Please Note: As today’s featured blogger for More Love Letters, I wrote this for Madeline, a high school student who started homeschooling herself last winter after falling behind in her studies because of her depression and anxiety. Winter is particularly tough for her and she’s really in need of some inspiration that things will get better. More Love Letters is running the 2nd Annual 12 Days of Love Letter Writing through tomorrow (Dec. 14). Join me?
I’m going to tell you a story in the hopes that, despite the fact that I have only half a decade or so on ya, it sparks some hope inside you.
Three years ago, I came close to dropping out of college. Not forever and not for lack of motivation—I had spent most of that semester cramming my small self into a study corral for five six seven hours at a time.
I was depressed. Deep down inside my bones. In the hole in my gut. In my tired fingers as I read and reread the same statistics problems. While every other twenty-year-old was out on the Quad throwing Frisbees in the April sun. I was sinking into myself and focusing on my grades rather than admit that I couldn’t eat anything without straight up feeling bad about it.
So I know what that feels like, when your health comes trampling all over your ache to just be fine just fine. Just be happy. Just be calm.
Anxiety has held me hostage for my entire life and depression almost lost me a semester. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to lose your spark and your spunk and your hope that this hole you’re in? It’s not so big. It’s not so mighty. It’s not doing anything but keeping you from ever seeing the sun.
We worriers and anxious ones like to pick ourselves apart like character traits in dating ads. We think that there is black and there is white and there isn’t any room for grays. We can’t be happy if we’re sad. We can’t be strong if we’ve broken. We can’t be proud if we’ve had to yank ourselves out of school and put our health first.
But that’s what you did, lady. You said, “I’ve got to get better. I’ve got to stick around. I’ve got to start demanding some sunlight when I throw open my curtains every morning.”
And I would hate for you to focus on the rain. I’d hate for you to worry about the snow.
I’m going to say this because I know it well: when we worry, when we’re anxious, when we’re depressed, it’s like we’d rather sit up and see the darkness than wish for light. It’s like we’re afraid to want something better because if we don’t get it, if better doesn’t shine so brightly, we’ll feel worse.
But life is all risk and reward. It’s leaping into the light expecting your shadow not to cover it. It’s thinking about how much lay ahead, how much you have yet to just relish for a couple decades. How many memories you’ve yet to dwell on.
I hope you find the good. I hope you remember the bad and let it make you stronger and I hope you never ever let anyone make you feel bad for putting your health first.
Stay tough. Stay caring. High school is just the beginning. There will be great and mighty big days ahead. And you will smile again. Oh, how you’ll smile.
With Hope & Love,
When are the letters due to the post office? Within one week of today. Address: ___________’s Bundle, PO Box 2061, North Haven, CT 06473