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What I Want to Tell Myself as Someone With Depression

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Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know you hate all that music on the radio and how everyone sings along to it to perpetuate values that aren’t important to you. You have your records and decades of other music to listen to and discover. Find the words and melodies that echo your soul and get lost in them.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know you probably feel weird because no one seems to like the same things you do. I know you hate being the only vegetarian at a 4th of July barbecue. I know you would rather read or draw or go outside on the weekend when all of your friends are at the bar, and I know this only makes you feel more alone. Remember those years you spent asking Captain Morgan and Jose Cuervo to solve the problems of your pain and they never had the answers. It’s OK to not go back there.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know it feels like everyone has their friends already and maybe you somehow missed out. I know you might think you’re cursed because you have never known anyone for more than five years. I know this does not make you want to make new friends, when you are always expecting them to leave. Think of all of the people you know now and try to realize these ones are here only because you have been your true and honest self, and something in that, dear Jess, makes you lovable.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know society is trying to tell you what you need right now, and you probably feel pressure to make them happy. I know you would never give in, but I also know that makes you feel like you’ve disappointed them. I know your Facebook feed is filled with everyone getting married and having babies. It’s OK to not want that right now, and that doesn’t mean you can’t have it later. Right now you are meant to explore and create. There is still time to be a mom. I bet you’ll be a good one.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know you probably feel stuck doing the same thing day after day. I know the walls of your cubicle are horribly dull and the roads on your commute feel like they’re printed on the backs of your eyelids. There are still some adventures to be had. Go get lost in the woods. Find new trails and mountains and rivers. Nature waits for you and is always ready to take you back. Think of all of the cities you can travel to, all of the different ways of life you can experience. This way is not the only way.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know you might not feel like there is much in this world you are told to do and it leaves very little space for what you want to do. You can do anything. Remember the time you learned to knit a sweater on youtube, the time you biked across the golden gate bridge even though you were terrified of bridges, when you went skydiving when you were afraid of heights and decided to run a marathon when you didn’t know you could. There is still time for the parts of life that bring you joy. I hope you get more of them.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know the headlines you read weigh heavy on your shoulders. I know the ache of the world and the condition of the human race shake you from your sleep at night. I know every murder, earthquake, lie, deception, famine, virus, war, exploitation and tale of corporate greed make you feel like the darkness is winning and you question why you should stay in a world so clearly filled with so much hate. Remember there are people fighting for the side of love as well. You know some of them. When you feel like the only fire in the night, remember the light you have seen in others and how it spreads.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know of all the pain you feel when people come and go. I know you usually never feel prepared when a chapter has to close, or recovered when a new one decides to start. It’s OK to hold those memories. Try not to be angry at them, for they were beautiful while they lasted.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know it feels like you’re trying to move a mountain one pebble at a time. I know you are strong enough to make it even though you are so exhausted. It’s OK to stop and rest. The day will come when you will see all of the effort was worth it.

Dear Jess, don’t go.

I know that after all this time finding your voice, and the courage to use it, feels like you are screaming for help and no one can reach you. I know it feels like clinging to the scraps of your life boat in the middle of the storm, but the days have come and gone and when you thought it might pass, it hasn’t.

You are not alone.

Other people feel this way too.

Tomorrow will come, and one day it will be better.

I promise.

I know you count the thousands of days you have wanted to say goodbye, and every day you have chosen to say hello.

Please Jess, please don’t go.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

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Originally published: April 23, 2018
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