The other night while I was back in North Carolina at my parents’ house, I couldn’t sleep, so I started going through my bookshelf. I found an old journal that I used to write in all the time when I was in high school. I started flipping through all of these things I had written back in 2012 and I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or to cry.
There were so many horrible things I had written. I was definitely nowhere near the person that I wanted to be. I was hypocritical and judgmental. I saw people who were different than I was as strange or not welcome. I was completely ashamed of who I was and I hated myself so much that I projected that hatred onto the people in my life. Not only did I write things about my life that I am humiliated to read now, but I was so saddened by how bad my depression and anxiety was and I didn’t even realize it.
I had written so many things about how sad I was, or how I couldn’t get out of bed on the weekends. I wrote about how anxious I would get in crowded places or at school. For some reason, I had written these things in a journal rather than expressing to someone that I had a problem. It makes me think what could be different now if I had gotten the help I needed back then.
On the other hand, there were several things I had written that made me laugh a little. I was worried about the most ridiculous issues. I swore that if I moved away I would never make friends. I told myself that I couldn’t survive on my own. I told myself I couldn’t even get into any colleges other than those in Louisiana. I laughed because all of this was so, so wrong. The funniest part was that I never even mentioned the University of Michigan. Not once. This place had clearly never crossed the mind of 2012 anxious Sydney. Little did she know that this place would become more of a home than what she considered home then.
I turned the last scribble-filled page to a clean, empty page. I began to write my little sophomore in high school-self a letter – a really long letter.
You will find a place where you belong.
You will make the most incredible friends in the world once you leave.
Leaving isn’t nearly as scary as you think it is.
One day, even though that day is not today, you are going to feel better.
You are getting help. You have an amazing support system that won’t abandon you like people are doing to you right now.
High school is 1000% percent not the best time of your life. This is not the peak in any sense.
Those people who are putting you down because of your beliefs or your looks or anything – you are going to escape that. You are going to find a community that accepts you for who you are and what you live for.
You don’t need to change the entire world. You can change the world around you by helping and inspiring the people in your community.
You are going to be so much happier one day. You are going to find your passion. You aren’t going to be so lost.
You’re going to make it.
“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald