A Letter to My Younger Self

Do you remember all those nights you spent crying, but you weren’t really sure why?  Do you remember those days you couldn’t make it to class or to work, but you really didn’t know why?  What about the doubts you had about if you could even bear to continue living—the thoughts you were ashamed to have because you really didn’t understand why they were there in the first place.  Do you remember all of the homework assignments and household chores that you just didn’t finish, and you couldn’t figure out why?  Do you remember all of the times you hid in the bathroom and cried, screamed at yourself in the mirror, punched pillows, and stayed in bed for days at a time?  What about all of the friends you let down, boyfriends you couldn’t open up to, plans you just couldn’t keep— do you remember those?

You thought you weren’t good enough—capable enough to live a “normal life.”  You used to call me awful things.  You called me lazy and incapable.  You called me worthless and no good.  You called me weird—you told me I would never fit in.  You told me I didn’t deserve the life I had because I didn’t appreciate it anyway.  You told me I was manipulative and a liar.  You told me I was a bad person, a sad person.  You told me I wasn’t cool or interesting.  You told me I was fat, ugly, hard to love.

You thought about asking for help so many times.  You tried to find help in high school, but you got scared after one meeting with the school psychologist, and you never went back to see her again.  You were too scared to tell your family or friends—afraid of showing anyone else that there was something wrong with you.  You thought about finding help in college, but you just kept yourself busy instead.  Staying distracted with school and work helped you forget.  You felt good for a while.  Until you didn’t anymore.  You thought about finding help day after day, month after month, year after year.  It took you so long to take that leap.

I try not to be mad at you for waiting so long to find help.  What you didn’t know is that therapy would change your life.  All you had to do was ask for help.  But it was hard.  You didn’t understand.

I am sad for you.  I’m sad for the suffering you endured in silence.  I’m sad for the emotional beating you so often gave to the poor, scared girl who was inside.  I’m sad for the years you lost to depression.  I’m sad for the friends you could’ve had and the experiences you missed.  But most of all I’m sad it took you so long to love and accept yourself.

If I could go back in time, I would hug you, hold you while you cried, and tell you everything will be okay.  I would tell you that there is nothing wrong with you and that you deserve love.  I would tell the scared girl that this is depression; this is not you.

I wish you would’ve asked for help sooner.  But you needed time to find courage.  I see your suffering and it is forever a part of your story.  Your suffering won’t be for nothing; it will help you grow, motivate you to heal, and guide you in your journey to find love and acceptance. Until then, just know that I love you. And always remember—everything will be okay.

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