There's a writer called Frederick Buechner who once said this: "This is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid." I think he was pretty wise. Sometimes life is hard, isn't it? Stuff gets thrown at us that makes us feel crap, people can hurt us and sometimes it just plain sucks.
I'm sure, like me, you go through times when you wonder what it's all about. Why does so much bad stuff happen? Why is it so difficult for things to just be... good? Why do I feel so miserable? Is there any point carrying on?
I get it. I've been there, my friend. It feels horrible. Some days, not having the strength to even get out of bed. Other days not being physically present to those around you, your mind being elsewhere. Sometimes, it's a battle just to reach the end of the day.
Let's not pretend - sometimes, life is shit and it seems there isn't much point in seeing tomorrow come round.
No matter how tough it gets, though, I know that you are bigger than anything this world could ever throw at you. Don't believe me? Well you are. I know you are.
I know you are because I didn't think I was, but came to realise I am. It took time, it took love and it was painful, but I got there.
You'll get there too.
People who are healthier than me like to talk about taking part in Tough Mudder - a race that is designed to push you to the limits of your physical and mental fitness. When they brief you on the event, one of the philosophies you are taught is that once you go through an obstacle, you turn around and help the person behind you through.
You go through, then you help through.
So I want to tell you to fight the darkness. It'll come, for sure, but you can beat it. I know you can. Because I and others have been there, and we're here to help you through.
Don't give up. The world needs you to fight the darkness. Yes, it will feel hard at times. Yes, you'll wonder what the point is. Yes, there will be days you ask yourself whether you have the strength left to keep fighting. But don't give up.
Because here's the thing. You may not feel it, you may not recognise it, you may think you are unable to believe it. But you are beautiful.
You are beautiful. Do you know that? It may have been a while since someone told you, but that doesn't really matter. I'm telling you now.
You are beautiful.
You are worth something. In fact, you have more worth than you could ever realise.
Here's what I want you to hear: Your story is so wonderful. People want to hear your story. They need to hear your story. I need to hear your story.
You are beautiful. You are important. You are worth immeasurably more than you can imagine.
This world is beautiful, but there will be terrible things. Don't be afraid. Don't give up.
With all the goodness tomorrow brings,
There are plenty of incredible organisations out there working to support people struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues. For more information, check out Mind, To Write Love On Her Arms or The Samaritans. And please - if you are struggling today, or know someone who is, make sure you talk to someone or encourage them to talk to you. Your story is important.