50 Meaningful Pieces Of Advice From Adults Who Were Depressed As Teenagers
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50 Meaningful Pieces Of Advice From Adults Who Were Depressed As Teenagers

These adults from Ask Reddit share what they would tell the younger versions of themselves as they struggled with depression.

1. I would tell myself to wait for tomorrow. If tomorrow sucks, wait for the next day or the one after that. Even if there’s one great day ahead, that one day could make up for all the bad ones. Stop putting your faith in other people and instead believe in yourself, become your own best friend. You are stronger than you know.

2. College is better than high school. And don’t worry about not achieving milestones “in time”. Who cares if you don’t have your first kiss until you’re 21? Stop putting so much pressure on yourself in life and in school. Take it easy, kiddo.

3. I would tell younger me to try and take things one day at a time, just because one thing goes wrong doesn’t mean it’s the complete end of the world and I have nothing to live for. I’m stronger than I think and no matter what I always end up on my feet and am ok. Not being able to do everything absolutely perfectly isn’t a reason to not try things and hide from the world.

4. The depression never totally stops, but you learn to work through it. Just take a moment, take a breath, and keep moving forward in life. Otherwise, you’ll sit at this terrible dead end job that makes you miserable for 10 or so years of your life. Just keep moving and don’t ever give up. Giving up is the worst, because it allows you to make excuses.

5. I’d tell my younger self not to give a damn so much about middle school and high school bullshit. Life only seems like it sucks because you have no experience and perspective to determine it’s really kind of OK. And all that stuff you feel like you’re missing out on, there’s plenty of time to pack all that in to life, so just concentrate on being happy with who you are.

6. Time will go much quicker than you think and once you leave high school you won’t ever see those assholes again.

7. It’s a lot of hard work, but actually putting in the hard work and not blaming other people or circumstances for my own problems is a lot more worthwhile, liberating and healthy. I would probably say to myself, “The world isn’t against you, you’re working against yourself by being lazy and giving up before you even try and it’s making you miserable. Also, don’t let one person distract you from making a future for yourself and potential family. That person might not be around later, your future will always be there. Also don’t just listen to one side of anything, listen to both sides of an argument, look at all the evidence and make up your own mind and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and confusion.

8. You know when you have the flu and your nose is blocked? It’s such a shitty thing and you realize you don’t even notice breathing through your nose is so fucking amazing until you can’t do it. That’s happiness post depression. I’m not just ‘not depressed’ anymore, I’m FUCKING ECSTATIC because I have something (absolute zero) to compare it to.

9. Surviving and living are two different things. Keeping your head above water is different than swimming to shore. Just surviving isn’t enough. Living is. So live.

10. I’d tell myself to see a doctor and get some antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds sooner. I suffered from depression, OCD, and severe anxiety from early childhood, and everyone just expected me to figure my shit out. I was so skeptical of pharmaceutical treatment that it took me until age 28 to ask for the help I needed. Sertaline has completely changed my life over the last 10 months. Life’s not perfect, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to experience things like a normal person instead of through a filter of pessimism, paranoid anxiety, and low-key self-hatred. I wake up happy.

11. “You’re right kid, life sucks like hell. But you’re alive and can feel pleasure, so wring every last drop of enjoyment and happiness that you can out of this bullshit. To be happy you’re going to have to claw and fight and hold on with every ounce of your being, and it’ll be hard, but you only get one existence.”

12. I’d tell myself to exercise more because that helps and to try drugs (recreational and medical, just to see how it feels to think differently) and let people in. Do things that make you happy/content and if there’s something bothering you confront it or get the heck out of the situation. Dying is always a choice, but not being dead is not. You’re going to die anyway so you might as well see what this life thing is about. It’s pretty fucking great once you know what you like about it.

13. It feels good to realize that the things I was so worried about did not really matter.

I would tell my younger self that, with time and counseling and experience, that I would be happy and it would all be OK.

14. Ignore what everyone else thinks and does and do what makes you happy. Also, medication can work very well if you find one that works for you. I went through at least 5 before I found one that really made me happy.

15. I’d tell myself to start making myself uncomfortable on purpose more often to get used to dealing with stress, instead of running to alcohol and drugs which i did for years. Id probably have a better memory and mind in general if I found that out sooner

16. You don’t need to prove that you’re “over it” by taking on other people’s problems. You can’t fix the world, and you’ll have a better impact being nice and reliable rather than trying super fucking hard to fix everyone’s shit and ending up miserable.

17. Don’t worry so much about girls, worry more about friends. Just because they’re not attracted to you now, that doesn’t mean they never will be. In fact, chasing after a girlfriend so hard is part of the reason you’re having so much trouble, and the girls you are getting up with aren’t the best. Sure, they’ll fuck you, but you can fuck yourself without getting fucked. Stop screwing up your life trying to screw. Focus on studying and making actual friends, you’ll wind up having plenty of sex eventually. You do have friends, and some people like you, believe it or not. Give them your time and attention and it will come back to you many times over.

