By Annabel Harvey
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
If you are battling mental health, or you’ve cared about someone who has, then you’ll know how hard it can be to look upon the future with positivity. The lack of ability to construct a future can cause the mind to wander to dark places.
In 2013, 6,233 suicides were registered in the UK. Personally, I’ve never lost a friend or family member to suicide but I often think of my favourite writer, Sylvia Plath, who killed herself in 1963 when she was 30.
“I decided I would spend the summer writing a novel.
That would fix a lot of people.” -Sylvia Plath.
I wonder what her life would have been like if she’d kept living. Would she have been able to recover from her depression? Would she have gone on to write another novel about her recovery? Could it have been even better than her first novel? Could she have fallen in love again, whether it be with life, another person or herself?
When I think about her death, it makes me wish I’d been alive when she was, and I would have written her a letter. Maybe she wouldn’t have cared what I had to say, but I would have said this:
In your novel you write about feeling trapped under the metaphorical bell jar. For someone I’ve never met to perfectly describe how I’ve felt in my life, and know I’m not the only one who feels this way- it makes me feel that there are people out there who understand, and it makes me feel less alone. I beg you to keep on living, not only so I’m able to read all of your future works, but also because you deserve happiness.
My letter to everyone else is this:
There’s so much potential for your future, even though it can be hard to see at times.
You could see your siblings grow up. You could get a pet. You could graduate university. You could learn to drive. You could get a job. You could get a promotion. You could read every single Harry Potter book until you practically know it page to page. You could get married somewhere under a blue sky. You could have children. You could wander around a city alone with no map and speak with strangers. You could forgive anyone who has hurt you and forgive yourself for hurting others. You could sit in your favourite bar with your best friends week after week and still never get bored of their company. You could see your favorite band live. You could tell someone that they are brave or smart or kind. You could sit by a fire in a log cabin tucked away in a forest somewhere whilst there’s snow on the ground. You could go back to your favorite place. You could fall in love. You could fall in love again.