21, United States.
In some ways, I am a failure.
When I was twenty-one and in college, I had no friends.
I had no friends because I attempted suicide, and that, too, I failed at. I’ve failed to kill myself on more occasions than I can count, and ended up in the hospital twice, where the doctors failed to diagnose me properly.
My friends left me, probably because they were scared, and I was left to move back home with my parents, 3,000 miles away from the college town I called home.
I spent my twenty-first birthday with my parents.
I am an entrepreneur, or at least I try to be. I’ve been starting businesses since I was seven years old. And fourteen years later, the most money I’ve ever made from my businesses was about $5,000 last year. Total.
I have started more than twenty-five different businesses, and all of them have failed. More than 90% of them never even made their first dollar, let alone the figures I dream of.
When I was in middle school, I started being bullied every day for being different and “weird.” I told the school administrators and they did nothing. That’s when the self-destruction started. I first attempted suicide when I was 12. I hated myself, because that’s what my tormentors made me to believe.
When I was in high school, I auditioned for three school productions in a two month period and didn’t get a single callback. After spending part of my summer at improv camp, I was rejected from my high
school’s comedy improv team.
I went into high school wanting to be a doctor. I thought that even though I was awkward and people didn’t like me, at least I was good at school. Within a month I was failing my first biology class.
I failed or cried my way through nearly every math test I took from middle school through high school. I had an anxiety attack during a test on more than one occasion.
Once we got to high school, my “best friends” throughout middle school and freshman year abandoned me because I wanted to be a
business major and they were going into art. They thought business was evil. After that, I didn’t really have any friends, so I spent
the rest of high school joining clubs for every day of the week because I had no one to eat lunch with.
When I was eighteen I applied for my first summer job. I applied to more than thirty-five places. Only two of them called me for an
interview. Only one offered me a position, and I was routinely sent home for the day because I was working “too slowly.”
In college I joined a sorority, which surprised even me (of course I was rejected from the others though), and we had mixers and cocktails
every month. I was supposed to find a date, so, having no interested guy friends, I resorted to cold-messaging guys I was Facebook friends
with, which only resulted in a slew of ongoing rejections for each event. I usually ended up being set up by one of my sisters with guys
who despised sorority events, and despised having me as their date even more.
I used to go out to frat parties with my sorority sisters. Once when we were out, a bouncer – who was a frat brother – told me that I
couldn’t come into their party because I wasn’t attractive enough. I thought if I drank enough that night I wouldn’t remember what he
had said, but it didn’t work. I still remember. And yet, I keep going.
And yet, despite these failures, despite these setbacks, and despite these rejections, I still try.
Because what other choice do I have? I’ve already tried to kill myself, and obviously I failed at that too.
So the only option left is to keep going.
To keep trying, to keep hustling, to keep improving yourself and putting yourself out there and trying and failing until one day, one
day, you finally succeed.
And this past year, I kept trying. I kept trying when it seemed ridiculous. I kept trying when people thought I should just give up.
I kept trying when everyone else gave up on me.
But I’d already given up on myself before, and I wasn’t going to do it again. This time would be different.
So I started trying to improve my life. I started trying to be happy. I consciously chose happiness, even when I felt miserable. I forced
myself to list things I was grateful for (because let’s face it, I have a lot to be grateful for if I can complain about sorority drama),
dream up a new future for my life – when I had never imagined a future for myself before – and to take three steps forward every day toward
And it started to work.
I made a document called my “Depression Toolbox.” And I started writing down what skills and resources helped me when I was feeling
depressed or anxious. I read about personal development and internalized the information, trying out new techniques and ideas all
the time. I realized that if you let yourself fully experience pain in all of its overwhelming agony, it goes away within minutes.
Sometimes even seconds.
I faced my fears, I faced my pain, and I faced the past that was now mine to take responsibility for. I was responsible for the actions
that got me to the place where I was in January, and I was responsible for my own recovery.
It’s been nine years since my depression started, and I’m finally getting better.
When no one believes in you, you have to believe in yourself.
When the world is against you, you have to keep going.
You must keep trying. Because you can make your life better.
Start dreaming up the life you really want, and break it down into baby steps. Three small steps forward every day, and you’ll reach
And one day you’ll look back and realize, that although you have the scars of a battle-hardened past, you never would have gotten to one
beautiful moment in the present if you hadn’t gone through hundreds of failures, rejections, and painful moments first.
It’s worth it.
Katie blogs as resilient-page on Tumblr.