Christina,

I know you’re going through some stuff right now. And I know you don’t know how to take it, what it all means or what the future holds for you.

I know you feel lost and scared. Hopeless and weak. Tired and angry.

I know you’re being bullied by every kid in 8th grade. In class, in the hallways, in the locker room, on the bus and even online. I know you don’t know what to do, and I know it’s wearing you down. You’ve tried standing up for yourself, but it only gets worse. So you stay quiet and let them call you names.

I know they make fun of your clothes, hair, appearance and choice of music. They call you a goth and a lesbian. They tell you you’re ugly. And you believe that every word they say is true. You believe it’s a reflection of who you are.

But it’s not. It’s not even about you. It’s about them. And their words say more about them than they do of you.

I know you don’t know who you can trust and that you feel like the world is out to get you. Your teachers, guidance counselor and even your parents — the people who should have your back — are turning against you. At least that’s how it feels.

But I want you to know they’re only looking out for you. They want to help you. Maybe they’re not going about it in the best or right ways, but they’re trying. Let them in, and let them get you the help you need.

I know you’re spending a lot of time crying in the school bathroom and in your room because your grades are slipping, you don’t have friends and because everyone has an opinion about you. I know you have scissors in your purse and that you practice dragging it across your skin — imagining what it would feel like to make the first cut.

I know that you finally give in and press those scissors into your wrist. I know it gives you peace, but I also know it’s only temporary. And now you’re left trying to figure out how to cover these wounds and keep people from noticing.

I know you think about ending your life. That you believe your life isn’t worth living and that the entire world would be better without you in it. I know you believe that this is how your story ends.

But I’m here to tell you that what you’re feeling today isn’t forever. And that despite how awful you feel, it’s only temporary. It does get better. I promise you that it will.

I know you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. And I know the sadness and anxiety are crushing you. You’re drowning in the weight of your emotions. I know you’re hurting.

But I need you to keep going. I need you to believe that it won’t be like this forever. I need you to dry your tears, take a breath and to put one foot in front of the other. It won’t be easy, and you’re going to want to give up. But please, Christina. Don’t do it.

I know you don’t think you’re going to make it to your 15th birthday. I know you don’t even want to.

But I want you to fight like hell. Don’t focus on tomorrow. Just focus on getting through today — hour by hour. Minute by minute. You are stronger than you believe, and I promise you can get through anything. You just need to believe in yourself.

I know that you don’t know what to make of your diagnosis. And I know you think this is the end of the world.

But I want you to know that you are more than your diagnosis. You are stronger than your depression and anxiety. Although it seems like the end of the world right now, it’s this very moment that’s going to change your life. And it’s going to make you stronger.

Because Christina, my dear, you are a fighter. A warrior. A badass.

And no matter what anyone in this world tells you, you are enough.

You are worthy of the help you’re given. You are worthy of recovery. You are worthy of better and brighter days. Because trust me, there are many of those ahead.

You deserve every good thing in this world, and I never want you to doubt that. Not even for a second. Don’t ever let anyone walk all over you or make you feel inferior.

Don’t take no for an answer. And always stand up for what you believe in — even if your voice shakes.

Encourage people to admit they’re not okay — but don’t forget to do the same when you’re hurting. Because there will be days when you hurt. Days when you can’t get out of bed and you’re convinced that you can’t make it through another day. But you can, and you will. You always do.

Be an advocate for the mental health community. Don’t be afraid to share your story. Despite what you’re feeling today, depression and anxiety are nothing to be ashamed of.

You. Are. Not. Broken.

You have so many wonderful things to offer the world, and you’re going to make an impact on the lives of so many people. You’re going to be a friend, a shoulder to cry on, someone they can confide in when they feel alone.

You’re going to take all these struggles and grow from it. You’re going to chase your dreams and create a beautiful life for yourself.

And while you’ll always carry your depression and anxiety with you, one day, you’ll realize that it doesn’t define who you are. It’s part of you, but it’s not all you are.

You are beautiful, smart, creative, kind, friendly, selfless, humble, driven, strong, inspiring and passionate. But most importantly, you are a force to be reckoned with.

And you are going to change the world some day. I just know it.

Love,
Your 27-Year-Old Self