This letter is a long time coming, and, trust me, I’m not writing it on a whim. In fact, when I left residential treatment, my therapist, my nutritionist AND my team director all encouraged me to write this letter, and that was January 2009. I told them quite honestly that I wasn’t ready to completely break off our relationship. There was a part of me that certainly wanted to move you out of my bedroom, but I still wanted to meet you at the neighborhood hotel from time to time.
There have been other moments in the year and a half since then that I thought I was ready to move into the “healthy room,” but I never could quite take the plunge. (I swear, I NEVER thought I would refer to a mental illness as Ed or use Erika’s analogy about rooms in a house, but, hey, it’s a little saner than weighing yourself 50X during the night or drinking Ensure then taking laxatives. After all, who am I to judge?)
Anyway, Erika brought it to my attention that I’ve been hanging out in the healthy room in the last few months, only occasionally looking back into the room of irrational thoughts and destructive behaviors. In fact, without realizing it, I’ve moved some furniture as well – my books, my favorite chair and quilt. I’ve brought my cats, Rufus and Henri along, and Grace even guards the door, allowing only rational thoughts and honest feelings across the threshold. The kids and their friends hang out here, too. My own friends and family drop by my new place without the look of fear or frustration like when they visited the place that you and I shared. Actually, the healthy room has become a house, because frankly, one room just wasn’t big enough for my life.
When I started this journey four years ago, I was in search of a simple life. You tried to convince me that with just the two of us my life couldn’t possibly be any more simple. Unfortunately, we were filling up our room with complicated emptiness and loneliness; let’s be honest, there’s absolutely nothing simple about you. The new place, though, talk about simple – simple laughter, compassion, forgiveness, honesty, love and grace, and because my new place is so full of these simple things there just isn’t room for your complicated, irrational and destructive behaviors. Of course, there is also pain in my new house, but it is accompanied with comfort and hope.
I would be lying if I said I was putting you out on the street; I wish I could, but realistically, I’m not sure I’ll ever do that. But, in case you haven’t noticed, you’ve been moved to the attic, where old prom dresses and the ugly luggage with no wheels are kept.
As crazy as it sounds, I’m grateful to you. You helped me make excuses and find ways to give my exhausted soul a break. But, big picture, you lied when you said that you were all I deserved. Even with that, I’m sure there will be moments when I think of you and maybe even crack open the door, but my new place requires a lot of work and energy, and I doubt if there will be much time for searching in the attic.
It’s over, Ed. Don’t try to convince me otherwise, and don’t think you can scare me either. You have to remember that it’s not just the two of us anymore. My support has moved with me. The Prozac is actually easier to swallow when I take it in my healthy room and Erika doesn’t have to repeat herself so much when we chat while you are in the attic. Oh, and eating and sleeping and even walking with Grace. . . they came too. You see, Ed, I’ve thought of everything.
Don’t worry; I’ll always remember you, and I honor the fact the road we shared in some twisted way has led me to this very sweet place. But the truth remains that the lock to the attic is on the outside; I’ll have to be the one that comes looking for you, and I’m just not seeing that happen.
In the end, Ed, I’ve finally realized that you were wrong; I deserve so much more than you.