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To My Classmates, From the Girl You Didn't Know Was Hurting

I’m the girl who sits in the back of the classroom with my friends, always a huge dopey smile across my face. From the outside, I look fine. Unless I tell you what I’m going through, you will never know. I refuse to let you think less of me because of my struggles.

So, you think I’m happy. What you don’t know is how many times during class I plot ways to escape to the bathroom so I don’t break down in front of everyone. You don’t see the breakdowns that occur when I’m all alone. You don’t know how one fight, mean comment or diss can turn me into a weeping ball on the floor.

I couldn’t expect you to know. That’s not fair.

What I have noticed is as soon as I open up to you, you become a lot nicer. Why is that? Don’t you think we should treat everyone with the same respect and kindness? Does someone not deserve your love because they seem happy?

Here’s a secret. People who look happy on the outside, still hurt sometimes. They still have feelings and their own personal struggles.

The girl in your class who always seems happy can struggle with depression. The person you look to for comfort can have anxiety. The hard part is when it’s not noticeable, so it becomes ignored.

Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

It’s kind of funny actually. Ever since I noticed the signs in myself, I have looked for them in others. It shouldn’t take a label to make us care about each other. Letters and words don’t change what we’ve gone through. They just call attention to it. People can be hurting without having a name for it.

Don’t mistake someone’s tough exterior for a “perfect life.” Don’t assume someone’s smile isn’t followed by tears.

Maybe if we looked out for each other more, we could help each other. So, who are you going to help today?


Your goofy, but hurting classmate.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via shironosov.