Daniel is 29 years old and works in marketing. He has written his letter to his 17 year old self and hopes that his contribution to the #DearDistressed campaign will help someone of a similar age. Daniel didn't feel that his father was there for him emotionally and although he had a great relationship with his grandad, he feels that his mental health would have benefitted significantly if he’d had a younger male role model to look up to and talk to. Sadly, a good female friend of Daniel’s ended her life when he was 22; she was only 21. Daniel is determined to help anyone who is feeling alone, lost, unloved so that their family and friends avoid what he considers to be one of the most horrible experiences of his life.
How's it going? I just wanted to let you know, I know what you're going through. It is shit. And I know that a lot of what I am about to say to you now is likely to go in one ear and out the other. But I really need you to try and listen to me.
It gets better. Not perfect, nothing is ever perfect, but it gets better. It really does. The things you're saying to yourself now are complete nonsense. And you have no idea the amount of positive impact you will have on people lives in the years to come.
Keep active, keep playing football, keep boxing, keep meeting up with your friends, there are friends you have now who will be your friends for life.
Don’t be afraid to speak to those friends about how you’re truly feeling. You know your friends and they won't judge you, they only want the best for you. I know you have this self-belief that you can do everything on your own. And that is amazing and that will be so useful in years to come. But you don't have to do this alone. The weight that will physically fall off your shoulders when you speak to someone about how you're feeling right now will be the biggest relief you have ever felt in your life. And if you need to cry you can, there is no shame in that.
I know how compassionate and caring you are and again that is one of your best attributes and you will go on to do amazing things with those attributes, but right now, try your best to focus on yourself. Do things to make yourself happy and try not to get too wrapped up in other people’s situations. I know you have the best intentions to want to help people, but people will only change if they want to change, don’t waste your time and energy on the things you can’t control. Instead focus that time and energy on the things you can control. Those are your own thoughts and your own actions. I know at times it might not seem like you can control your own thoughts, but like anything practice makes perfect. I would highly recommend that you start a CBT course as soon as you can. I found CBT incredibly helpful.
Remember I have been where you are. You are not alone. Try and focus your mind on the present. Don't get lost in the past or dwell on things that haven’t even happened yet. Just focus on being right here, right now. That's all that matters. And take it day by day. Because tomorrow the sun will rise and you don't know what the day will bring you.
You are stronger than you know.
From your future self, 12 years on.1