Compassionate letter #5.

Hello friend.

It’s time for you to stop and breathe.

You’ve got a lot going on, a wedding to plan, a full time job to do, friendships to juggle.

Take a step back and realise you’ve got it all under control.

You’ve made massive progress planning the wedding today, and if you’re completely honest with yourself it’s been really well planned the whole way though, you’ve made sure of it.

Work is what it is, you need a job and although it’s busy and stressful, you are good at it, so have faith and soldier on.

You’re friends don’t require your constant attention and they are there to support you too. They love you and would do anything to ensure you are happy and healthy.

Take a step back.

Breathe.

Focus on the positives.

You are doing well.

Everyone has set backs, you can work through this.

Stay strong my friend.

With love always,

Your compassionate friend. 

Compassionate letter #5.

Compassionate letter #4

Hello old friend,

How are you doing?

How is your sister?

She will get better you know, I promise you she will.

I know you are worried about her but you can’t let it rule your life. You need to remain healthy if you are to be of any use to her.

Look after yourself and then you can help to look after her, and the rest of your family. Supporting your mum and dad at what is a challenging time.

Don’t do too much though. It isn’t your responsibility to look after everyone, as much as you think it is. They just need your support, you don’t need to do every little thing for them, they are adults too.

Make time to do what you enjoy and have a break from all the worrying.

It takes time to recover, you of all people know that, given the journey you have been on yourself.

Have patience and good things will come, she will get better, and she will thank you for any support you gave her, she will understand that you couldn’t be there every day, and she will appreciate that you did what you needed to in order for you to remain healthy too.

Don’t be hard on yourself, I know it’s difficult to see someone suffering when you can’t do anything to help them but other people had to do the same when you were ill and you don’t feel resentment towards them for not finding a magic cure, so she won’t feel that towards you. 

You are doing all you can.

Stay strong and look after yourself and everyone else will follow.

With love,

Your compassionate friend. 

Compassionate letter #4

Compassionate letter #3

So the basis behind this letter is that my sister is in hospital and has been since before Christmas, when she was first in I saw her nearly every day and even had time off work to go and visit her, since then I found my own mental health was suffering as a result of the pressures of visiting someone that is so unwell (she had a physical illness but it has now manifested into a mental illness where she is very out of touch with the world and what is really happening).

For over a week now I have not seen her and although I felt immense guilt at first, people around me have encouraged me to take a step back and focus on myself because she is so unwell she isn’t even fully aware that I am actually there.

However, yesterday someone told me that I should be visiting her because she is my sister so I owe her that, now my feelings of guilt have returned so this letter aims to challenge the guilt I am once again feeling.

Dear Friend,

You have no reason to feel guilty, you were there right at the beginning and took on a lot of the pressure of the situation. You did things that should have been the responsibility of your parents, but you took on that role. You were there for her, supporting her, managing to get her to eat and take her tablets when she wouldn’t for anyone else.

Then you started to suffer, your mental health started to go downhill and you must put yourself first. You can’t care for someone if you aren’t caring for yourself first. You have seen the quote that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and it’s true, you need to be well and healthy to fully help her recover.

You have done so much for all of your family over the years and they appreciate everything that you have done, and you should know that they don’t expect it of you, it is you yourself that puts unnecessary pressure onto yourself.

Most of the people around you agree that you are doing the right thing in taking a break from the situation and becoming less involved

Don’t let the words of one person ruin all the progress that you have made.

I promise you, you have nothing to feel guilty for.

With love,

Your compassionate friend.

Compassionate letter #3

Compassionate letter #2

Dear Friend,

Today you saw your psychiatrist and he told you something you didn’t want to hear; he told you that it will be 2 years before you can have children, and this hurts you because you would love to have a family now.

I’m here to tell you not to worry. Things will be ok. Sure it’s not the way you wanted it to be and it goes against the things you had planned in your head but not everything goes to plan; and sometimes you get things that you want that were never in your plan.

Just take a look at your life, you are 24.  You are getting married in less than 3 months; you didn’t imagine this would happen so early. You have a mortgage; you didn’t expect that so soon. You have a man that loves you unconditionally and would do anything to please you; bet you didn’t see that one coming either.

