This letter was sent to me by Jen, regarding her sister. I thank her for coming forward and sharing her story with me. Again, I appreciate her allowing me to submit her letter and my response to Havoca. Hopefully, through our sharing, we can touch others and help them in their time of need.
August 20th 2002
I have shared our letters, “A Sharing” at Havoca with my sister. I don’t remember if I told you that we share the same experiences. She was very delighted and comforted by them. Knowing that you are there, sharing our thoughts, vision of hope, feelings, and roller coaster emotions is a huge comfort beyond words.
I have been very busy with my sister. She has gone into another depression and I have set aside my needs to help her through this time. She tried to commit suicide — again, but thank god she didn’t succeed. She has always had a much harder time coming up from her downs than I ever did. She is also an alcoholic, but not an admitted one, and not one ready to quit. I hope to find answers; maybe the answers on the web sites and from people I meet, will give her the light she needs to find her way. I know that I can’t do it all, but I am the only person she will turn too, and the only person she will let help her.
If you have any advice for me, other than trying to find her a psychiatrist or having her put on anti-depressants, that she is already on, I am open to anything. She is very moved by words, songs, and by children. I thought maybe if she became a Big Sister for an organization, she could help another child and ultimately help herself, but unfortunately she never tried it. She was too afraid and it was around the time she became depressed. She has been diagnosed as Manic Depressive. The only good thing about that is I know her so well, I know what signs to look for. She can be very extreme to being very sheepish. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Thank you for your time.
My Response Letter….
August 21st 2002
You never told me about your sister. I am very sorry you are going through such sad times with her. It must be difficult. She is very lucky to have you in her life. I hope with your strength and courage, she will learn from it, and see that she too, carries the same inner-strengths (a vision of hope). She only has to look inside herself to find it.
I don’t know what kind of advice I can offer you, given your sister’s circumstances. I am not experienced with the manic depressive state. That is for the professionals. I only know; you can’t give up on her, ever. Stay with her for the duration. Keep her close, she needs you. She needs your strength and courage, at least, until she finds her own.
I think therapy is a good thing. Talking to someone professional never hurts. Having someone from the outside, looking in, is sometimes better. They are not judgmental; they see things in a different light. They are there when you need them; they are compassionate, caring people.
Years ago, I had a few therapy sessions as well, and I truly think they can help you if you let them. You have to have an open mind, and be willing to make changes as you learn along the way. Therapy can also be upsetting. It brings out your fears and forces you to face them. However, I think in facing them, and dealing with them, only then can we begin to heal.
I think it’s important for your sister to have someone to talk too, other than you. Even you, as compassionate as you are, can only do so much. Your sister has to make the ultimate choices. Only she can change her life. Only she has the power to do that. She has to feel worthy again, and know she makes a difference. The only way she can do that is to make changes.
Volunteering is a wonderful idea. It makes you feel so good when you give others a part of yourself. A simple smile, a warm hug, a twinkle of your eye could make all the difference. A person remembers that smile; they remember your warmth, your compassionate side. It’s never forgotten. We all have something to give, each and everyone of us. We just have to search inside ourselves and find that something. When we do, we should share it unselfishly.
I accomplished something new this past year. I went to our local public school and became a lunch room monitor. Although it doesn’t sound impressive, it is. I work with four and five year olds and I have to say, it’s a blast. I have one hour while the teacher is at lunch and I get to be in charge. The kids like me a lot, and in turn, I like them.
When I was first asked, I was skeptical. Changes are hard for me. Why would I suddenly want to go to school and work with kids? Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. It was just the change that scared me. Having to get ready every day, be organized; having a routine was scary. Now, I love it. I plan on going back in September, and this time, I’ll have a brand new JK class to contend with.
Add to that, babysitting every other week as well. Plus, just this past May, shortly after my child-care started, I began a waitressing job. All three jobs, plus being an at home mom keep me more than busy. They keep me focusing on others, instead of just myself.
It’s truly amazing how good one can feel when reaching out to others; giving a part of yourself in the simplest way. A smile can go such a long way. The twinkle of your eyes, the windows to your soul, shine through for everyone to see. You only have to be willing to open up your heart and share the true beauty of what’s inside. It’s there; it’s in all of us.
