Below is a letter that I wrote my friend from hospital who was forcibly removed after repeated self-harm. I was really upset by her abrupt departure and by the staffs inability to provide more details (sometimes it seems that health care politics turns patients into clients and clients in consumers, until we are left with no real validation for being ill or how that illness affects family, friends and fellow patients). Luckily Micky's husband came in a few days later and I managed to slip him my letter, along with a book she'd lent me on using religion to heal trauma (fun fact: people of faith have a far higher rate of recovery compared with atheists and agnostics).
Currently I am weaning myself off sodium valproate (my psychiatrist and GP don't know) and I've cut out my anti-inflammatories too. Slight pain flare and problems with fatigue, but I think my mind is clearer for it. I think my sanity and ‘compliance to therapy’ will be questioned, but I am honestly questioning whether there is much point being honest and compliant in these kind of settings anyway...it certainly didn't help in crisis (if anything, I'm treated with more distrust and resentment now). So I'm taking back my autonomy and doing what I think will work for me.
Dear Marieke (Micky),
Thank-you for your friendship during our time in hospital. I feel like we share many similar experiences, traits and aspirations and I loved watching you transform into a cheeky trouble-maker with sex jokes and a passion for chocolate, instant cappuccinos and yoga.
I also really appreciated spending simple time with you; talking about little things (like religion, Dr. AP or our family upbringing) while you braided my hair. I deeply respect how you’ve found peace and solace in God and the unconditional love you have for your family and husband.
I wish you the best of luck fighting this terrible illness. I’ll think of you whenever I wear my coloured braids or funky leggings. You are so much more than the worst thing that’s happened to you. No one chooses this kind of pain and you are so strong for enduring it up till now.
Love from, Eri x
PS. You give the best hugs
“There is nothing purely good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” –Hamlet