See plans are all well and good but if you try and plan every detail of your life then you won’t ever have any amazing surprises and life would be boring really.

So many things have happened to you unexpectedly and many of them are great things.

You are young and you have a good job, a car, a house, a strong support network, and good friends.

You go on fun little holidays and do things that you never dreamed you would dare to do.

Remember when you went to Devon and you went bike riding around the forest; you are scared of biking normally, especially on such rough terrain, but you did it. In the same week you did a tree top obstacle course when you are scared of heights. You can do these things and take risks and enjoy yourself right now, you don’t have someone that is relying on you at this moment in time so it’s easier to be carefree.

You can stay up late with your partner and watch rubbish films, you can sleep in until 12 on a weekend, you can go out and get stupidly drunk and not worry about it.

These things might not be possible when you do have children so you need to enjoy them now.

2 years may seem like a long time but you need time, time to recover, and time to enjoy life, time to prepare for the challenges ahead.

It will be worth the wait and if you fill you that time with fun and love and make great memories then it certainly won’t be time wasted.

Then when the time is right you will be in a much better place with many amazing memories to look back on and to build the rest of your life upon.

You will be a mum one day, and you will be a great one.

Have less fear, enjoy your life and the people around you and use the time you have in any way that makes you happy.

Be spontaneous and crazy and do the things you never thought you would dare to do because one day those doors won’t be open anymore and you will regret missed opportunities.

You are strong, don’t take this as a setback, it’s just the first step on this journey, you asked the question and you got the answer, now take that advice and do what you need to do for you for now.

Enjoy yourself and in a few years you will have what you wish for and will be glad for the time you had for just you and your partner, you won’t have this time again.

With love,

Your compassionate friend.

Compassionate letter #2

Compassionate letter #1

Dear Friend,

So today you went for a wedding dress fitting, how exciting. However, your dress was a bit tight. You’ve gained weight and this bothers you. A few people have commented on this fact and you are feeling down about it.

Well don’t.

Everyone gains weight, especially over Christmas, and you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Your fiance still loves you and wants to marry you regardless, and let’s be honest, the dress fits, it’s just a bit tight.

You are a lovely person and your weight does not define you, the great things you do are what you should think about when you are full of self doubt and lacking in self confidence.

Your therapist has told you that after Christmas your weight will stabilise again and you will lose those few extra pounds that you have gained.

Don’t beat yourself up over this, it is a minor thing and most people won’t even notice that little bit of Christmas weight.

Always here for you, with love,

Your compassionate friend.

Compassionate letter #1

Self compassion

Having compassion for yourself is incredibly important, you should treat yourself the way you would treat other people and your inner dialogue should give you the support that you would extend to other people in hard times.

I lack self compassion.

Nothing I do is ever good enough in my mind and I take on the blame for many things outside of my control.

My parent’s divorce, my fault. My own downward spiral, my fault. My ex cheating on me, my fault. My sister getting poorly, my fault.

But it’s not really my fault, in fact not even close. My nurse told me that if I really had the power to control these things then I would be some kind of higher being with incredible power, and clearly I am not.

My therapist has been working with me on self compassion, she has helped me create an imaginary figure that provides a compassionate voice in my head – my compassionate friend.

I had to imagine someone with all the qualities you would want in a caring and compassionate friend. The image that came to my mind was the big blue monster from monsters inc. Big and caring and soft and friendly. Someone I can rely on to care for me when I really need it.

She told me that when I’m in a situation where I need a supportive inner dialogue that I should turn to my compassionate friend; close my eyes, go to my safe place and call upon my big blue monster.

I am also encouraged to write myself letters from my compassionate friend to help me deal with my anxieties. When something goes wrong and my anxiety takes over I need to take a break, give myself some space, grab a pen and paper and let my compassionate friend answer my questions in the way I would answer them if I was on the outside of the situation.

So I am going to use this blog to write my letters from my compassionate friend.

A place where I can save them for myself to read them over again, and a place to share them for other people to see that it’s ok to have a bit of compassion for yourself.

It’s ok to struggle and it’s ok to feel down and anxious, this is normal; but it’s also normal to look after yourself and your mental health and to talk yourself through your feelings and come to a conclusion that is detrimental to yourself.

Self compassion