Dear Sylvia,

I went to my school’s guidance counselor today at lunch; she is basically the one that people go to when their problems aren’t considered serious enough to be referred to the school psychologist, whom no one even knows exists. Just like many figures of authority in my school, she serves practically no purpose; she’s simply there so that she can deem someone either overreacting or incurable and then give them a list of psychiatrists to visit.

I walked into her room, knocking on the door as I did. She jumped a bit, then smiled and wordlessly gestured for me to sit in the wooden chair facing her desk.

“Britney. What brings you here?”

I shifted in the chair a bit, producing a short groan from the scratched wood. “You know. Stuff. People. Myself.” The vagueness of my words matched my thoughts; I couldn’t pinpoint a single reason as to why I was there.

She sighed a bit. “Are you happy?”

“No,” I blurted out, taken aback by my sudden response. But it was true. Any joy I had felt recently was temporary, a result of something like a funny line in a book or watching a show that I like. My conversations, my writing, my emotions—they all felt tired out, faded like a word erased multiple times on a sheet of paper.

“Why?” she pressed on, substance actually creeping into her voice for once.

Why? I pondered this for a bit. “I don’t know,” I said finally. “I really don’t.”

She sighed again and leaned forward. “Figure out why,” she said, “and then you’ll be able to figure out so much more.”

Sylvia, I’m still trying to figure it out. But now I know that I have to figure out my mind not through other people, but with my own help. —Britney

Sylvia Letter 6 Part 1