Jessica Gibson writes an enlightening account of just how much mental health services can vary in different parts of the country, and describes some of the approaches to mental health support in Sheffield. Her story highlights the profound impact that the right kind of help can have.
Trish Chester: A letter to… My Younger Self
Trish has written a sweet and thoughtful letter to her younger self, looking back on the highs and lows of growing up.
Hello sweet girl
You probably don’t recognise my name, but I am your older self. Everyone still calls you Patricia at the moment, but people will shorten it to Trisha and then Trish as you get older.
I know you’re a very inquisitive girl, so I expect you’re wondering why I’m writing to you from your future? Well, I want to tell you a few things that I hope will help you as you make your journey through life.
You’re a clever girl, and you enjoy learning. You love school and I know you’ll be pleased to know that when you grow up you are going to be a teacher yourself. And you’ll be a great one too.
I’m going to tell you a few things you won’t be taught at school – some people call them ‘Life Lessons’, and I know you are wise enough to learn from them. Before I tell you some of these things though, I want to reassure you. You don’t need to be afraid of what lies ahead of you, and however hard it might seem at the time, always remember that you will get through it. People are always calling you a tomboy and they worry about you because you are so adventurous. But don’t ever change – these are the qualities that will help you throughout your life.
You are also a very truthful girl. You’re not afraid to say what you think and how you feel. This is another thing that will help you, just be careful not to hurt people with your honesty. Try and put yourself in other people’s shoes and ask yourself how you would feel if someone said that same thing to you. That way you will learn to think before you speak, which will help you a lot with all the people you are going to meet.
You are going to have an amazing life Patricia. You will have adventures, you’ll travel, you’ll do things that most people could only ever dream about. Some people will be envious of your life, so try not to allow their attitudes to affect you too much. You’ll realise that everyone has different lives, different opinions, different priorities, and different experiences. Be humble, don’t boast about your achievements or experiences, instead share them with people who appreciate you.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but you are also going to have some very difficult times as well. Things will happen to you that will leave you feeling upset, or angry, or worried. Don’t think these things only happen to you though, because everyone has ups and downs – some people even say that life is like a roller coaster. Eventually you’ll learn that life can’t always be good and happy, and you’ll discover ways to cope with the tough times.
Be true to yourself. Let go of things that hurt you. Don’t worry unless there is something you can do about it. Remain open to new experiences and new people.
Be kind. Be genuine. Be fair. Remember that being all these things will not guarantee that others will be the same with you. That is what life is all about. You cannot change how other people are, you can only change how you react to them.
Live your life to the full. Love without conditions. Be as happy and content as you can be.
I will always be at your side. Together we’ll make it through this strange thing called life.