You are worthy of friendship, of affection, of love, and most importantly of life. Respect your self, and others will follow. Death is permanent and it’ll find you eventually. There’s no reason to rush it.

18. Extreme emotion is a part of life. Knowing your limits is important, but trying to push beyond is just as important. You have food allergies. Life is not going to happen to you. Life is rather like a puzzle piece. You’re not sure what the image looks like, but time forces you to place pieces as you go. Slowly, slowly, an image will form, and it will be because of all the puzzle pieces that have come before. Try your best to make that puzzle the best puzzle you can. Anxiety is fleeting. Control your emotions, take your lumps when you deserve them, but don’t let that hobble you. This life is about trying your best. You will try. You may not reach as high as others but you must try.

19. I would tell myself that when you hit your mid 20’s you’re going to finally realize that 95% of the shit you allow to bother you doesn’t matter AT ALL. I wish I had this epiphany in high school. Reputation is absolute bullshit. Nobody after high school gives a FUCK, including you. Stop obsessing over things that don’t make you a better person. Don’t smoke cigarettes & WEAR A CONDOM.

20. The future will always be scary, but you’ll find some good people to help you through.

21. I wish I could say something that would mean something but I’m still working on figuring it out myself. To everyone out there struggling, try be kind to yourself, take care of yourself and know that people DO care,It may not seem like they care or that they don’t understand but there is people out here who will and want to help.

22. Get mental health services now and deal with your feelings.

23. It’s a struggle, but it’s worth it. Even things that don’t necessarily get better get easier to deal with as you become more familiar with yourself. Depression and anxiety, even suicidal thoughts, have lasted a lot longer than I thought they would and will probably always be something I have to deal with, but they aren’t insurmountable.

One of the best things to come out of it is that I am more compassionate and empathetic with other people. I’ve been able to help people with the same struggles I went through and it’s an incredibly fulfilling thing.

I’d tell my younger self to relax and not try to rush things before I’m ready just to satisfy some arbitrary timeline. I would have done a lot better if I didn’t try to force myself through college with no idea of what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. Take your time. Get your solid footing. Let people who love you help you. Relationships with your family, friends, and yourself are more important than you think.

24. “There are so so soo much things in the whole wide world that can give you Life. Give it time and chance. Don’t dread on your current ‘sad’, ‘meaningless’ and ‘depressing’ life.”

25. If I could go back, I would tell myself:

  • The best moments in your entire life are yet to come, and they are so worth sticking around for.

  • You will end up having a great relationship with your family; it will take work and patience and some time apart, but you will all get there. It will be better than it ever was, even before all of this.

  • One day your big sister is going to need you. and you need to be there. She won’t get through this without you, and you will be the person who holds it together.

  • You are not a burden. Your family needs you. The world needs you.

  • You will follow what makes you happy instead of what you think people want, and you will end up getting paid to do something you absolutely love.

  • You will not suffer like this forever. You will not ever be in this place again. Not without the tools to get yourself out.

  • You won’t believe a single thing I’ve said above, but remember who you are. Remember who you were before all of this – that is the real you. That’s the girl who loves to read, and sing, and laugh, and will always stop to pat a dog and will always take care of the people she loves. Don’t give up on her. That kid is worth fighting for.

As for what it’s like to be here? It’s a choice. And some days it’s a really fucking hard choice. But it is always the right one.

The sun really does always come up tomorrow, there are always dogs to pat, and books to read, and friends to laugh with, and therapy and the right medication to help you remember all of that.

26. I would tell younger me not to make decisions based on the expectations of others. Also, just because someone says no, it’s not the end of the world – just keep trying.

27. I’ve heard suicide survivors describe how the second after they off’d themselves, they experience instant regret. Reality kicks in and they realize that suicide is not the answer. I’m glad I didn’t make it to the point of no return. I’m glad I gave myself time. Things really do get better

28. I’d tell my young self that I’d meet my soulmate and wed get married Young me never thought it’d happen.

29. It’s not you, it’s them. Stop blaming yourself for other people’s mistakes and get on with your life. You are not what they did to you.

30. I guess I’d tell my younger self to get help, get your adhd diagnosed and treated. Get therapy and medication as early as you can. Learn to manage money and think of the future. You might just make it there.

31. It’s ok to ask for help.

32. That you’ll still be depressed sometimes, but you’ll get better at recognizing it and coping. Also antidepressants can be great.

33. If you ever feel like you’re going to end it all, just sell everything, move to a random city, change your name, and start over. If you’re going to end your life, at least start a new one. It’s worth it.

