A letter to my 16-year-old self

Doing one of these things because I saw it done today and ended up reflecting on my life.

Dear Osnat,

It may not feel like it right now, but it's going to be okay.

You fretted over having a boyfriend a lot, and now you're finally realising that you don't need to fret and you're going to have someone truly amazing in your life anyway (that's a spoiler right there for you). You're going to meet him in person, after a couple of false starts because trains are stupid, and you're going to help each other grow and flourish. At first people will be upset that you're dating someone older than you, but they'll come around once they realise neither of you are going anywhere. (People are also going to turn to you for relationship advice. You will think this is weird.)

You will have a tough time with friends. You will lose several. Several close ones will leave and you will feel awful and alienated as you just find an endless line of cloned North London and Home Counties girls. But you will find amazing people from all over the world to count as your friends and they will be better than you could ever have wished for.

Academics will suck. At the moment you are a star student.

Enjoy the moment while it lasts.

GCSEs are easy. Depression and anxiety make everything hard. You will suck at everything hard in Lower Sixth because you spend all your time crying and wanting to die. It will cost you your dreams of going to Oxford, but those will eventually be shattered by realising that you didn't really like the environment. Besides, you will go to Manchester, which is not too shabby, end up in the same city as your best friend by complete coincidence, and meet some really fantastic people.

This will easily be the hardest and darkest year of your life. The depression which you have carried inside you since you were thirteen will burst out and try to choke the life out of you. It will very nearly succeed. It will very nearly take everything from you. It will fundamentally warp your perception of reality and kill your identity. You will spend every day for the next several months crying.

You will beg for help and eventually get it. At first you will hate it and it will make you feel worse. You will have no idea how you get better, but you will. You recover your will to fight. You slowly make your way out of hell. And when you put yourself back together, you feel better and more confident in your own body.

There is hope.