To the Unknown Variables

Dear college freshmen,

Some of you may experience an injustice. You might develop a serious illness, have a friend in ICU, or survive a brutal car crash. Very few people you know can relate to your pain, leaving you feeling isolated and alone. The only thing you can think is, “I don’t deserve this. Why is this happening to me?”

My first year of college, I had to spend a semester at home. In that time, I was diagnosed with a mental illness, dropped several hours, and spent a week in the hospital. All this left me weak, vulnerable, and afraid for my life.

You never think it’s going to happen. No one can prepare you for the moment you find out. You wish that it never happened, that you’ll wake up and everything will be back to normal. Unfortunately, you never will.

I used to question God why it happened to me, of all people. I was a firm believer; I treated others with gentleness and respect; I had followed every rule given to me by teachers and alumni. What made me deserve this horrible fate?

The truth is, no one deserves it.

No one deserves to feel like they’re losing their mind. No one deserves to have cancer. No one deserves to lose a family member. But that doesn’t stop it from happening to them. Bad things happen in life, to some of us more than others, and there is no apparent reason why.

It seems to me that, in life, no great truth comes without pain. After all the hardships, and suffering mental illness has given me, I have come to a deeper understanding of the world, and carry a deep empathy for those bearing similar pain.

“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”
Ecclesiastes 1:18

For all its torture, I am grateful for mental illness and what it has taught me. And perhaps, after you overcome your trauma, you will be thankful, too.

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