I am your future self. I am about to tell you a story, so are you ready?
You are in a peak of your teenager years. You are popular, your friends will call you “Kuya” because you have a caring, compassionate and loving attitude towards yourself. They see a “big brother” in you despite of your age. You are currently working at McDonalds, and you are earning money as such a young age. But, save up. Do not be cocky by treating all your friends. They might call you “Kuya,” but it does not mean that they will not take advantage of you. I know that you are friendly and nice, but it will harm you in the long run with your cockiness. Save those money for your personal car, and for the future. Be wise when it comes to credit card because two years from now, you will start using credit card, and it can harm you in the future.
You have a best friend. Take care of her. Do not be emotional, and just enjoy your teenage years. She cares for you, but she is also young, so she will move away if you continue to push her away. Do not worry, and ask someone older, someone who you can trust, and tell them about your problems. Do not hesitate to seek help. Why? In the long run, asking help will eventually provide a mental solution for you. You will miss prom if you continue your path of emotional downfall. Enjoy basketball for now, enjoy working, but always be wary of your physical and mental health.
After two years, you will meet a wonderful woman. Well, you already met her but because of internet, you will have a chance to get to know her better. Yes, she will become your girlfriend. It will be the best three years of your life. She may be far away but she gives you motivation to stay happy. My advice, be Christ-centered. There will be a time, that you will get very emotional that will cause your relationship into a rocky development. She will hurt you, and you will be scarred for a very long time. You will never forget her, and because of that, it will destroy your identity. Jireh, this is a monumental time of your life. I want you to take time to pause, don’t be drastic, she loves you, and you love her. When you are feeling alone, remind yourself that you are not alone. Respect her, and treat her well. Get to know her family more, and do not be afraid to show how much she really means to you. I hope that whatever happens, you need to remember that you did your best.
You will attend community college. You will start to question about your life. You will take Biology classes and Child Development classes but your heart will always be in church ministry. Do not worry because when you turn 27, you will actually end up going to Vanguard University. So right now, get your college credits, and love yourself. You will become so involved in church ministry that you will lose focus about your mental health. You will start to wear a mask. They will see a jovial, smiling person but later at night, you cry in deep dark emotional pain. You will struggle psychologically, and you will feel alone. You will never tell a soul, and yet you will continue to serve the church. Stop. I want you to understand your situation. I want you to acknowledge the pain that you are dealing with. Seek help, look for a counselor. You will continue to pray, you will have an excellent devotional life, but I want you to add a professional helper to assess your mental health. Why? Because at the age of 27, you will attempt suicide. Not because you are selfish, but because you can no longer handle the emotional, psychological agony that you are dealing. You will end up hurting church people. They will not understand you, and gossip will traumatize you. The church that you dedicated your life, the root of your salvation, the people that you spend life with, the family that you cared about, all of them will disappear and will not understand you.
Jireh, seek help. You’ll get diagnosed of a mental disorder that can either break you or make you. But, I want you to understand, that GOD LOVES YOU. You will be alone, for three years, it seems no one can truly understand you. But therapy can assess you. You will slowly understand the complicated things in your life. And again, GOD LOVES YOU. I want you to understand that you will cry, you will be heartbroken, and you will experience a psychological pain that you will wish to die just to end the suffering. You will have migraines, intense headaches, and an agony that maybe only Christ can understand. You will lose hope. You will think about abandoning your faith. You will consider quitting school. You will panic most of the time. You will think about leaving your home. You will think about ending your life.
But, I am alive. You will live. Suffering might be there, but you have survived the worst. Your therapist will help you. A new pastor will understand you. New friends will take care of you. Old friends will reach out for you. You will realize and acknowledge that there are people that will still remain loyal to you, despite the mistakes and your past. Cherish and be thankful to these people. You will try to chase the people that left you but I want you to stop that but instead accept what you did, and appreciate for those who stayed and forgave you. And most of all, remember that God will never leave you.
You will volunteer to an organization that fights the stigma on mental illness. You will write blogs, essays, and make videos regarding mental illness. You will speak, preach, and declare the love of God again. You will sing His praise again. You will smile again. You will be different. The old you will be gone, and now, someone who experienced hell will come out, better than before. You will continue to influence people. You will continue to encourage people. You will continue to provide hope. Hope, remember that. There is suffering, but there is also hope.
Young Jireh, I love you. Never lose hope.
from an almost 30-year-old You,