Your sister needs to focus on the good things in life, find a vision of hope. The positive out weighs the negative by far. She must see beyond her emotional pain, and realize what it’s doing to her physically. Her suicide attempts, her substance abuse, are her way of showing her pain; her way of crying out for help. She must see the good in herself, learn to love herself, and most importantly, forgive. Only then can she stop this cycle of self-abuse.
Abuse is always apart of us, it never goes away. It’s always with us. We become who we are, because of it. But, if we let our abuse overcome us, let it control our lives; then our perpetrators have won. They have gotten the better of us. Why would we want to give them this power? We had no power when we were young and innocent, we had no choice. Now we do. We are stronger; we have the power to change.
Why not take something negative and try turning it into something positive? Let something good come from our experiences. Do something that makes you feel worthy and proud. One way of doing this for me, is writing to other survivors such as you. I try to unselfishly give to others, hoping my words will give them some kind of comfort, solace. I write. I love to write, so why not use this natural gift and make a difference if I can. I have spent hours writing responses to survivors that have written me. I find myself in a zone; the words just come from deep inside me. After I have written, I feel a sense of contentment, satisfaction. Each time I share what’s inside me, I think I heal a little more. It feels wonderful to put my thoughts into words and help someone.
Journaling is very important. If your sister can, have her journal all her thoughts and feelings. I did faithfully in the beginning of my therapy and it helped immensely. I don’t journal as much anymore, other than in my weight watchers book, *Smiles* but, I always write. I found out I can write poetry and even romance stories. I’ve learned to express myself in erotic prose even with my history. Plus, I write to survivors, which I find very satisfying. Regardless of what I’m writing; it just feels good to simply write. It’s truly amazing what is inside of us. What we can share with the world: Our vision of hope!!!!!!
If your sister would journal, simply for her own benefit, it could be very healing. All those feelings put to paper, lightening her heart with each and every word. A cleansing of the soul, so to speak. It feels good. Writing about your inner child, or to your inner child, such as I did in a Little Girl, or Close To My Heart, is also therapeutic.
Writing to your perpetrator is another way of dealing with all the angry feelings you have inside. Say everything in your heart, let your anger come forth. Let your tears flow, empty your soul of all the unwanted demons residing there. We don’t need them anymore. We don’t need them to exist.
We have our inner-strength, the essence of who we are. We are truly unique and God has made us who we are for a reason. We should try to be the best we can be, and only then can we find the inner-peace we so desperately need. We can truly feel good about ourselves and know we’ve done the best we can in our circumstances. The trials and tribulations of life will always be there. The rollercoaster rides will never cease. We just have to learn to deal with them the best way we know how. We have to stay strong, stay positive, and try to be the best we can be.
We only live once. We need to cherish the life, God has given us. We need to nurture ourselves, love ourselves unconditionally. We need to pamper ourselves and expend our energies in a way that is healthy. We matter. We are here for a reason. Even though our lives were touched with such horrific events, I think we all have the power to overcome them. We have the power to make choices. It is our choice if we want to let our experiences effect us in a negative way. Or, we can take our negative experiences and turn them into something good; something worthy, something to be proud of.
I’ve come far this past year. I’m not saying I’ve overcome everything, or that’d be lying. But, my grandpa, now one-hundred and one years, is no longer going to have power over me. I, now have the power. I’ve let myself see my inner child. I’ve accepted her, and most importantly, forgiven her. I love me, I love who I am, regardless of all I’ve done in my life. I am a lovable person, and worthy of being loved. I needed to learn to like myself first, before I could learn to love.
Life can be hard. I still have my quirks; I’m still the controlling perfectionist. I still have anger control issues. Those qualities are a part of me. I’ve accepted that. I just have to try dealing with them better. But with teens, it can be hard. They test me daily and put me through the most trying times. I have a husband of twenty-two years that I love dearly, even though there are still roller-coaster rides. It’s has not always been easy. My mother-in-law passed away in June, my mom’s sick, and I’ve lost two beloved pets within a few months. I have to stay focused on the positive aspects of my life as well.
I now work, I’ve lost thirty-five lbs; I feel better about me. I have more confidence and it shows. I hold my head high and feel proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished.
Remember, only we can make the choices in our lives. Whether we choose to enrich our lives with those choices is ultimately our decision. Make each day count, live each day to the fullest and cherish your memories, maintain a vision of hope!