Hello, my name is Elena and this is probably the happiest time of my life, at least of the last years.
I'm writing this for all the people who still aren't where they want to be, who still aren't the person they want to be. What I want to tell you is: things do get better. I know you may feel as you'll never be happy again, as your whole life will just be a mess because that's how you are and happiness wasn't made for you. I know this because I felt like that too, for a long time.

So, first of all, I'll tell you my story, just to make clear that I'm not writing all this just because I had a bad day.
Long story short, my problems started at my first year of high school: I gradually lost touch with my old friends and didn't make many friends from the new school because I'm shy and introverted and it takes a lot of time for me to trust someone and feel at ease around new people. During my second year it became worse: I felt lonely and sad, I spent a lot of my time alone and envied my old friends who made a lot of new friends and boyfriends. I started feeling as I wasn't welcome among them anymore, and the few times we hanged out I felt out of place. During third year the actual depression started. It was an awful year: I couldn't control my emotions anymore, I was either sad and crying, or nervous and angry, or felt nothing at all. I really started beliving that was just the way I was, that I would never be able to be happy because I was a loser, an outcast, nobody wanted me. Some days I couldn't focus on anything because the voices in my head were too loud, too cruel. Even when I went out with my few friends I felt sad: if it was with my two school friends, with whom I had a real, genuine relationship, it was because I thought about the life I could have had if I wasn't like I was; if it was with my old friends I usually came back home crying because I felt that our friendship was over and they still talked to me just out of habit. In may I went to a psychologist, but it didn't help much. The summer was awful, too. A lot of free time and almost nobody to hang out with, nobody who cared about me.
At the beginning of my fourth year I decided that it was time to change things. I couldn't go on like this, I spilled all my tears, I hated everything about myself. It was time to stop. I slowly re-educated myself to happiness, so here are my tips for you:

1) burn bridges, cut off from your life people who make you sad
I know it's painful, and I know everyone says it, and they say that you have to fill you life with positive people, but they never tell you how. The point is, you can't just bring people to your life. It takes time, and in the meantime you're going to be alone. When you eliminate all the fake relationships, you may find yourself with very few, maybe no friends at all. But it's okay: it's not going to be easy, but trust me, it's worth it.

2) keep yourself busy
You're going to have a lot of free time by yourself, and if you don't want to feel lonely you have to keep you mind busy: read a book, start a tv series, study harder, spend time with your family, take your dog for a long walk, learn something new, paint, write poems, workout, whatever. Don't judge yourself and don't compare yourself to others: who cares if X went to a party yesterday while you were at home playing cards with your mom or finishing season 2 of stranger things? If that made you happy, if that made you feel okay, it's perfect, and you aren't less than X because you didn't go to the fucking party.

3) don't give up, give yourself time
It's going to be hard at the beginning, you'll feel like you aren't going anywhere. (Literally, I spent weeks without leaving the house except for school and the gym). It took months to me to get in control of my emotions again, to shut the voices in my head. At some point you're going to notice that it's been a while since you cried, or since you yelled at someone for no reason. You'll be out of the darkness, but still not in the light.

4) challenge yourself
All this was to make you feel at ease with yourself and among others again. At this point, things start getting easier, you just need to slowly let go. I can't tell you how exactly this works, you're going to feel it. Someday you'll go out and you feel glad for the moment. No pressure, no fear, no anxiety. You'll be around people and won't feel like everyone is judging you. It starts like this. Then you have to try and be a little more outgoing: try to send a text to some 'almost friend' to ask them to hang out, do some school activity that keeps you around people, try new things, new places, learn how to say 'yes' when your brain still screams 'NO'. You'll experience good and bad things, but you'll survive. You'll find yourself reacting to a refusal with a shrug instead of a river of tears.

These are basically the things I did during the last school year and summer. Now that I started my fifth year (we have five years of high school in Italy) I can finally say it: I'm happy. I'm so, so happy. It was a slow, gradual thing, but at some point I just felt it: the veil was lifted, I was in the light.
I have more friends now, but not many. I still don't go to parties and spend saturdays studying or watching netflix, but I'm happy with my ordinary life. It feels amazing: I remember how it was before, feeling separated from everything and everyone, in my dark bubble of depression. Now I just feel like I'm fully living every second, and even the smallest things put a smile on my face.
A year ago, I thought I was never going to feel like this again. Two years ago, I felt like my life was ruined because my mind was a disaster. Three years ago I believed nobody could ever like someone like me. Now, I can't wait for a new day to begin. Things di get better, guys, just keep fighting and put yourself first. What I learned is that it desn't matter how your life is: you don't have to have a lot of friends or a boyfriend/girlfriend, you don't have to do excitings thing every day, all that matters is how YOU want to live the life you have. Train yourself to happiness, because you deserve it and you can achieve it.

That's all I had to say, I'm sorry it is really long and my english isn't perfect (I'm italian), but I really hope this can help someone who's in the situation I have been and is losing the hope. I'm leaving you with an extra tip: when things get too hard, talk to someone on the internet. Social networks are beautiful because they connect us with strangers around the world with the same passions and the same struggles as us, who won't judge but will listen. I recommend twitter for that, but if you want feel free to send me a message, I'm here for everyone ღ