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To My Future Self, From the Younger You in the Midst of Depression

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Dear Future Self,

I hope the days since you have written this have treated you better than this one. I hope you no longer fear the way the sunlight hits your face and makes you feel alive. I hope you had some time to help yourself when you needed it and allowed yourself the time it takes to heal. Since you’re reading this in the future, I’ll give you a glimpse into what you were doing when you wrote this.

It’s been a week since you’ve done anything other than go to work and go to bed. Currently, your eyes are in a constant state of swollen from the exhaustion and the tears and you’ve gotten really good at smiling and telling people it’s just allergy problems. The lonely you’ve been feeling isn’t a lonely that’s fixed with love. It’s deep in your heart. It’s in a place that only you know about. For that reason, it’s difficult for other people to know it’s there, which makes it difficult to explain. It eats at your spirit and only feels full when there is nothing left. This type of lonely is tragic, knowing you are surrounded with people who care so deeply about you when caring for yourself seems like the most impossible task. You barely recognize the shell that you live in. You can thank anxiety and depression for that.

Fast-forward and by now, you’ve been to hundreds of hours of therapy. You’ve spent a lot of money on medications and have battled through each and every symptom whether the medications have helped you or not. You cried yourself to sleep or didn’t sleep at all while you wrestled with never-ending thoughts. You lost friends and love interests. You even lost yourself a few times. You apologized for your illness until you ran out of breath as though it was something you could control. You screamed to the heavens for help when you felt helpless. Some days, your heart felt as broken as you believe your mind is. And still, despite everything, you’re here, reading this. I am so proud of you.

I’m proud of the moments you chose to keep going when your mind told you that you had every reason to give up. I’m proud of all the time you took to work on the things that haunted your dreams, even though it was scary. I’m proud of the way you carried the pain of a heavy world on your shoulders and did so while barely flinching. I’m proud of you for owning your mental illness and letting the world know your anxiety and depression do not make you less of a person. If anything, you have become a more well-rounded person because of all of the things you have felt so deeply.

I hope you have started to worry less and the only tears you have are the ones you get from laughing too hard. I hope the only time you are awake when the rest of the world is sleeping is because you chose to enjoy the stars. I hope you feel the love you are so lucky to have surrounding you from people who had every reason to leave. I hope you look in the mirror and love every scar from the battle your mind has put you through. I hope you are kinder to yourself than your mind has been to you. I hope you have learned to love yourself and you know no matter how lost you feel, there will always be an opportunity to find your way back.

This beautiful life was made possible because you chose to live it, and there is nothing more wonderful than reading the story you were brave enough to keep writing. Never stop picking up that pen.

Getty image by Simon Potter

Originally published: March 4, 2020
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