34. If you don’t have someone supporting you, please, get so angry at life that you’re bent at proving everyone wrong. You are capable.

35. At 26 I’ve been thinking the same thought since I was like 15.

“Don’t kill yourself yet.”

Procrastination seems to work really well for me in this respect.

I have gotten to a really high level in runescape, I’m almost done with a BS in electrical engineering, and I’ve been to Niagara Falls where I saw the monument to Nikola Tesla.

I guess what it comes down to is, I’m trying to achieve stuff despite the urge to die.

So what I’d tell my younger self is:

“Don’t kill yourself yet.”

36. Don’t bother with most drugs that’s just a bandaid for your trauma. Save money you’re going to need it for therapy!

37. I’m so glad I’m still here today. I’m about to start my last semester of grad school, I have a wonderful boyfriend, and I have the most beautiful friendships. These past several years have been full of growth, joy, grief, fear, wonder, laughter, passion, grace, and an indescribable love for my people, my career, and this world. Life is a fucking mess that no one understands, but we’ll all die one day so goddamn it let’s live first.

38. You did well. You didn’t give up and you saved yourself.

All those hardships made the strong person you are now, so do not feel ashamed of your past and keep going.

39. I’d tell myself to get on medication sooner. I spent years refusing medication. It wasn’t until I turned 28 that I started taking meds, and it has completely changed my life.

40. It’s important to have bonds, I think. I’m not emotionally close with my parents and in fact they were sort of abusive. But, when I was young I had my grandmother. She loved me so much, guys. And she lost a kid to suicide when he was 20. I couldn’t hurt her again like that.

Shortly after I got married, she got really sick really fast. She’s barely functional and variously “there” or not these days. I used to pray that she would live, well, long enough for me to meet someone else to stay alive for. Apparently, God took that literally.

But these days, I’m happier than I have any right to be based on my circumstances. My wife is healthier, physically and mentally, now, so we can have a real partnership after a lot of problems out of our control. I have pet cats and rescue more by fostering. When the financial problems get awful, I definitely feel anxious, but I know I have to stay.

We both have to play our part in keeping our heads above water. If my wife lost me, she would have to return to her hometown. Since her parents lost their house and moved in with family, that means that she would probably have to live with or at least see often, a relative who seriously abused her for years. I won’t do that to her.

I also try to plan and give myself some treats, however small. A dead person can’t eat their carefully packed lunch or go to the movies or a friend’s party. Can’t hit their Fitbit goals, pet a cat, have sex, or try new things. I spent time in Germany when I was young and really liked Quark . I bought some and will try it for tomorrow’s breakfast, to see if it’s still awesome like I remember and if the Americans can make it up to scratch. If I died tonight I would never know.

41. It gets a lot worse before it gets better.

42. Most of my depression stems from an unstable home life. Now I have my own stable home that I built myself. I still get depressive episodes but for the most part I’m happy.

I think the best advice I can give to teens in depression is that you can beat it, you just need to make your own life.

43. Don’t be afraid. Take risks, take good care of yourself and make smart choices.

44. If I could tell my younger self anything, it’s that she should really stop caring about what anyone else thinks. Also that every single people she goes to school with will cut off communication after graduation, so stop giving a shit about anyone else now.

45. I’d tell my younger self to 1) get off hormonal birth control, it’s what’s making you depressed and 2) start seeing a psychologist, it will make you feel 1000x better.

46. Cliche but… It gets better. There’s tons of sex in your future once you learn to just c h i l l o u t.

47. I wrote a suicide note when I was 12.

If I had followed through with killing myself I never would have:

  • Been the first woman in my family to graduate with a degree.

  • Married my best friend.

  • Had a gorgeous little baby.

  • Traveled solo across the country.

  • Climbed a mountain.

  • Swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

  • Made as many friends as I have.

Life is better when you’re not worrying about what others think of you.

48. Stop trying to get other people (or worse, expecting people) to understand what you’re going through, especially your parents. They can’t and never will. Likewise: other teenagers are not as good for mental health support as you think and they’ll lose interest when their own lives start having things go on.

49. The depression never fully goes away. For me it has been kind of like getting the flu, everything is just great for a record amount of time and then something suddenly sets it off and I go down fast. But as an adult you have a lot more freedoms in your life and tools to deal with depression I didn’t have as a kid. I think the main thing is that as a husband and father I am able to deal with things in my own way and recover in a healthier matter. When I was a kid in my parents house there was an expectation that I HAD to be fine all the time- Depression was a problem that needed solving. Today depression is just another obstacle that I have learned how to deal with in my own way and in my own time.

50. I’d tell the young me not to do anything differently. To become who I am and still continue to become, I had to be her first. TC mark

Image Credit: Elijah O'Donnell

50 Meaningful Pieces Of Advice From Adults Who Were Depressed As Teenagers is cataloged in ,