To the struggling adolescent

Subject: To the struggling adolescent
From: Kaitlyn M.
Date: 15 Apr 2020

Dear Confused, Depressed, 12-year-old,
No one has told you yet, but there’s this thing called mental illness. It sounds scary, but I promise you it’s not as bad as you think it is.

You know how you get really sad sometimes and think about dying? Not all people think that way. Those intense mood swings where at one moment you feel like flying and the next you feel like screaming at everybody can’t always be simply “growing up”.

I’m reaching out to you. There’s a whole world full of people just like you and me. We all went through the awful adolescence that is self-discovery. We all wondered why none of our friends had emotions too big to cover up like we did. Some of us suffered quietly. Some of us screamed at the world. Some of us questioned authority at every turn.

We have been there, and we are here.

It’s never too early to ask for help. It may feel like giving up, but here’s a secret.

Only the strongest people ask for help.

The amount of courage it takes to reach out to somebody could fill a colosseum. Happiness starts with one big step of faith. You may not know this, but everybody needs help.

Responsibility is all about doing what you can and asking for help when you can’t.

Like you, I thought my brain was my own worst enemy for a long time. Slowly through therapy and medication, my brain and I learned how to live with one another - and even like each other. One of the most miraculous moments in my life was when I realized I didn’t want to kill myself anymore.

I allowed myself to suffer in silence, ashamed that I may have something wrong with me. It was only when I reached out for help that I started to heal. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. You can start to learn how to like yourself right now.

I had to start treating myself like I treat my best friends. I had to be kind to myself, even when others were not. I take myself on dates. Just me and my brain. We go to the movies, coffee, and ice cream parlors. I have no shame in doing these things anymore. That’s what it takes to love myself, so I’m going to do it.

I’ve learned to like my own company (most times even more than I like other people’s company). I’m an independent person who can get what she needs from her relationship with herself.

So, here’s to you kid. You’re dealing with adult problems and deserve adult solutions. It only gets easier if you reach out for help and put in some work. Therapists and doctors may seem intimidating at first, but the reality is they’re human too and have issues they’re working through as well.

We’re all carbon expressions of a universe experiencing itself. We might have been given a shorter stick than others, but short sticks are great for bursting open pinatas.

Try to take it one moment at a time, a day at a time, or a week at a time. Whatever it takes to make yourself feel good is worth it.

You are not alone.
You are worthy of happiness.
You can get better.

Loving you until you love yourself-
A less confused, less depressed adult.