Letter #115

Content Warning: Depression, Bullying, Loneliness, Isolation, Rejection, Substance Abuse


Hello stranger!


Hope you’re doing well, and even if you’re not, that’s okay. Quite frankly, mental health is a fairly new concept to me, even though I’m 16 now. I’m always learning new things about this topic. I always felt like I stood out in a crowd and never really fit in; my parents are immigrants, and there were a lot of differences between myself and my peers. Physically and culturally. I hated adults who told me it was okay to stand out and be unique or people who purposely wanted to stand out in a crowd.


When I was younger, I was a loud child. I would try to talk to people about my perspectives, about how my culture works. And maybe it was the wrong crowd, or maybe I wasn’t convincing enough, but people I trusted, teachers and peers, would simply write me off as a liar who just wanted attention. Of course, there were people who also bullied me and picked on me for being the odd one out. Perhaps, they didn’t mean anything by it. However, that was really difficult for me. I don’t think I understood how hard that was for me until I was older. Nonetheless, it forced me to be quiet. I wouldn’t tell people about myself or my family. I’d hoped that there would be people who would understand me outside of my school.


Everyday, I’d feel lonely in a crowd. I wasn’t alone, I had friends and frequent crushes, but there’s always been a small part of me that felt lonely. Like, I wasn’t fully understood. Going to school everyday felt like a facade, like a play. I had to fit in, I had to agree with my peers, I had to just nod along and shut my mouth. I hate to say it, but in that situation, it was easier for me. It was less complicated and I didn’t have to face rejection. To be completely honest, it was suffocating. At school, I was the perfect student. Someone who was dependable, trustworthy, agreeable, and smart. Teachers liked me; people would come to me for help. But I was so detached and isolated.


Then COVID hit, I was faced with the reality that I hated being alone. I had my family; they’ve always been so supportive and caring. But the loneliness that I felt at school only seemed to grow. I stayed in and for the first time in my life I was depressed. I was alone with my feelings, which up until then, I had always ignored. Feelings were complicated, messy and annoying.


It took half a year of ups and downs for me to just sort out my emotions. And for the first time, I felt like I could be myself. Like, it was okay for me to take off the mask. I got back into music, writing, running, and painting. Just when I finally adjusted, I was faced with the problem of going back to school. In the first week of eighth grade, my feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and frustration came back. Two years had gone by, and everyone I knew had changed. Not to mention, I’ve known these kids for almost a decade. Some changed for the better, but most changed for the worse. People turned to vaping, drug use, and even alcohol. I felt like an outsider again; people had their own cliques, and I wasn’t a part of any. I’d made some friends and even reconnected with some of my old ones.


High school rolled around, and while the studies became more difficult, so did social connections. Dodging people who were simply dangerous to be around and those who were bad influences. Eventually, I found my group of people. People I could call friends and not have an underlying sense of guilt or annoyance. Friends I genuinely liked talking to and hanging out with. Even though we are all complete opposites of each other, we complement each other well. And for the first time, I can speak openly with them without faking or lying about anything. Friends who stayed with me on my birthday, just to be the first ones to wish me a ‘happy birthday’. I guess a good place to end this letter is with a message to not give up on anything. I know it’s a cliche of a message, but trust me when I say that good things will happen. It might not be what you’re expecting or what you want, and there’s no guarantee of a happily ever after, but there will be people who will accept you as you are as long as you’re willing to let them in. Same with opportunities and chances. Just be on the lookout for them and try your best. 


Cheering you on!

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