Mental Health Letter Writing: Dear Pain

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The following letter is an example of transactional writing for mental health disorders. Generally, this type of coping skill is used in conjunction with mental health therapy.

For myself, I use letter writing when I journal, and it has always helped me sort out my thoughts, express my feelings when I feel no one else understands, and often times I come up with some solutions on my own.

Here is my true story.

dear pain peony simple

Dear Pain,

It has been a very long time since you and I sat down and had a talk. I noticed that you keep coming by to see me. I know you are there and I have been trying to just ignore you. Why do you keep bothering me? We have talked about this before. I told you to go away.

It is time for us to sit down face to face.

I know you think I like you. I don’t. In fact, I hate you. Why do you keep coming around? Every time I turn around you’re there lurking around the corner. You stare through the windows when I am sleeping, and hide in the hallways when I am awake. When I am asleep, you seem to find your way into my dreams and play horror movies over and over again.

You crawl under my skin like millions of tiny snakes. You slither your way into my chest, into my toes, into my hands, into my legs, and into my arms. Somehow you sneak your way into my voice and try to suffocate me so that I cannot breathe or speak. My body finally just goes numb and then I cannot feel anything but the throbbing because you keep squeezing me tighter and tighter.

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After you have tried suffocating me, there is nowhere else for my insides to go but out. My chest feels as if it has been pierced with rusty barbed wire. And then my heart is thrust out of my body, exposed, and dangling from a sharp, powerful barb.

My eyes swell with tears, and all of the blood rushes to my head and it feels as if it is going to explode. My heart beats faster and faster and I just cannot catch my breath.

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Now everyone can see and hear you. You just needed all the attention, didn’t you, Pain? When people look at me they don’t even see me and they think I am crazy. They see my tears and I am screaming so loud that they think this is me! You have consumed my entire body and no matter how hard I try, I can not shake you off. You are relentless and won’t let go of me.

Then, as if that isn’t enough, you do everything you can to ruin every relationship I have. No one can even love me because you are always there! You always just show up and I did NOT even ask you to come. People think I do, but you know darned well that I do NOT. Every time I try to love someone, here comes Pain trying to ruin it for me. You squeeze me so tight that I can no longer speak and then you just HAVE to open your mouth and start talking.

People hear you talking and actually think it’s me when it is NOT! You ask stupid questions like, “why can’t you just love me” and “do you love me?” And then you tell ME things like “you are stupid,” “you are worthless,” and “no one loves you.”

And there I am – buried so deep inside of you that all I can do is cry begging you to stop. But no one can even hear me.

I lose sleep at night because I want you to go away. Because if you don’t then the people I care about aren’t going to stick around. They think I love you and invited you into my life. But they don’t know that you have been following me around since I was a little girl.

Photo by Megan te Boekhorst on Unsplash

I can’t keep sitting here trying to explain who Pain is because no one understands who you are. The more I try to explain, the dumber I sound. They think it is just my imagination and that you are not real. I get in so much trouble because of you. Every once in awhile when you aren’t looking, I can catch a breath. And when I do I have to come behind you and clean up your mess.

We have had this talk before. Last time, I told you that we were not going to hang out anymore. But, you had to come back and this time, you made sure that I did not forget Pain was there. You make sure that when I see, smell, taste, touch, or hear certain things that I think of nothing else but you.

As if that is not enough, you try to convince me that it is everyone else doing all of this to me, when really it is you.

People start thinking I am just making excuses and that I am just being emotional. It does not matter what I say or do, they just won’t believe me that I’m not who you are telling me that I am. They say things to me like, “you have to just get over it.” I cry so much that no one will even listen anymore. No one thinks you are real because I am the only one who can see you. You make it feel impossible to get out of bed sometimes or to do simple things; everyone starts thinking I am lazy. You have people believing I want them to feel sorry for me. That is not true. I want them to see that this is not me, it is Pain. I need someone to help get Pain off of me.

