A Letter To Myself About Mental Illness

Mental Health Week (or month) runs in early October, with dates varied depending on location. During October, YFH will use its platform to raise awareness on the issue. Get help here. If you’d like to share your story, anonymously or openly, click here. It will help someone.


In honour of #mentalhealthweek (or month) I want to give a massive shoutout to the amazing Sophie Hardcastle and her book Running Like China. Her harrowing recount of a battle with mental illness not only offers hope for the one in five young people struggling, but gives those on the outside a window to look in. In the book Sophie suggests writing a letter to yourself to read during relapses, so when darkness roars across the sky and you want to leave this life behind, you have something to remind you of all the reasons you have to stay.

This is my letter.

Dear Jae,

You are here for a reason.

You know it, you have always known it.

You have work to do here. You have minds to awaken, souls to enlighten and hearts to inspire. You have mountains to move and messages to deliver. You have systems to change, rules to break, beliefs to challenge, talents to unleash. You have light to give and darkness to discover. You have lessons to learn and really fucking beautiful things to create.

I know that being a human is hard work and you just want to go ‘home’, but it’s not time yet. The fact that your heart is still beating means that there are still things your soul wants to experience.

I know you can’t see it right now, but there are so many beautiful things about this life.

Even if it doesn’t right now, writing makes you happy. So does sunshine on the nape of your neck, the sunrise over the ocean and a glass of rose overlooking the water. You love almond lattes and peppermint tea and the full moon takes your breath away.  

You have friends who adore you. You have this way of making people feel excited and inspired, like they can take on the world. You see the beauty, wisdom and light in others even when they don’t see it in themselves. You are driven by this overwhelming desire to alleviate suffering and a superhuman empathy that most people don’t understand. (It’s one of the reasons you’re struggling right now). 

You have already helped so many people and you are going to help millions more.  

You have so much to look forward to. You will meet people that challenge you and change the way you see the world and you will experience moments of Divine revelation that alter you on a cellular level. You will know joy so pure and you will love so deeply it will crack you open. The tears will stop, your fire will return and the words will pour forth again. Your writing will be a channel for the Divine to flow through you into the world. You will make yourself proud.

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but there’s meaning in all of this. The many facets of melancholy shape you, teach you and change you. They fast track your growth and evolution, they destroy you so you can be rebuilt. Remember? We experience darkness so we can know ourselves as light. It takes a special kind of faith to surrender completely to the darkness, secure in the knowledge that the light will come again. When the waves drag you under, surrender.

I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but there is more love in this world than fear and the evil pales in comparison to the good. God is still there, even though you can’t feel Him and there is an army of unseen forces holding you when you cry. Even when the loneliness overwhelms you, you are never truly alone.

When the clouds roll across the sky, remember your Divine appointment. You are a messenger, a visionary, a healer, a shaman, a leader, a shepherd. You have been preparing lifetimes for this.

And when all is said and done you will return home, not a moment sooner than you are meant to, ensconced in a starry bliss. The veil will be lifted and with the limitations of the body forgotten, you will remember who you really are.

Until then darling one, you have work to do – and you have to be here to do it.

Stay strong.

I love you so very much.

Jae x


If you have a story that you'd like to share, please submit it here.