Dear Lorrie M, (name changed to protect identity)

You wrote to me through social media seeking advice for something that every teenage girl fights her way through, but when I looked at your feed my chest tightened and I remembered being a teenager again. 

In one of your posts it read: "Slit your wrists and cut your thighs. Fake a smile and dry your eyes. Hate yourself and hate your life. Welcome to my world of lies." among others that are concerning. 

Lorrie, I get you. I was once one of those girls who pretended like everything was great. I eventually tricked myself into thinking that every day was brighter than the next until the darkness would overcome my body and soul. Out of the blue, I would feel hatred for myself, I would tell myself that I was nothing. I didn't have my father in my life, and because of his absence, I convinced myself that I was unworthy of happiness. 

My mom was a saint and gave me all the love she could, but I couldn't embrace her love for me because of my self-deprecating behavior.

I would hit myself, I would cut myself and I would hate myself - then wake up the next day and pretend like everything was fine. And the worst part is, I would believe it until something else would trigger me - It was a never ending cycle that I had no control over. 

I remember more than once sneaking downstairs into the kitchen to get a knife and wondering if I would have the strength to go all the way. Other times I would take the metal end of a ruler to my wrist until my skin was raw and the pain subsided. 

Sometimes I wasn't even particularly sad I just needed to feel physical pain or to know I was alive. 

So Lorrie, I get you, but listen to me You are everything that you're supposed to be and as you age you will gain more knowledge and wisdom. You'll notice that everything you are is a gift to someone else in need. 

Something that helped me: You should always do things for yourself but as you're healing do it for someone else. This is what kept me going. I would think of all the people I would miss if I was gone and then I would see each one of their faces and how sad they were. What kept me from going all the way is keeping them from feeling pain. I would lay in bed crying because I felt so bad for burdening them. 

I realized that I would be more of a burden to go all the way than I was to stay alive. So I stayed alive. I did it for them at first, then as time went on I did it for myself. I found who I was along the way and that I was worthy of so much more, even though my father still wanted nothing to do with me. And to tell you the truth, I'm 31 years young and he still doesn't want anything to do with me and that's okay. I have been able to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually while surrounding myself with people who actually care so much more than he ever has. 

I give more than I ever thought I could through friendships, relationships, gratitude, good deeds and sharing my own thoughts and insight in hopes to help someone like you. 

So my advice to you, Lorrie, is to find something that makes you smile, for me it was dance. I would dance my ass off especially when I was feeling upset - it powered me. Do something physical - you can get your endorphins going and you can release pent up emotions when you're sad or angry. Maybe it's swimming, track and field, soccer, tennis... or maybe even dance like jazz or hip hop would be your jam - even playing music or drama could be awesome. 

Just believe in who you are. If you don't have a parent that supports you then find a mentor, teachers or people around you who can be a rock for you along the way. When creating friendships look for people who are positive thinkers and doers. Keep the negative people at a distance. Also, seeking out a counselor at school would be helpful - I did this on multiple occasions.

Just remember nothing is ever worth taking your life. The experiences we have are lessons that we can learn and grow from. They make us stronger and allow us to continue giving back to help others. 

You are worthy. You are enough. You are beautiful just as you are. You can do anything you put your mind to. 

I hear you,

xoxo Kirsten