This is kind of a scary question because when I thought about how old I was 10 years ago I realised that I was 17 and that my life was starting to completely unravel. I can’t believe 10 years have passed since then and while some things have passed others are still very much with me.
If I could go back in time and have a 5 minute conversation with myself ten years ago, I would say this:-
“Hi Claire, don’t freak out – it’s okay, this is one of those cool time travel things you’ve seen on TV. I’m the future you, 10 years older a little bit wiser and a whole lot stronger – emotionally that is, sorry our body is still weak and ME filled; but you’re, we’re, doing much better than you are right now.
“Things are going to get worse, terrifyingly worse; but the thing you have to hold on to is that you are going to get better, you will improve and the horrible symptoms will ease. Don’t listen to the doctors who don’t believe. Denial is the first stage of acceptance and all that…
“Trust your instincts, learn to listen to your body and stop when you need to. Don’t push yourself because you think you should or just because you want to pretend you aren’t as ill as you are – it won’t get you very far, in fact it will make you a lot worse. It’s a hard lesson and one you are still learning; but we’ll get there.
“Amazing things are going to happen, you are going to go places and meet people who you never imagined. You’re going to be offered incredible opportunities, which you have to say yes to. They’ll be scary and new; but you’ll get so much from doing them that it’s worth all the nerves.
“Things aren’t going to turn out how you expected them – in fact your life will be completely different to how you imagined it; but that’s okay because right now things aren’t as good as they appear. You aren’t crazy, the things that you have struggled with do exist and you’re not the one in the wrong. Time will prove that. You’ll feel bullied and trapped and like it will never end; but it will and life will be better than you ever imagined.
“You are stronger and more powerful than you can possibly ever know and the journey you take will test you every step of the way; but the things you want are yours for the taking, as long as you believe.
“In a way I am always with you, no matter what you go through, calling you on – your own personal cheerleader! I know you can do it because I already have. It’s like in Harry Potter book three when Harry sees his Dad do a petronus and then realises that actually it was him, so he knew he could – oh right you haven’t read that yet – you’ve got a treat to come, sorry for spoiling the end.
“Anyway I just want to say go for it and enjoy as much of it as you can and trust you are never alone.”