I am capable of great things, of extraordinary passion and wholehearted commitment. I am smart, funny, warm and reliable. I am loved. These are things I know in my head and not in my heart. There are, I am sure, several reasons for that. But the one I address today is the life-long struggle of battling depression and generalized anxiety.

I went about 16 years without being diagnosed. I was sure I was defective, that it was my fault, that I needed to try harder and it would all go away. But it never did. I felt increasingly isolated and alone. My most intimate contacts still felt like strangers. The product of all this was ever decreasing self-esteem and a perpetual sense of personal failure. No matter what I accomplished, the steady fears and the looming cloud of emotional exhaustion that accompanied generalized anxiety and depression silenced any loving voice that tried to bring healing to the things that were fractured. I vowed then, as I still vow now, to practice self love. With discipline. So, I am sharing with you a love letter I wrote to myself. After all, how can you love others if you can’t love yourself? I encourage you to do the same. You are not your illness. You have intrinsic worth, and there are people who love you without condition, in the midst of both failures and success. Let yourself bathe in the love today. Don’t give those critical, cruel voices any room to make your mind their own. All these positive words apply to you, too. Please, remember… you are loved.