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To the Teacher Who Helped Me When I Couldn't Help Myself

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“But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume? It isn’t easy, but I’ll try.” — Lulu, “To Sir With Love 

To the Teacher Who Helped Me When I Couldn’t Help Myself,

I don’t know if you know this, but I was breaking in the back of your classroom. Being 15 is hard enough, but I was at the lowest point of my depression and I was constantly shaking with anxiety. Sometimes it doesn’t occur to me how much our actions unknowingly effect people, but then I remember the effort you put into not only my education, but into me as a person.

It seems so long ago, but what you did for me stands out clearly. Before you even knew I was depressed, you supported me. I unintentionally withdrew mentally from your class, if I even showed up at all, and you still sought me out. I went from being a honor roll worthy student, to having more D’s and F’s than I’d like to admit. Because I wasn’t used to failing, it made it that much harder to show my face at school. I somehow thought if I didn’t come to class, my less than 2.0 GPA wasn’t real. I didn’t feel worthy of you or your time, so I pushed you away. Despite all of this, you still tried to help me.

Then came my diagnosis. You didn’t show me pity, but instead treated me with dignity and respect. I’m not sure you even intentionally did this, but you validated my pain and acknowledged that what I was going through was real. In a school where you could have let me become a just a face in a sea of students, you never let me feel secluded. You put a name to my face and you reminded me I wasn’t alone.

You noticed things about me I didn’t know anyone saw, and used these things as ways to help motivate me to do my work. You cheered me on during my hardest days and laughed with me on the rare days I felt rain drops of hope. 

I went from being the sad 15-year-old who could barely pass a class, to the ecstatic 18-year-old graduate with a 4.0. This is because of you. I made it through high school because you showed me the love and patience I couldn’t show myself. 

I hope this shows a little bit of my gratitude.

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Thinkstock photo via julief514

Originally published: May 23, 2017
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