Don't get me wrong; I had some amazing experiences in high school. From my first bobsled medal to my first kiss, staying true to my faith to making some of the best friends of my life, high school rocked. I had a good (though highly-imperfect) family, good health, good jobs, good leaders and good opportunities.
Yet despite all that, there were the nagging doubts, the overwhelming insecurities, the fears, and the feelings of helplessness against the anxiety/depression. In that particular fight I was a David without stones standing before a mental/emotional Goliath. No wonder I felt "broken."
I explained all this to my friend, feeling a bit of relief to get it off my chest. She sat there for a moment, studying the look in my eyes. "What would you tell him?" she asked.
"Who?" I said quizzically.
"That you in high school. That young kid who wanted to change the world, but was afraid he'd never make it.
We sat there in silence for several minutes. I looked over the past 15+ years since high school. I thought of all the highs and lows, the joys and pains, the wins and the losses. I looked back at those difficult years with a slightly (only slightly) more mature view on life and the world and my heart broke, but in a good way. I smiled. "I'd tell him that he isn't broken. That there is hope. That it isn't the end of the world, but the beginning of it. That he isn't alone and that he doesn't have to carry the burden or fight the fight alone."
My friend sat quietly then smiled wisely. "When are you going to tell yourself that?"
She had a point. I see it everyday (including in myself), good and wonderful people all around me who are doing their best, who have been through the ringer in life. They are ashamed of their scars, of the wounds they are honestly striving to heal. They feel like they can't admit to being human, to being imperfect, to making mistakes or suffering or being afraid.
To them I would say the same thing that I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self: "You're doing just fine. Don't be ashamed of the scars, everything worth doing in life will leave a scar of some sort. Don't hide them or hide because of them. Those who love you don't care and those who do care probably don't love you. Live freely and live deeply. Let the past go, exorcise the ghosts and never, ever, ever stop believing in a bright future."
You are not broken. You are doing just fine.