Dear Self…

Hey there little guy. You look pretty full of promise right now. You are at an age where the ability to live ‘in the moment’ comes naturally. All of those years ahead are of no concern to you.

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School is ahead of you. It has its good points. You’ll discover writing and art. Bullies suck and there are plenty of them at your high school. You’ll meet some great friends. Some of those friends will still be by your side when you are 42. You’ll learn some stuff, including how to calculate the missing angle in a triangle (just in case you ever see one that is missing), a second language (that you’ll never use),

You’re a happy introvert. No one is ever going to teach you about being an introvert, so for a long time, you are going to aspire to the extrovert ideal. This will make some of your teenage years tough. You will find yourself aspiring to be something that you are not. I wish I could tell you right now, what your strengths really are and make you happy to be yourself. It’s a long and slow lesson. One that I cannot help with.

“No one is going to tell you that things can go wrong with your brain.”

Acne is on the way. It sucks, but it will get sorted out. The real doozy that’s on the way is depression. No one is going to teach you about this. No one is going to tell you that things can go wrong with your brain. Your stomach – yes! Your heart – yes! Your tonsils – yes! Your teeth – yes! But no one is going to mention the brain. Only ‘crazy’ people have problems with their brains. WRONG! The first few times you encounter depression, you aren’t going to know what the heck is happening. You will know that you are unhappy and that you want this to change. You will experience it like a puppy living in the moment with no concept of what is going on. During these times, you will view life through an altered perception. You will make significant life changes. You won’t understand it. People around you won’t understand it. Many of them will try to help. Some of them will make a difference. Depression will go away, but it will come back.

Eventually you will find people that understand. People that will stay by your side during these tough times. They will help you to learn about what is happening. You will find ways to control and even prevent your depression. Medication will help. You’ll meet some wonderful doctors, some amazing psychiatrists and counselors. You will learn much, but much of it you will learn the hard way. Perhaps it is the only way.

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“You will learn much, but much of it you will learn the hard way. Perhaps it is the only way.”

So right now, hug the daylights out of that cuddly panda bear. Make the most of that thick auburn hair (it’s here for a good time, not a long time). Reassure your family that you love them and then buckle up because it’s going to be one hell of a ride. The battle is inside, so not everyone will see it, but you are going to live every second of it. Good luck. I don’t know how it ends, but I can say that at age 42, things are looking pretty good. Well, even better than ‘pretty good’, but let’s not tempt fate.

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