NHBPM – Dear 18 Year Old Me

(Image via studentbranding.com)

Today’s NHBPM post is a letter to my 18 year old self.

Hi Me,

I’m writing this letter so that you can better prepare for what may happen to you later in life. I know as an 18 year old you may not understand everything I will tell you, and that’s OK. I am being vague in some cases because I don’t want you to live in fear as to what may happen. Because it happened to me doesn’t mean it will happen to you.  What I do want, is to help you make better choices.

I know what you’re thinking right now. You planned to take a year off and work, save money and go back to school. If it’s not happening now, you will soon want to move out on your own. I loved it but I didn’t go back to school. Allow me to offer an alternative plan.

I realized that I can listen to people and hone in on the problem and I enjoy being able to do that. My suggestion is to go to university in another city so that you can live away from home and take psychology or you may find something completely different that you like. I think you will be happy doing it that way. You can live away from home and you’re still going to school. You will have so many more doors open for you and I’m sure you will also grow into a more well-rounded person much earlier than what it took me.

You also have to understand that mom and dad, while having your best interests at heart, will say and do things that are based on their personal fears. Don’t let this affect you and your fears. They only knew what they have been taught by their parents.  Also know that mom will be battling depression. The phrase, “Mom being mom” will be used to describe how she behaves. But remember, it will be due to depression, her thinking back on lost opportunities and opportunities that women of her day didn’t do. Also remember, mental illness wasn’t really talked about when I was your age. It’s being talked about more openly now but is still viewed with fear by many people.

Also, open yourself up to opportunities and be more social. Meet a variety of people. I really enjoy knowing where people are from and listening to their stories. I was such a homebody. Learn different arts and crafts. Take continuing education courses. You like variety. You may not stick with one thing but you will have fun learning.

Make sure you stay in shape. Exercise and eat healthy meals. DON’T do fad diets. This will help you so much later on you can’t even begin to realize it.

The reason I tell you these things is that you may be hit with a chronic illness. Remember how mom had Meniere’s? I have ended up with a vestibular disorder as well but the doctors don’t know what I have exactly so they are unable to offer much in the way of treatment. I’m not able to work any more and having balance issues  and mobility issues are affecting other areas of my health such as muscle strength and endurance. I am worrying about heart disease at a younger age than what I should. That is why I’m tell you to get and stay in shape NOW.

I will tell you that the trigger is a really bad flu. The virus itself was bad and many people were sick. At one point, close to 1/4 of the people I worked with were home sick with this flu. I suspect the vestibular disorder may be genetic (two immediate family members having a similar disorder?). I have been told by different doctors that it is a co-incidence but I don’t believe them. Doctors are very hesitant to say genetics play a part. There is very little in the way of help and research of inner ear disorders so there are huge stumbling blocks for all involved.

Again, I don’t want to say too much about MY illness and don’t want to scare you. I believe in my heart that MY illness may not become YOUR illness if you take care of yourself and stay healthy. You will feel better and probably get less colds and flues. What I do want is for you to take more chances, love more freely, be healthy, go to school, make friends with a wild variety of people and have confidence in yourself. It’s been there all along. Just open yourself up to new possibilities.

In closing, I want you to remember that you have a kind heart and a good soul. Don’t let others tell you any different. There are many people who are ruled by fear, ignorance and misunderstanding. But you do need to prepare for a possible health crisis. I truly, truly believe that if I was healthier I may not be having the problems I’m having now.

I wish for you a lifetime of wonderful adventures and opportunities.

Love,

Me

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J

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6 comments

    1. Thanks. This was one of those posts that was both easy and hard. There is so much that can be said but you have to choose what is really important and what you want the younger version of you to know. Especially when it’s at an age when their whole life is ahead of them.

      This was a great and fun exercise to do.

  1. This is absolutely beautiful.
    I thought about doing this prompt, but the day hit on the wrong day…you know what I mean…but I don’t think I could have given it the justice you did.
    I also would have told my 18 year old self to get and stay in shape, and no fad dieting.
    So much I wish I had known.
    I wasted so much time battling with bi-polar disorder, without knowing what was causing me to act so strange. If I had been diagnosed sooner, I think my life would have been much less traumatic. About the time I finally got all of that settled down, I was hit with Meniere’s

    I hate to think of them as wasted years, but I do feel that much of that time I wasn’t really me.

    Some doctors do think that vestibular disorders are genetic. I’ve heard that a lot about everything lately. I feel like most doctors here are quick to say, it’s genetic. My grandmother had some type of vestibular problem. (they even tell me my hip problems are genetic.)

    We may have issues, but I think we turned out pretty good.
    You are a good person. No one should ever have told you, or tell you differently.
    (me too, but I haven’t always felt that way.)

    wendy

  2. Thanks, I hope you’re feeling better.

    I know what you mean by wasted years. They really aren’t because we were becoming the people we are now. But, some help when I was still in school would have been great. My school had both junior and senior high in the same building and at the time, each classroom was full or a bit overflowing. I did a search and right now there are approximately 1,800 students which isn’t too far from the number I remember (1,500). There were so many students, so many needs and not enough time and people to help everyone.

    And I agree with you, we did turn out to be great people.

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