“There is so much I want to tell you about the years that are to come and the decisions you will make. I respect every decision that you have made, and those choices have made me the person I am today. “

Dear Aoife,

There is so much I want to tell you about the years that are to come and the decisions you will make. I respect every decision that you have made, and those choices have made me the person I am today. What I want to tell you though is that it will take time before you become confident and find your voice.

Looking back now I would tell you not to be afraid to voice your opinion and what you have to say is important. You spend quite a lot of time over the next few years worrying about what others might think and seeking reassurance about decisions you make. You know yourself well though, and while advice is always welcome and often helpful, you have a strong gut instinct so listen to and go with that gut instinct.

You will have to make some big decisions relating to your health over the coming years. The best, but also the worst of times, are yet to come. The loss of a very good friend will make you more determined than ever to keep fighting and seeking justice for those using mental health services. She was someone you met on this journey but unfortunately did not make it. She will teach you all good things and you will always be laughing in each other’s company. I want you to treasure every moment you have with her.

You will become involved in youth mental health advocacy and you will for the first time feel as though you have found your tribe. You will meet other young people who have the same drive for change as you do and it will be liberating. The lack of resources for young adults with mental health difficulties will lead you (with the encouragement of peers) to develop a creative project. This will bring you many places and you will meet lots of people. The project will benefit you in terms of processing and understanding things as well as others.

You are surrounded by good people who have always believed in you and this is the most valuable thing in your life. The support you receive from others enables you, and it is important to remember that.

You will get agitated and upset sometimes with systems and people and lack of change or support, but it is important to never lose faith, and no matter what, never lose (or be ashamed of) that fire in your belly!

Yours,

Aoife

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