I sweat all night because you make me worry about my life. You talk to me all night long and will NOT shut UP! You talk so much that I cannot focus on anything else. You distract me and will not let me even get my work done.

Then, as if things couldn’t get worse, you call all your friends to come over to join in all of your fun. And I hate your friends because they are worse than you. They poke around waiting for you to come out and then when you do, they sit and laugh at me like I am stupid. They tell me how wrong I am about everything, and tell me how inadequate I am. They tell me I am a horrible person and that I am not even deserving of love. And the more I cry and beg you to stop, the more you suffocate my voice. Pretty soon, no one can even hear me. I just don’t even exist anymore.

I have told you before that we cannot be friends. I want my life back. You are trying to kill me and I did not invite you here. Every time you come around you make a disaster out of my life.

I am not going to keep fighting the voices in my head nor am I going to keep fighting all of these lies you tell me. You are not stronger than me. I am bigger than you are. You may enjoy seeing me here lying on the floor bleeding and all alone, but I have not forgotten who I am. You are not going to win this time. You have taken enough of my life. You thought you killed me, but you did not. You may be real, but you do not have the power to control me or my life. I may not be worthy, but it is not you who gets to decide whether or not I live or die

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How you make me feel is your food. The worse you make me feel, the bigger you get and the smaller I become.

You do not get to decide when I breathe and when I don’t. You are going to sit down and listen to what I have to say. And listen real good. I do not belong to you. No matter what YOU believe, you do not own me. I am loveable and no matter what lies you tell me, they are just that – lies. You have done enough damage in my life and there is nothing that you can say or do that can touch me anymore.

I believe in what lives inside of me and what lives inside of me is bigger than you will ever be. It is bigger than your words. It is more powerful than all the muscles you use to suffocate me. You are not more powerful than me. So, I am going to tell you only once. Leave. You have to leave. That is not a choice. That is an order. That is a command. And I do not mean tomorrow. I mean right now. Immediately.

I am going to tell you another thing. I am not the same person I used to be. You are a coward. You have preyed on my weakness for my entire life. Not only that you bring all of your little friends to join you. I suggest you tell them to leave. And do not come back. If I see you, smell you, taste you, hear you, or if I even FEEL your presence around me, I am going to put my hands up in the air and when I do, they will come back down. But this time, instead of being lifeless, they are going to be like burning hot flames and they are going to touch you, set you on fire, and turn you into ashes. My hands are going to tie your friends up, throw them into your ashes. I am going to watch you burn in the same hell where you have kept me your prisoner.

spiritual warfare
Photo by BÜNYAMİN GÖRÜNMEZ on Unsplash

I am going to then walk away. And I am not going to look back.

Do not test me or tempt me. I know what you like. I know what you smell like. I know what you taste like. I know what you sound like. I know what Pain feels like.

We were best friends at one time in my life. We have nothing in common anymore. There is no place for you in my present nor in my future.

I have the victory over my own life. I am no longer a slave to you. You can no longer stay here. Live with yourself, because Pain cannot live here anymore.



mental health
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6 thoughts on “Mental Health Letter Writing: Dear Pain”

    1. nancy.richardson

      Thank you. Letter writing can be a beneficial way to express feelings, and speak to it as if we were going through it. The caveat to that, however, is that for people who letter write about deep issues such as their traumas, it can bring up a lot of undesired memories and intense emotions and can be very triggering – and not in a good way. The benefits, however, are that it also can be a release and give closure. I always recommend someone do this with a therapist. If you are every interested in learning more about it, you can research Gestalt Therapy, specifically narrative therapy.

    1. nancy.richardson

      Thank you for taking the time to read. I have found in my years as a therapist the importance of validating someone’s feelings. I appreciate your kind words.<3

    1. nancy.richardson

      I think emotional pain is something we can all relate to very well. It is just not always talked about. I am happy to hear that it was relatable. Best wishes <3

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