If I am being honest, writing you this letter has been quite difficult for me. It’s hard for me to think back on the things that I know you are going through. In some ways, I wish I could travel back and tell you everything you need to know to get through this time a little easier, but in other ways with the help of hindsight, I know that these things end up shaping you into … well, me.
The first thing you must know (that you really haven’t learned yet) is that you are much stronger than you could have ever imagined. I know that you feel like giving up, but you dig deep and find a strength within yourself that allows you to keep going, day by day. And I will forever be grateful to you for that.
I know it sounds like the wrong type of advice, but I need you to stop hoping for a time when you will be “better”. You keep envisioning a time when you will be happy, and all of your anxiety and depression will disappear completely. I don’t want you to be disheartened when I tell you that those things are still with you ten years later, I want you to understand that happiness can co-exist with these parts of you. These things do not need to disappear in order for you to be happy. You will learn that these things are just experiences, not personality traits. You are not a depressed person; you are a person experiencing depression. You are not an anxious person; you are a person experiencing anxiety. There are so many weird and wonderful things that make up the person who you are, so you don’t need to define yourself by these experiences. Happiness will flow seamlessly into your life. It will pop up in the most unexpected places. It actually exists where you are right now too, it’s just a little harder to spot with everything else you are feeling.
While on the subject of anxiety… you will not believe the progress we made. I know you find it hard to leave the house at all, and the thoughts of even traveling down the road alone can trigger a panic attack, but this year we flew to London on our own! And hopefully, by September we will be living in Spain, so keep the faith, we get there in the end.
I am delighted to report that your closest friends are still with you, and I am excited for you to meet all the amazing new ones too. Hold on tight to those who see the REAL you, they become invaluable as the years pass by. Relationships wise… well look, not everything is made to last. Love is hard, and it is even harder when you solely rely on it to come from others. I know it seems impossible where you are at right now, but you will learn to love yourself more than anyone else could.
I’ll finish up with this. I need you to know how incredibly proud I am of you. You deserve so much unconditional love and support, and I am happy to say that through years of working through our difficulties, I am here to be that for you now. I’m thinking of you always. You have been with me every step of the way, and I can only hope that I make you half as proud as you make me. Talk to you in another ten years when 36-year-old Tara can sit us both down with all of her wisdom.
P.s ever think about the possibility of dating girls? No? Cool. I’ll check back in in a couple of years.
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