Mental health is a growing national issue in today’s world.
While activists are starting to bring more awareness to it, some people out there still feel more alone than ever, and are afraid to ask for help.
Here’s an open letter for those of you out there who might be feeling this way. I'm writing because my heart once ached for myself, and now it is aching for you.
To whom it may concern,
Whoever you may be and for whatever reason your heart is broken, please know I have been there.
Now, I'm here for you.
To my old friend, whose parents are getting a divorce:
I'm sorry your mom and dad are putting you through this.
I'm sorry I promised you on your birthday that this would be your best year yet. I had no idea this is what you would end up going through.
I'm even more sorry the guy you love is now with someone else, even though he's no good for you.
I know you wake up every morning with a hole in your heart, and you go to sleep every night wishing you didn't have to wake up.
But I also know you can make it through this. Hang on to every word of affirmation you get.
When you hear a funny joke, laugh until your belly hurts. When your friends ask you to hang out, say yes, no matter how badly you want to say no.
Do the things you love. I promise that eventually, this feeling will go away and things will get better.
But that means you have to take care of yourself, even if it's in the simplest of ways.
To the girl in my religion class, who is so stressed she literally pulls her hair out:
You asked me a question in class last week, and I noticed nothing out of the ordinary. But when you walked into class today, I saw an old version of myself looking back at me.
Your face was red and irritated, and you had pulled almost all of your eyebrows and eyelashes out. My heart ached because I can only imagine how stressed you must have been in order to do that to yourself.
I know you want to stop it.
More importantly, you want to stop feeling like this.
You want the world to just pause for a second so you can get your thoughts together, just breathe and calm yourself down.
You have too much homework. You feel like you're behind in all of your classes.
Balancing all of your priorities just feels like too much right now, and you just feel like you’re failing at all these things.
You feel like life is moving too fast, and you feel like you simply don't have time to take care of yourself.
But here’s the thing: You have to make the time.
You and I both know your mental health comes first.
Please stop taking your anxieties out on yourself. You do not deserve it.
To the girl on my dance team, who just got dumped by her boyfriend of several years:
Your world is literally crumbling into a million pieces.
Getting out of bed in the morning and walking to class seems impossible, but you're doing it anyway.
I saw you smile yesterday and thought to myself, "I know that's a fake smile, but she's so strong for even forcing herself to make it."
I know all of these mundane everyday things are so hard for you right now because your heartache is so strong. But be proud of yourself for still doing them.
It means you're not letting this break you completely.
I know we never talk that much, but if you need to cry on my shoulder, I'm here.
I have no idea why this happens to girls, or why it hurts so badly, but I promise you will wake up one day and realize you came out alive and stronger than ever.
It might take three months or three years. But eventually, you will realize you do not need him to be happy.
I know there is nothing I can say to mend the gaping hole in your heart, but I promise it won't be there forever.
To her boyfriend of several years, who just dumped her:
I could tell you you're stupid for doing it. I could say you will want her back in a month or so, and you made a mistake.
But at some point in our lives, we all play the role you're playing right now.
Sometimes, we get our hearts broken. But sometimes, we're the ones doing the breaking.
I wish you could have realized a long time ago that you didn't love her anymore.
But thank you for not leading her on any longer than you did. Thank you for forcing her to find her own strength and gain her independence.
Sometimes, decisions like this can feel selfish.
But know you're doing her a favor, too. We can't hold on to people out of sympathy.
To the stranger who is reading this right now, and has no real reason to feel so lost:
I know you're probably hating yourself for sulking for no distinct reason. Your grades are good.
You have a happy family, great friends and maybe the perfect significant other. But none of that equates to happiness.
You feel empty inside, even though there are plenty of people surrounding you.
You have never felt more alone.
I have been there.
Sometimes, the darkness can overtake the brightest of places. Please, stranger. Know you are worthy.
Know your feelings matter, no matter how silly or unwarranted they may seem. Know the people in your life care about you more than you realize.
They will be glad to help you if you need it.
But that means you have to be brave enough to tell them.
Do not let your pride keep you drowning in the darkness.
Admitting you need help requires humility. I know you are humble. That's why you're being so quiet.
But please, find help. The darkness doesn't have what you're looking for.
The truth is, the darkness doesn't have what any of us are looking for.
But so often, we find ourselves lost in it. Sometimes we are pushed into it, but sometimes, we hide there for comfort.
Friends, whatever it is that life is or isn't throwing at you and whatever it is you're vying for, know you are worthy.
You are loved and you matter. You will get through this.
A girl who has been there