If you could write a letter to your past self, what would it say? What words would you lend to your 16-year-old self who is struggling with mental illness? Would you tell them that it’s all right? That it’ll get better? Would you remind them of your inner strength, of how far you’ve come already? What would you tell your younger self to encourage them to keep going?
Hello Me, It’s You is an inspiring book, bearing the same name as the Hello Me, It’s You project, which brings to light the conversation of mental illness and encourages young people to write letters to their past selves regarding their own struggles with mental illness, thus also giving them a way to show the progress in their recoveries.
This book was honestly so beautiful and gives such an honest, personal look into the lives of those who have mental illness. I also love the idea of writing a letter to your past self. Even though 16-year-old you won’t actually receive it, there’s still something therapeutic about writing that letter, looking back on who you once were, what situation you were in, and sitting where you are now, knowing you’ve made it out in the end. You have some perspective that you didn’t have before, a bit more knowledge and understanding, and some tough challenges that made you a stronger person. But what you didn’t realize at the time is that it was all worth it, because it got you to where you are today. If only you could just tell that younger you to keep going... I got this feeling so much while reading every letter. It was deeply inspiring to read each writer’s personal journey. But even more than that, I loved how the writers spoke to their younger selves as if they were speaking to a friend. With this, each writer’s own voice came through so strongly, whether it was light and uplifting or more serious and reflective, and made each letter that much more intimate.
Along with anonymous letters, the other aspect about this book that I was really fond of were the beautiful watercolor-esque sayings that preceded each letter. Not only do they introduce the theme of the next letter but they also serve as positive affirmations for the reader as they flip through this book, reassuring for them things they may have needed to hear for a long time...
In this same way, just as each of these anonymous authors come to terms with their mental illness, so too will readers of Hello Me, It's You find comfort in these letters, reminding them that they are not alone, that their mental illness is real and valid, and that they will eventually overcome whatever difficult times they may face, and come out stronger in the end.
Hello Me, It's You is a beautiful project and book that gives voice to those who struggle with mental illness. It sheds light on the realities of living with a mental illness, but it also deeply represents hope and recovery. It gives those with mental illness a platform to open up and reflect on their own experiences, and allows them to see in themselves their own inner strength...all in the form of a self-addressed letter.