If you’re reading this, you either had the
good sense to open this letter yourself, or someone else noticed you were cracking and
is currently making you read it. Hi. It seems you are currently broken. That’s
okay. We’ve been here before. We’ve gotten through this before. I know your mind is clenched and raw and sore.
I know you got struck by an uninvited tidal wave of intense emotion and you are drowning
in it right now. I know you are feeling lost and lonely and
hopeless and you are terrified and don’t see a way out. You can’t see anything, really.
You can’t see the next ten minutes, let alone tomorrow, you can’t see yourself and
you can’t see others clearly, either. I know you hate this.
I know you just want it to stop, but it’s not that easy. Your mind is a frantic mess
of fear and pain and it takes some time and some work to calm it down and even more to
let it heal. I know you feel embarrassed and humiliated.
I know you wish you were a better human. I know you feel unremarkable and insufficient.
I know you feel small and useless. I still don’t know how to fix that.
What I do know is that the world cannot make you happy right now. So first off, please let everyone around you
off the hook. I know you feel like everyone has abandoned you because no one is here,
perfectly understanding the firestorm that is happening in your head. And at the same
time, you feel awful for not functioning, for being frantic, demanding, and all around
insufferable right now and you have the intense urge to apologize to everyone a hundred times. Don’t. Stop. You need to calm down and deescalate
before you can do anything else. So shut up, remove yourself, go read this
here thing, watch an episode of The West Wing or something, take a nap, retrieve yourself.
And then bake a cake for whomever you cracked on/in front of/around/all over. That’s probably
a good rule for now. Don’t apologize, bake a cake Which brings me to the next thing. Yes, you
are being insufferable right now. But normally, you actually are a pretty cool person to have
around. You care fiercely, you love deeply, you are pretty damn funny, at times even adorable,
and you are smart and weird and in that, interesting and inspiring.
This feels pretentious and false even while I am typing it. But please just don’t go
by what it feels like right now, go by empirical evidence. People have told you these things.
People have told you these things without having any reasons to make them up or lie
or exaggerate. You definitely aren’t the most cheerful lighthearted cool person to
be around at all times. So the fact that people do stick around is a pretty good indicator
that all in all, they really do like you a lot And you don’t keep dumb people around.
So believe them and stop asking for confirmation. Speaking of cheerful lighthearted cool person.
You don’t like yourself right now. And you are the least likable version of you when
you don’t like yourself. So here’s what you do: Forgive yourself. Yeah, you are being pretty awful right now, but if someone you love would
be losing it on you, you would climb up on them, whole-body hug them, and tell them that
they are amazing and that you love them and that it’s okay to break sometimes, because
smart sensitive people suffer very deeply and that’s good but sometimes its awful You need to be as kind to yourself as you
would be to others. So do this to yourself. Sorta. Well, here: You are okay. You are highly sensitive, you
are quite intelligent, and you have a broken brain You get to crack every now and then.
You cannot be on top of it at all times. You You get to be weak. And you get to be sad. Everything
you feel is valid, not because what you feel is actually the truth. In fact, what you feel
right now has nothing to do with the truth. What you feel right now has everything to
do with fear and doubt and worry. You can’t switch that off. But also don’t indulge
it. Depression lies. Your vision is flawed. I know you think you see clearly now and feel
like you are dazed and muddled when you actually have hope and can function. And maybe you
are right. But then the dazed-and-muddled is preferable to being clear. So look for
that. You are passionate and loving and intense.
You are weird and sweet and lovable. You have a tortured soul, but you also carry a blazing
hot fire of goodness inside you. You are much stronger than you think. You are much stronger
than anyone knows. But right now, right here, you get to be weak and sad and lost. I forgive
you. And I love you anyway and because of it Now take a break. Distract yourself with a
movie or whatever. Your mind can’t heal if you keep poking it with a stick. And then this: You want to be better and you
don’t know how to get there. Waiting for better doesn’t work. Fighting for it does.
So move. Dance, work out, go for a walk. Contact someone and tell them they are great. Write,
paint, sing, plant things, read. Look up interesting places to go and go there. Go to a bookstore and
recommend books to strangers. learn how to fold origami elephants, make a bunch of
them, and leave them all over the city. Learn three new words. Wear a hat. Make some
tea. Find that one song that you want to listen to right now. Reorganize your bookshelf, your underwear drawer, your to-do list Plan an adventure. Invite someone along. Make more tea. Turn the music
louder. Dance some more. You can do this. You will do this. Not because
you don’t have a choice, but because holy damn, you got some work to do to fix this
place. This is not a hopeless dungeon. This is your
broken but pretty awesome mind in need of a good spring cleaning and some fresh air. and you are, still and always, here to survive
and grow and excel and amaze the shit out of everyone and everything. And mostly out