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Do you remember being 11 years old? If you’re 11, do you remember being six? I can remember looking back at 11 when I turned 13 and realizing how much I had grown in just two years. Now, looking back at 11 from 17, in some ways I feel like an entirely different person.

Sienna Mae Gomez Young

At my core, there are many things that have remained the same, but I have learned so much, seen more of the world, made new friends, fallen in love, fallen out of love, found passions and left other ones behind. I think that’s one of the most beautiful, and painful parts about life; nothing stays the same and we are always evolving.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and I want to talk about how we can honor that and internalize it.
We are lucky, in today’s world that conversation surrounding mental health is so much more open and honest than it was just a few years ago. That being said, sometimes I feel like the more we talk about things, the more we see the words “mental health” or “suicide prevention” the more we get desensitized to it. We get so used to talking about it we forget to actually feel it, to actually let the words touch us and change our perspective. So I thought we should talk about what’s at stake when we talk about suicide prevention.
A friend of mine recently told me “this is not your final form” and those words have become the ones I repeat to myself on the hard days, because it’s true. Who I am in this moment is vastly different than who I will be five, 10, 20 years from now. In moments when things are really dark, scary, and painful, I try to remember they are only temporary…that every dark moment has a lighter counterpart waiting for it on the other side.
Sienna Mae Gomez
For me, this year has been one of extreme highs and extreme lows. And when I mean low, I mean really low. Being bullied online – being told to kill myself over and over, that I didn’t deserve to live, being called horrible names by people who don’t know me or my truth – sent me spiraling. On top of that, moving cities, feeling lost, and figuring out my true friends all had me feeling anxious and alone (even though I know I’m not). 
Luckily I am getting help. And what I’ve been learning in the process is that being able to cope with the pain we face in life — to move from the darkness to the light — requires a few things:
Sienna Mae Gomez
ACCEPTANCE: We have to accept the things we can’t change. We are human. We can’t expect to always feel our best, and it’s no use getting upset with yourself over things you can’t control. Sometimes we mess up. We make mistakes. We hurt ourselves and others in the process. We have to accept these moments of frustration, anger, regret, pain, etc. and let them teach us and help us grow.
GRATITUDE: In order to face the pain, we’ve got to build up our bank of goodness. To do this, we have to be really present and grateful for the good times. If we are dwelling on the past, or worried about what’s to come, we miss out on all the good in between. 
PATIENCE: It’s important to have patience for ourselves, with others, with the weight of the world. No one and no thing is perfect. Times will get hard. If we remain patient, we will eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel and get to live more of the life that keeps us moving forward. This is the one that is hardest for me personally to remember and practice.
Your life will never be flawless, because no one is. But it is yours. It’s your own open book that you’re free to fill up every inch of. Every good story has ups, downs, adventures, failures, love, laughter, and struggle. All of these things are what make those stories worth retelling, watching, and reading. Please don’t ever think that yours would be better off cut short. Please give yourself time. Give your story time to unfold and remember that this is not your final form. You are growing and evolving everyday and your life will take twists and turns you never knew possible. You’ve got to stick around to see what happens. 
I hope these words got through to you if you needed them, and that you know that your 11-year old self would be amazed at how far you’ve come. If my words didn’t do the trick, I hope the ones in this playlist will – a compilation of the songs I listen to when I need to remember that I’m not alone. 
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255, and seek help immediately. You are not alone and your story is worth continuing <3
Sienna Mae Gomez