There’s never a wrong time to give yourself, your younger self, what you need. I don’t think it’s ever too late to say the things you needed to hear when you were younger either.
In the midst of confusion and pain after my diagnosis, I wish my younger self knew that everything was going to be okay, so I decided to use my cell phone to record myself having a “conversation” with younger Tiff.
If you need to tell your younger self something important, or need forgiveness for past wrongs, or acceptance of who you are today, or just appreciation for how far you’ve come, this open letter to myself is yours to read.
I invite you to unconditionally love your younger self and all its experiences. Every moment brought you to where you are today.
These are some of the things I wish my younger self knew, things you might be able to relate to.
You just learned that you are now diagnosed with dysthymia. By now you’ve learned that it’s a chronic persistent depressive disorder. Yes, chronic. I know you’re asking “is this really going to last forever?”
But I want to tell you that you’re going to be fine baby girl. You’re going to go through some very dark times to get to the better ones, but you’re going to do great.
I know that you’re sitting in your dorm room wondering “what does this actually mean?” I guess you now have an explanation for some experiences you’ve had over the last few years.
If there’s anything I can tell you though is – be brave and be strong. You are stronger than what you think and the negative things that your mind tells you are not true. You are loved even when you don’t feel like you are. And you are worthy even when you feel less than a penny.
You are so special.
You’re going to meet so many people along the way. Some are not going to understand what you’re going through and it’s going to hurt. Some people are going to act like they care and won’t, but some amazing people will actually care.
You’re going to have a hard time getting a hold of this because you don’t have the right resources, you’re not sure who to talk to, and for crying out loud – you don’t even know what is going on. But that’s okay because you’re going to be fine.
Be gentle with yourself. Be kind and forgiving. Cut yourself some slack because you’re learning. Don’t be too hard on yourself either. You are your strongest critic and that is going to deplete you at times, but you’ll bounce back.
You’re going to live and make some mistakes. It’s from those mistakes that you really have to learn from. Your mistakes are going to shape you to who you are supposed to be, who you are destined to be.
Girl, you are destined for greatness.
I’m really sorry I didn’t love you enough. I’m sorry that I cut you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t know how to love you.
You’re beautiful and so smart.
You don’t realize this but you are where you’re supposed to be at the moment because God has something special for you.
I know these next few years are not the shiniest years of your life, but girrrrl, you are so strong. You’re so resilient. I’m so proud of you for not giving up, even when you wanted to. You kept living, even when you didn’t want to. You’ll learn more about your worth along the way and become very confident.
The best is yet to come, Tiff.
This pain, this confusion is tough and I know that it’s hard to maneuver through your day-to-day life because you don’t know how to really combat it properly. You don’t have the right tools and mechanisms to survive yet and you’re barely making it. But you will get there, you will. I promise.
If you had the opportunity to peek into your future then you will know why all of this is happening. You are going to become such a strong woman.
Grow through the pain. Try to figure out what God is teaching you at this moment in life. Do not pity yourself. Really try to see things in different perspectives and try to learn in situations when you’re uncomfortable. Uncomfortableness means that you’re growing darling. You are going to be adaptable.
Omg…and the things you are going to do. The lives that you are going to touch. Your soul is going to be so pure and radiant with compassion, empathy, and love.
I know at this age, at this time, you’re just not understanding why you have been dealt this card. You can’t see the bigger picture right now and that’s alright.
God sees something in you that He doesn’t see in other people.
It’s not easy but God chose you for a reason. Your depression will teach you so many human traits that the average person will never grasp onto. Your depression will help foster characteristics, habits, and behavioral patterns that will be beneficial to the lives of so many other people.
With all honesty, I don’t know if you will reach your full potential IF you did not have to experience what you’re going to experience.
You’re placed on this earth for a reason so everytime you think about going or anytime you think about quitting, just keep holding on because God has something special planned for you.
There will be people who hurt you along the way, but you’ll gain the courage to stick up for yourself. Eventually you’ll know how to separate yourself from them so you can protect your peace and your soul.
You’re going to discover the strength to speak your truth with the world. You are going to be able to identify your triggers and take care of yourself. You’re not going to feel confused for the rest of your life. You’re going to find ways to manage this in a healthier way.
Are you going to have your down days and more episodes? Yes, yes you will.
Is it always going to take you months to climb out of an episode? No, probably not. You’re going to be good. Sometimes it’ll just take hours or days for you to be okay. But life happens, so sometimes it’ll take longer than that, and that is okay as well.
Remember, it’s okay to not be okay, Tiff.
You’re going to fall in love with your college best friend and he is going to love you beyond measure, in sickness and in health.
You will have amazing friendships. Friendships that you’ll never imagine emerging.
You’re going to be BLESSED immensely.
And you are going to bless the lives of so many people.
Don’t give up please.
You are going to be such a good friend, a good wife, an amazing sister, and a loving and caring daughter, and God willing – a cool ass mom.
You’re going to be an expert in what you do.
You’re going to be a beautiful Madrina and a fun Titi!
You are going to be loved by the right people. You won’t have to worry about those closest to you judging you or not trying to understand you. You’ll get to a point where you don’t care who judges you.
You’re going to be surrounded by people who are good for your soul, nurtures your growth, motivates you, and is patient with you.
You’re going to use your bravery and strength to help others and their lives. You are going to become a mental health advocate and coach. You will help educate people on mental health issues and mental health illnesses. Believe it or not, you’re going to interact with and touch the souls of strangers.
You are going to spread positive vibes and love. You’ll use your truth for good.
You will face battles and wars of your mind and body and you’re going to be challenged. It’s all for a reason though because the Lord wants to use you as testimony.
God wants to use you to help others. God wants to talk through you to help, inspire, and motivate others. He wants to let other people know that they’re not alone.
You are here to remind people battling with a mental illness or mental health challenges that they are stronger than what they think.
It’s going to be okay, Tiff.
I know that you’re going to feel like you have nothing to live for, but I promise that you do.
There’s so much ahead of this dark path for you. Trust the process. Stay true to yourself.
I’m very proud of you, and I love you.
Have you ever wished you could go back in time and tell your younger self something?
Download my journaling exercise to help guide you to writing your own letter.