I want to start by letting you know that nowhere in your wildest dreams can you prepare yourself for what is coming. Right now you're just adjusting to college and the worst things you can imagine are gaining the freshman 15 and never finding your college best friend.
I can assure you that those 15 pounds are inevitable and you will become better because of them. I can also tell you that good friends are out there and you will find them. Neither of these things are the end of the world.
I'd also like you to know that you are a million times stronger than you've ever had to be. You don't know it yet, but you will continuously amaze yourself with your own strength and power over the months to come.
I want to tell you that you didn't do anything wrong. You are kind. You are smart. You are quiet. You are shy. All of these things are okay. Nothing you have done in the past, nor anything you do in the coming months will make you deserving of what happens to you.
You are a good person. You did not ask to be taken advantage of. You don't deserve to be taken advantage of, but it will happen anyway. It will bring with it gut-wrenching anxiety, panic attacks that will have you begging for relief with a death-grip on a teddy bear in your bed and on armrests in cars that don't belong to you.
This experience will bring with it a sense of guilt. One you will struggle every day to shake but will oftentimes not be able to escape. It will bring a sort of "I would rather die than get out of bed today" and "I don't know know if 'I want to die' is just an expression anymore" depression.
There will be tears. Floods of emotion at inconvenient times and an extreme lack of it when you really want it.
There will be so many questions. A million "what ifs" that literally have no answers. Some days picking up and moving forward will feel like the hardest thing you have ever had to do. Some days it will be, but you will do it every time.
You're going to find that recovery isn't a straight line or an uphill battle, but a roller coaster that twists and turns and corkscrews, but always comes right back to where it started.
Please don't lose sight of the fact that one day you'll find your way off that roller coaster. Have faith that day will come. That faith is where 90% of your strength is hiding.
Every setback is going to propel you forward to a new feat. Take it in stride and don't give up. You are strong enough to survive and you will.
The Future You