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The 3 Words I’d Tell My 15-Year-Old Self to Say

Dear Joe,

Amazing as this might seem, I’m you, from the future. Now once we get over the shock of the concept, let me tell you why I’m writing to you today. This Christmas Eve you decided to make a pretty drastic decision, and the aftermath is still happening as I write this to you.

Honestly, Joe, your life so far has, how can I put this… sucked. You’ve been in love, married, separated, been in love again, lost loved ones and lost personal processions, but there is one thing you haven’t lost through the years and the setbacks: You still have yourself. “Yourself” is one thing that no one, and I mean no one, can take away from you.

It was around your age now that things started not to seem right. You felt like you were different from other people in your school. You might keep your feelings to yourself, but I know you’ve been having thoughts about hurting yourself. I know you don’t want to tell anyone about these thoughts because you’re afraid of what will happen. I’m telling you today: Don’t be afraid. There are people out there that want to help you and will offer to help you.

All you have to do is say, “I need help.”

I know it’s hard to accept help at your age. Our family did not accept mental illness, these topics would never be discussed among your grandparents and you would never want to tell this to your mother. You have to. You have to put aside the fears of how “family” will react and take care of yourself. You are the one that matters the most — not your mom, not your grandparents. You need to worry about you.

I don’t want you to think that everything in the next 19 years of your life is entirely bad. You became the first in your family to graduate from high school and the first in your family to enter college. You were once able to put aside your fears to attend and pass classes to become an emergency medical technician (so what if it took three tries?).

The final thing I want to impress upon you is that even though you have had setbacks in life (I’m writing this now from the psych ward of a hospital), you still have dreams. You’re going back to school! I know at 15 you’re not even thinking of this right now, but you will accomplish your dreams, a little at a time.

Good luck! I’m here for you!

The Mighty is asking the following: Give advice to someone who has just been diagnosed with your mental illness. What do you wish someone had told you? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.