A little over a year ago I was attending a partial hospitalization program at a local psychiatric hospital. I've written about it in past blog posts and spoken about it openly with many of my friends, family members, and coworkers. I'm not ashamed of it because it was life-changing for the better. One of the things I started doing because of this program was writing daily journal entries. To be 100% honest I've probably written about 3 or 4 entries in the last few months - I haven't really kept up the habit.
Last year on November 1st, the journal prompt was to write a letter to myself 1 year in the future. I marked it in my Google Calendar to make sure I remembered to go back and read it. The weeks leading up to November 1st of this year were a little nerve-wracking. I couldn't remember what I had written to myself and I know I had some unrealistic expectations for myself at that time. The last thing I wanted to do was read this letter and feel disappointed that I wasn't doing as well as I had hoped I would by this time.
I luckily had a day off on November 1st and carved some time out of my morning to dedicate to reading this letter and reflecting upon it. I decided that I wanted to write myself another letter for November of 2023 before reading the one from 2021. I wrote very specific goals and hopes for the future, all attainable and generic enough that I can meet them in a variety of ways. Once I was finished writing my letter for next year, it was time to read the one I wrote last year.
Thankfully I was kind to myself 1 year prior, writing nothing but positive hopes and wishes for the future. I discovered that I've been really hard on myself this past year, thinking I should already be off of my medication by now (when I may need it forever), that I've failed myself and my husband for not keeping up every single routine I started back then.
Honestly, I'm in a really good place right now. I have more good days than bad days, I have a LOT of coping skills that I didn't have a year ago, and I'm able to live my life the way I want to without having frequent panic attacks or depressive episodes.
I hope that on November 1st of next year I'm doing this well or maybe even a little better. Either way, I can't wait to see what the future will bring. And I hope I can be a little more kind to myself along the way.