I was just like you. Normally, I wouldn’t say anything so presumptuous or arrogant, but I was. Not all of you, just the people reading this who hate themselves, who are depressed or anxious, who think life isn’t worth living and there is no way it will get better. People who don’t have any friends, who are being bullied, who don’t have support at home, I was just like you at one time.
I don’t know exactly how you are feeling. This kind of assumption would be insensitive, but I know how I felt, and I bet we have a lot in common. I often felt unlovable and confused.
I’m much older now. Age brings wisdom if you learn from your experiences and face your fears. I love being around young people, often more than adults. Their creativity, energy, new ideas, talents and way of viewing the world is inspiring. They fear what they don’t know sometimes and think they should have all the answers. No one does. Learning is part of growing.
I’m not any smarter than any young person, but I do think I have learned some things that would benefit you, especially if you are struggling.
1. You might not actually want to die.
I really didn’t want to die when I thought I couldn’t continue on. I wanted to feel better. It took work, but it was possible and worth all the time and effort.
2. When you think no one cares, you aren’t thinking hard enough.
If you were not here, you would be horribly missed.
3. High school ends, and real life begins.
You will meet people who aren’t jerks. You can make friends and find love. I’m not just saying that. I know from reunions and Facebook that we find our person, sometimes more than one, no matter what our social status in school was.
4. You are so much stronger than you think.
Everyone is afraid and insecure, even if they pretend not to be.
5. Most people have no idea how other people really feel about them.
They see our beauty, our talents and our heart much clearer than we see it ourselves.
6. The “faults” we hate, most people don’t even notice.
They are too busy thinking about their own lives.
7. It is the unusual, unique and different people who have invented or created things we use every day.
They are the artists, innovators, changers, people who inspire and often the most successful. When you are common, you aren’t threatening. There is nothing for others to be jealous or afraid of. We need more people like this in the world.
8. An enormous number of successful, brilliant, amazing people have been bullied.
They include Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Sandra Bullock, Tyra Banks, Justin Timberlake, President Obama, Robert Pattinson, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Chris Rock, Michael Phelps, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Alba, Tom Cruise, and I could go on for pages and pages.
9. We are all important, and we all matter.
If I were not here, my children wouldn’t be either. I can’t imagine a world without them. It wouldn’t be fair to deprive the world of what you might do or whom you might love or help. It is possible to love yourself and be happy. I am, and I do. I am very loved, and I make a difference.
You can have a happy life too, if you stick around. It may not happen tomorrow, but it is worth waiting for. Please, choose life.
This story was published on The Mighty, a platform for people facing health challenges to share their stories and connect.