Letter to Bradley – Age 12 Wednesday September 6, 2017
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Your mother phoned me last night and she is worried. You know she is worried and I know you don't want her to worry, but – let's face it, if you were your mother, you'd be worried too, wouldn't you?
She phoned me because she'd heard that my daughter, your friend from Primary School, has self-harming issues too. She thought I might understand.
I do understand, although not for the reason she thinks.
What I want to say to you, Bradley, is that you're not alone. You may think you are. You may think that you're the only one who feels like this. You may think that something must be wrong with you; that somehow, you're a failure because you can't cope. You might feel weak because you can't shrug off the bullying – or stand up to the bullies.
And because the darkness has overwhelmed you.
So, you cut yourself because the bright pain overcomes the dark for a brief time. And because this is a pain you can control, even if you cannot control the desire for this pain. You cannot control the hurt of the dark, but you can control the bright bloom of pain. It's all that keeps you going sometimes.
You need to know you are not a failure and you are not weak; you have the illness known as depression. Your mother says you call it the sadness. That's as good a name as any. Some of us here call it the black dog, although that's an insult to all dogs everywhere. For me it's a dirty grey monster that swallows me up whole, and cuts me off from everyone. I call my monster Leviathan; it's just a bit easier if it has a name.
I admire you so much for talking to your mother, for explaining to her how things are for you. For many of us that is impossible. We are dumb, and unable to confide in anyone.
I am sorry you are having to cope with the bullies; those monsters who just look human. They exist everywhere and take joy in hurting us; hurting us physically and emotionally – even spiritually. They steal our joy and stamp our energy into the ground. They carry the sadness with them and cast it over us like a net so we cannot escape and then they laugh at us as we struggle.
But I want you to know you are not alone. You are not alone and you are not friendless and there are people out here who understand.
We understand because we live in the darkness, the sadness, too. We know how it is to struggle every day to get out of bed because we dread the day ahead. We know how it is to grasp anything that promises a brief respite or escape from the pain – even if that respite or escape is more pain.
You're not alone in the dark, because we're here too, and we're fighting with you.
Welcome to our band of heroes, Bradley. You're safe here.
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.