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Your Mental Health Journey Is Valid

The letter below is part of an ongoing series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested. Today's guest is Victory Witherkeigh, author of The Girl, which comes out on Tuesday.


Dear Victory,

I will start with the good news.

All the grief you’re getting for sleeping in, oversleeping, or even sleeping over eight hours a night is not the catastrophe they’re making it out to be. In fact, I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you this — but these years will be some of the best hours of sleep you’ll ever have. It will be a harrowing journey because you will slowly realize that your bed is not the solace it once was. And the darkness you keep running from — the pain of rejection and unacceptance from those who should love you — will not change by trying to earn their love.

I know I could try to take a more gentle approach to those deeply vulnerable points. But you are fifteen, and I know you have the excellent combination of distrust of authority figures and unmatched anger towards anyone who tries to tell you they know better. As painful as the truth is - you’ve definitely appreciated ripping the bandaid off more than the false hopes.

Victory as a teen

I want to say that your mental health journey is valid. Just because it’s not openly discussed at home, you will learn more members of your friends and family struggle with depression and panic attacks. You aren’t alone in dreaming of worlds beyond just the small town you were born into. In fact, you are not alone in suffering from the trauma of being a first-generation American and all the cultural conflicts.

Be aware that your courage and bravery are with you - churning under the surface even as the pounding of your heart seems to echo the voices of self-doubt. I can assure you, you will see and travel more than you thought possible - but some lessons may go over better if you can admit to yourself and others when you need help. Saying that you’re overwhelmed, overworked, or just in need of a break will not shatter the world or destroy anything. There will come a time that mental health and its discussion aren’t so terrifying or lonely. You are not alone in struggling with some of these darker emotional discussions.

As many sleepless nights are yet to come, there are some brilliant experiences on the horizon. Who knows? Maybe someday your personal struggles and stories will be helpful to someone else.


Me (Future Victory)


About The Author: Victory Witherkeigh is a female Filipino/Pacific Islander author originally from Los Angeles, CA. She currently living in the Las Vegas area. Victory has published several award-winning short stories, and her first novel, The Girl, comes out in just two days.


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