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.

The Mighty is asking the following: Were you diagnosed with your disease, disability and/or mental illness as an adult? Tell us about the moment you finally got your diagnosis. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Woman sitting on the grasses with city skyline in background

When I Stopped Telling My Anxiety to 'Shut Up,' and Started to Listen

Anxiety is its own language. I finally came up with this description after repeatedly being asked, “What do you need?” during a panic attack and being unable to answer. Anxiety is a foreign language to those suffering from it and those around the person with it. In the moment, I have no idea how to [...]
chalk drawing of a colorful question mark

17 Questions to Ask Yourself After Experiencing Trauma

For PTSD Awareness Month, I couldn’t be more excited to bring some education and truth to the subject. Most people are unaware of what it is exactly and reserve the diagnosis for those in the military coming back from war. And even then, it is hardly talked about and treatment is rarely sought because it seems “weak.” [...]
Closeup portrait of despaired young man covering his face with hands.

When Your Children Grow Up in the Shadow of PTSD

It has been almost five years since my husband was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a lot of ways, it feels like a lifetime. For our children, it has literally been their lifetime. What do they remember? I knew my husband for nine years before his official diagnosis. However I really only knew my [...]
Monsters in forest

Trying to Understand the Monster That Is PTSD

“I’ve been having a lot of nightmares.” “Do you feel like you’re having flashbacks?” “Yeah, I’m scared.” “Have you ever heard of PTSD? I think you might have it.” This is something like the conversation I had with my therapist the day she diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of course, it was more than nightmares. It [...]