusive thoughts that whisper in your ear when noone’s looking? Your demons only coming out when no one is there to witness it so they will deny their existence? You experience them. That is enough to make them real. Don’t let others views invalidate the very real threat that your nightmares pose to you. The sweat you feel running down your back from terror is real. The terror you feel from hallucinating a murderer on top of your chest is real. The vomit you feel in the back of your throat after narrowly escaping a life threat is real. The blood on your face from clawing away an attacker is real.

To the girl I used to be, someone will eventually come and save you, but you don’t realise that the person who saves you is you.

Leaving you with a few song lyrics that have been in my head all week:

So I’m gettin’ rid of the habits that I feelAre real good at wastin’ my timeNo regrets, baby, I just think that maybeIt’s natural when things lose their shineSo other things can glowI’ve gotten older now, I knowHow to take care of myselfI found a deeper well

-Deeper Well, Kacey Musgraves

Were you sent by someone who wanted me dead?
Did you sleep with a gun underneath our bed?
Were you writing a book? Were you a sleeper cell spy?
In fifty years, will all this be declassified?
And you’ll confess why you did it
And I’ll say, “Good riddance”
‘Cause it wasn’t sexy once it wasn’t forbidden
I would’ve died for your sins
Instead, I just died inside
And you deserve prison, but you won’t get time
You’ll slide into inboxes and slip through the bars
You crashed my party and your rental car
You said normal girls were boring
But you were gone by the morning
You kicked out the stage lights
But you’re still performing

And in plain sight you hid
But you are what you did
And I’ll forget you, but I’ll never forgive
The smallest man who ever lived

-The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived, Taylor Swift


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