Dear younger Mikaela,

Slow down. Relax. Everything always works out in the end. There’s no need to be constantly worrying about what the future holds. Live in the present because the next few years are some of your best. Even if you don’t realize it!

The leaving cert was never as important as you thought it would be, you’ll soon realize after it that all the tears and fussing was for nothing. You got through it and ended up doing better than expected. You will be so proud of yourself, as you should be! Even though you didn’t get your first CAO choice it all worked out better for you in the end. You’re working a great job and helping people like you always wanted. You’d have worked through a pandemic and finished your final year in college, believe it or not!

I can’t say you will never struggle with your mental health as you get older, but you do take the steps to reach out and get the help you deserve. You gain so much strength and learn so many coping mechanisms to get you through the tough times. You have nothing to be ashamed of and seeking help is a lot easier than you thought. Most importantly, you have the support there to pick you up if you fall down, don’t forget that.

Be careful who you surround yourself with, negative people bring negative energy. Don’t drain yourself trying to please others. Learn to put your own happiness and needs before others and you will excel. This is something that will take some time to learn, but you’ll get there! Surround yourself with people who bring so much joy and happiness to your life. If you’re afraid someone is going to judge you for doing things you like, they’re not your friends. That is something you’ll realize soon, don’t worry.

The friends you have now are incredible. They have supported and encouraged you to do everything you wanted to do. You don’t feel worried or anxious around them and you have so many laughs with them. They are there to offer shoulders to cry on and love you so much. Don’t doubt that, please. You’ll have many nights out with them, sleepovers, and coffee dates. They bring you so much joy and love.

You will lose some very special people in your life, and it does break your heart into a million pieces. You’ll miss them and you’ll cry and it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to cry and scream. Don’t be ashamed of how you reacted, feel your emotions. Be grateful for every person that passed through your life, they are all lessons. Things don’t always work out for the best, but that’s okay. Pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. You’ll look back on all the memories and smile and be grateful for the times you did have with them, even if they’re not in your life anymore. You’ll make amazing friends and you have a  fabulous family.

Speaking of which, family is everything. Stop giving out to your Mam, she is only trying her best. She hasn’t got as much as a clue as you do, raising two teenagers isn’t easy you know! In the end, she is your best friend and your rock. She loves you unconditionally and is always there for you. The rest of your family is the same. They’ll pick you up when you hit rock bottom and they’ll stand by you for everything in life. They truly are so amazing. Never forget that.

Lastly, just remember that everything that has happened in your life, has shaped you into the person you are today. Things may not have worked out for you in some ways, but every door that closed meant that you had ten other doors open for you. You’ll never regret any decision you made and you’ll never regret any of the memories, even the bad ones! You are strong. You are beautiful (even if you don’t think so) and you get through every bad experience in your life.

Lots of love,

22-year-old Mikaela x

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