1. You will think everyone is against you. Nobody is against you. Your family and friends are a wall and you can choose to think the wall is keeping you in or holding you up. They all hope for the latter. They are confused, sad and scared when you keep trying to escape them.
2. Don’t rely on any one person to keep you sane—that includes yourself. Have a variety of sanity in your life: people, activities, foods, pets, music. Choose as many as you want, the more the merrier you turn out.
3. The victim card isn’t pullable. Burn the victim card. Nobody wants to love a sad girl because she is sad. Depression isn’t a trait; Depression is a disease. If you want to love yourself and love others and have others love you, you must yearn to move past it.
4. Take your time. If you are stressed out, take a nap. Drink some coffee. Hug your little brother. He looks up to you. You need to show him how to live. Late assignments happen, plans can get pushed aside. Put your sanity first. On that note, don’t disregard other people’s emotions. Everyone is desperately trying to stay afloat, it’s bad juju to push others down just to keep your head above water.
5. Your heart will ache over certain people often. It is always about love. How you love those people varies. You will get those reasons mixed up very often. Don’t be afraid to cry about it, don’t be afraid to tell them. It’s okay if they don’t understand.
6. Learn to be alone. Being alone shouldn’t be something you do because you are sad and want to mope. Learn to be alone and enjoy your own presence, words, and thoughts. Learn to people watch. Read lots of books alone in coffee shops. Develop a taste for something: coffee, tea, noodles. Cultivate it and become a connoisseur of it. Always have recommendations on where to find the best.
7. Cry, the saltwater will clear your skin. When you feel the hot tears rolling down your cheeks, marvel at how something spurred by pain can wash away your imperfections.
8. Be a “worrier,” but don’t be anxious. Think about the ones you love constantly. Use them as inspiration for your endeavors and remember them when you are going through struggles. Make sure to send them notes or texts telling them you are thinking about them.
9. Lots of people will whisper words into your ears. Some words will tie helium balloons to your cheekbones and help you fly. Most will spiral down your neck all the way to your ankles and grow sticky vines. Prune the vines every day. They are important vines but you must make sure they stay neat and tidy.
10. Depression will knock on your door every day and wait outside for hours. You will tell yourself each morning that you will keep the door locked but most nights he’ll come in anyways. He’ll invite himself to your bed and try to cradle your aching body. It is important that you squirm away and remember how small and scared you were as a freshman. Hold that little girl tight and don’t let the darkness take her away too.
11. Your body is your vehicle. It lets you run, breathe, sing, jump, scream. Each time you think about ripping your arms to shreds or burning the tips of your fingers, remember how long the scrapes linger. Remember how stiffly your body moves when your center focus is hiding the gashes and how much you yearn to leap. When you want to hurt, stroke your soft skin instead and thank each muscle for letting you stretch whenever you like.
12. If you wake up and find today is not your day, take a deep breath, pull your cat closer and go back to sleep. There are plenty of tomorrows.
13. If someone asks for a piece of gum, and you have a piece of gum, give it to them. Even if it’s your last piece and you were saving it for after lunch.
14. Questions are a vital part of being a human. Ask questions to every person you meet and don’t skimp—start with asking their name and then their favorite color. Most of the time it ends there but sometimes you find out how they were named after their grandmother’s favorite flower or why their mom makes them sad. Believe, truly and genuinely, that in every body there is a soul even more beautiful and perfect than your own. Every experience they had will aid you in your future endeavors. Trade your own as well.
15. Your feelings are valid. Never let any person tell you any different.
16. You, along with everyone you see, are very lost. You will always be perpetually lost. It’s scary to think your path will never be clear and you will always be whacking away branches that block where you want to go. One day soon, you will realize there is no rush to your destination and you will smell your very first flower. Be patient. Your peace will come so soon.