Dear… is a new series of articles that Label will be posting. Throughout this series, people will share open letters addressed to anyone from boyfriends, friends, family to even pets. These open letters allow for us to explore the minds of others and their deepest thoughts. From personal journeys to self-discovery, this is a series that is worth looking out for and giving a read. 

Volunteer writer, Lydia Porter, adds to the ‘Dear…’ series with an empowering and raw letter addressing her younger self. 

Dear younger me,

I wish I’d had someone writing me a letter when this was all beginning, as the biggest thing I want to tell you is do not be afraid. This isn’t to say that you have no reason to feel scared, but you are going to learn so much about yourself, and the strength you can find when you really need it.

You’re only 15, and you have won the battle against Swine Flu- a battle in which over 200,000 lives were lost- so first of all: well done. Unfortunately (and I hate to be the one to tell you this), but this is only the start of your fight… and I mean fight. You may be feeling completely at rock bottom right now, but you are going to learn the true meaning of that phrase, but it will make you stronger in the long run as you will soon also learn exactly what odds you can defeat.

The irony is that the thing that makes you feel so physically weak that you want to cry, not to mention so emotionally weak that you feel like you’re nothing more than an inactive bystander in your own life, is in fact the thing that will make you the strongest. You will become more resilient than you can possibly imagine.

You may feel for a long time like you are not living, but merely existing, and that’s okay. Living is hard. Through the worst times all you need to do is exist, because time keeps passing you by, and one day, you will be out of the woods and feel like you can start to live a little. And one day you will feel like you actually have a life. And my goodness does it feel great and definitely worth the wait!

Something you are going to struggle with is your independence- or lack of. You’re mature beyond your years, and at an age where everyone around you is taking steps in their lives, you’ve receded back to being looked after by your parents. You will continue going to school, but only two days a week, and you will complete your GCSE’s and you’re A Levels through sheer determination to not let your waning health stop you from achieving. If it’s important to you, you will make it happen.

Over the next seven years, you are going to face three neurological disorders- two of which still haven’t been diagnosed as they are apparently “too rare” (real helpful, eh?), but it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, you will be in and out of hospital having tests, and yes, some days you will feel as hopeless as anything whilst it feels like you are getting nowhere. But you are also going to have a lot of good days. As impossible as it will seem, you will finish school, and you will finish with exactly the grades you wanted; you will make your way to University, and you will graduate with a First class degree (I’m not going to tell you what subject in though, that’s a surprise for you later!). And most importantly, you will meet a man who gives you more strength than you have ever known purely through his faith in you, and he makes up for all of the bad stuff going on, and just makes you feel like you can handle it, no matter what. Most amazingly, he even thinks your health is what shaped you in to the woman he loves today, so if you can take anything positive from this situation, let it be him.

I don’t want to say these things to make you worry, I say them because I wish I had known at the beginning of all of this what I truly had in store- good and bad. So please, if nothing else, take from this letter that despite everything, you will have a happy life. That thought (I hope) will get you through.

And one last thing, try not to be too hard on yourself when things aren’t quite going the way you want- you’ll get there. Love yourself.

Love, yourself.

Lydia Porter


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