This is something I've been wanting to say for a long time, but like many things I let it percolate for awhile first. I still don't know if it will come out as coherently as I might like, but here's my attempt:
If I have ever caused you harm, trust me, I remember it. The nature of my psychiatric illnesses means I will never forget it. I don't bring this up as a means to acquire sympathy for myself, but only so those I have truly injured know that I do not carry the memory lightly. I have examined it, dissected it, agonized over it, tried to understand why I behaved as I did.
For many years I reflected the abuse that had been dealt me, hurting others with it just as I had been so grievously injured. Now that I am free of that influence, I look back in horror as if some awful person were wearing my skin, that face stapled haphazardly on over my real one. But I know that my actions, regardless of lessons learned in a crucible of trauma, made others feel lesser. I took from them. I made their hearts hard instead of open and soft. I let rage guide me.
Without that anger I am left with the desire to add something to the people I meet, instead of subtracting. I have made a conscious decision and effort to come from a place of kindness and assertiveness instead of aggression and thoughtlessness. So I hope that now when I extend the following invitation, the people carrying around scars I inflicted know that it's heartfelt: if there is anything left undone and unsaid between us, please send me an email and let's talk. I hope the intervening years have been kind to both of us. Know that I likely loved you, and had no idea how to show it. Know that most of you, I still miss terribly, and that I think of you often and wish good things for you.
Thanks for listening.