To My Undiagnosed, Teenaged Self: Your Life Matters

Could I have stepped back and fixed you? The darkness was so unnavigable back then. When you crashed, I would have caught you, held you up against the falling world.

I could have stopped you from holding that razor blade, that bottle of pills or kept you from the edge of the bridge. When those around you misunderstood your actions and your strange comments, could I have stepped in and helped them see that anxiety, depression and mania had taken over your life? When the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) raged through your psyche and the authorities kept putting you back in the same, harmful situation, could I had found a way to stop the homicidal thoughts and calm your mind?

You would have seen there was hope. You would have seen there were people you could have reached out to for help. You would have seen the light in the distance and known it would take a little time, but you would get closer.

Of course, there are things you would still show me. How to bounce back from a beating, hide the bruises and go on with life with no one knowing. Some would say you were good at hiding, but you would say you were strong and invincible. You would remind me how to twist the manipulation and turn the situation around to benefit you. I, of course, would need to remind you of how it can be done without hate.

Suicide was ever present for both of us. No amount of therapy has drawn out the answer as to why this is still so. It was the only way, the only way to stop the raging in your head. Though the odds are way down, it could still happen. You would throw my own words back in my face, “Your life matters.” Unlike all the others in our lives, we would believe each other.

If you or someone you know is being abused, there is no excuse. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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