Spoken Hope Member - Maura

Dear Little Maura,

Treasure your innocence. I promise you, you will miss it.

You’re just a girl in the second grade. You play with all the other girls in your class and you fight over silly things like whose horse gets the name Cocoa. You used to go to speech therapy, you love the Thea Stilton books, and you stress about things like whether to go to school for game day or stay home to meet your new baby brother.

You’re just a girl in the fifth grade. You’ve started reading Harry Potter and befriended the girl with the braids. You go to the bathroom a stupid amount of times, not because you have to pee, but because you feel the overwhelming need to wash your hands. 

You’re just a girl in the eighth grade. You love reading, and you love writing, but you’ve never gotten very far in a project. You think you’ve felt heartbreak, and you know you’ve felt panic attacks. You can think yourself into anxious, depressive holes, and you have intrusive suicidal thoughts. You know social media changed how you saw yourself, and you berate yourself for ‘being a freak.’ You’re ‘scared of yourself. . . think you might be exaggerating your problems to yourself.’ Your solution for hating to socialize is to just not do it. You think you have social anxiety (but the symptoms don’t quite fit), and you’re questioning your sexuality.  

I’m just a girl in the eleventh grade. My brain blew up on me, and I had no friends. I struggled through the summer, facing triggers and intrusive, suicidal thoughts. At the end of it all, I was diagnosed with OCD and autism. I don’t read as much anymore because of triggers, and I quit my job, also because of triggers, but I’ve learned how to crochet, and I have a business. I’m on the third draft of my book, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to communicate through writing. I’m closer with my family, and I have a best friend/boyfriend. I’ve worked through some of my anxiety by myself (I can hug my little siblings again!), and I’m still waiting on therapy.

You’re going to watch your life crumble around you. You’re going to go through heartbreak and feel unlovable. You’re going to lose all your friends and not be able to do anything because of triggers. You’re going to lie to your mom about it all. You’re going to scream, and you’re going to shut down, and you’re going to wish you could just hit pause on everything. But I promise you, it’ll all be worth it. Nothing feels worth all this pain, but I promise you, you will come out stronger in the end.

Treasure your innocence, babe. But treasure all the smiles and all the tears. Treasure the sound of the rain in the puddles, and treasure the sun on your shoulders. Treasure the hugs from your mom and the giggles with your siblings. Treasure the long, political conversations with your dad, and treasure the trips to your grandparents’. Treasure the time you spend alone, treasure the time you spend with the people you love. Treasure your innocence, babe, but treasure everything that steals your innocence.

I promise you, no matter how much you miss it, the loss of your innocence will bring about a strengthening of your soul. 

Love, Seventeen Year Old Maura

Please note that as a result of COVID-19 safety precautions our Walk-In Clinics and County Mental Health Clinics are on hold however, our services remain OPEN.  To schedule an appointment or find out more, please contact our Intake Dept. at (519) 337-3701.