Monday, 12 January 2015

A letter to my 16 year old self

Letter to my 16 year old self

Dear Hannah,

I know how much you're suffering right now and how bad you feel - I understand, I really do, in fact I'm the only person that does fully understand. But you have to believe me that it won't last forever. A couple of years from now you'll be the happiest you've ever been in your life and will feel carefree and healthy. You're so ill right now and you're really confused about it, but it's depression you're suffering with and that's okay. Stop pushing people away to 'protect' them and let them try to understand what you're going through. Let them give you the support and care you need, and help you on your road to recovery - especially Mum, she's so worried about you and will help you so much in the future - so will the rest of your family. You will get there and I'm so proud of you for that.

What you're going through now will only make you stronger in the future. At 20 years of age your depression will come visiting again, but this time it won't hit quite as hard as you will know how to deal with it and how to help yourself. You will set up this blog and let the whole world know how you feel (I know, scary right?) and will gain so much support from everyone around you. You will be in a much more stable place in your life and will know who you can turn to for compassionate advice, as well as learning how to be on your own without worrying about hurting yourself. You will also learn how many people are in a similar situation to you - depression is such a common illness that hits so many people. And that will make you more determined to push on and change the stigma around it.

You should also know that there will be a lot of changes in your life. You will learn not to rely on that one person as much as you do now, and relationships and life choices will change dramatically. You won't become your childhood dream of being a vet - but incredibly you will train to become a doctor instead. You will become close to people that you never dreamed you would, and will decide to move away instead of staying at home for university. You will get over those boys that treated you badly and made you cry and will learn not to be so harsh on yourself. You will continue to work hard but will also let yourself have some time to relax and not feel guilty about it. And you will make some amazing memories, including during lots of travelling and some surprises along the way.

And on the other hand some things will never change. You will always have big hips but will learn to embrace being curvy. Your eyebrows will always be thick but amazingly that will come into fashion (and you'll thank yourself for not plucking them to within an inch of their life like some people your age did), and your hair will always be curly and a bit unruly, but you will learn to love it. You will still be a worrier, but you will learn to only worry about the things that really matter (okay, you will still have days that you think you're fat and ugly but then you'll think about more important things instead). And while we're on the subject, you are not fat, so stop weighing yourself and eat as much as you like while you still can!

At 21 years of age you will be in your third year of medical school, will be surrounded by some amazing people, and will even know how to use a washing machine. (Yes, you will miraculously become an adult!) You pay your own phone bills, live in rented accommodation with some lovely people, and will have the privilege of talking to patients about their private and personal lives - meeting some inspirational people along the way. You will own a huge wardrobe of clothes and will still have a passion for interior design, will have travelled all the way to and from Africa by yourself, and will have paid for your own huge digital SLR camera (spoiler: it's amazing and you will learn how to use it properly), whilst being able to tell someone what the symptoms of acute glomerulonephritis are (trust me, not as complicated as it sounds).

Like Mum always says, everything happens for a reason - always remember that as it will help you to see the positives in every situation and is one of the best pieces of advice she will give you. Be kind to yourself, try and take life as it comes, and remember how special you are - I am so proud of you and how far you've come with your illness. And finally, never let anyone treat you in a lesser way than you deserve - you will unfortunately learn this the hard way, but ultimately it will make you a better person and have little impact on your future life.

Lots and lots of love,
(aged 21 and a half)

You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You're human, not perfect. You've been hurt, but you're alive. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend.


  1. Great post. I really like your blog :) I often reread this article related to low mood/depression when I feel I need to -

    Just started my own blog as a first year liverpool medic :)

    Keep blogging, you're amazing at it!

    1. Thanks Kate! That article is amazing - I will be sharing it on my blog in the future I think :)

      Your blog looks great - I look forward to reading more in the future!

      Hannah xx

  2. Great site! Your open, honest approach is refreshing.
    And because you that I am nominating you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Congratulations! You can see your nomination here:

    1. Thank you so much, that is amazing news!! :)

  3. There's a lot of things i'd love to tell my 16 year old self too. Great post!
    Laura | A Life With Frills

    1. You should definitely have a go - I found it really therapeutic! xx