As someone who has been struggling from depression since the ripe old age of 13, I thought I'd join in and write my younger self a letter too. It's the kind of thing she'd openly mock but sincerely appreciate.
Hey Alyce (age 16), it's you,
You'll be reading this in October of 2012, which means you'll have just discovered twenty one pilots (be warned, they're world famous in 2016. Try not to be too bitter!), you'll be drinking three bottles of vitaminwater a day (it's expensive and doesn't really have any benefits: try drinking water or Diet Coke - that's your new favourite drink) and you'll still be a year and a half away from making the blog that I'm talking to you on now.
Enjoy October, because starting from November 1st the rest of the year is going to suck.
Mitch Lucker from Suicide Silence is going to die in a tragic and completely unexpected motorcycle accident. I know you aren't a fan of them, and his death won't make you listen to them, but seeing a talented and adored frontman - and a loving father - struck down so horrifically is going to knock you for six.
On the same day Mitch dies, Futures will announce their split. Bummer.
Oh yeah, and then at the end of November Ian's going to be arrested for being a massive paedophile. Don't bother believing he's innocent - he's not. It's a waste of your time and hope. You will find more bands to love, and you won't love them as unquestioningly but they'll still mean a heck of a lot to you.
I should probably use this letter to give you some proper life advice, rather than just warning you about all of the music-related crises you'll encounter, but I know you won't listen.
He's a dick and not worth your time. I know you won't believe me, because you're so certain you're in love with him, but the truth is he's just fucking with you and that's all it'll ever be.
Keep in mind that in four years you'll have gotten over him and you'll be happy with the guy of your dreams. He has a side fringe. And wears skinny jeans. And skates. And - most surprisingly - he's not an asshole! We change, but our taste in men doesn't.
Stop taking your best friend for granted. She's been there for you through everything, forgiven you every single time you've done something shitty to her, and she deserves all of your respect and love for that. Don't take everything out on her, because one person shouldn't need to carry their burdens and all of yours.
Don't be so angry with mum and grandad. You still snap sometimes - who doesn't? - but you don't need to wage war against them. You can't shift all of the responsibility on to their shoulders, no matter how much you want to blame them. Own the fact that you can be a dick.
Stop panicking about uni, because you don't bother with it and that makes your life so much more awesome. You start a blog - you wouldn't have time to do that if you were struggling to wade through a recommended reading list over summer! - and then you start working in libraries - yep, plural - and you make a ton of awesome friends, your own personal coven. Don't stress about school, because it's not worth it. You'll end up where you're supposed to, no matter how many late night cramming sessions you force yourself to endure.
I know you want to die, but use the restless energy that gives you to live more. You still get bad days even now, days when your depression and anxiety completely overwhelm you (you even go to counselling, for Christ's sake. Like you thought you'd ever bother with that) and you struggle to deal with it, but if you start earlier you'll be making my life much easier!
I'm not going to tell you 'it gets better' because that seems a little cheesy, but it becomes more bearable. Don't expect an overnight fix for all of your issues, because there isn't one, pure and simple.
But for us, for me, for you: just try.
Alyce (age 20)
If you'd like to learn more about the 'Hello Me, It's You' project, check out my review of the essay collection, visit their website or follow them on Twitter.