My dad often tells me I have so much to offer the world. The first time he told me this I was in sixth grade; I'd been officially diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression the year before, and I had too many absences from school to count. When I wasn't at school, choking from panic attacks in the counselor's office, I was at home, curled beneath a mountain of blankets on my bed with the lights off and my curtains closed, drowning in panic attacks and intense episodes of melancholy.
While I spent months arguing with my parents over each other's frustration, I spent an equal amount of time unintentionally appealing to their empathy. One particularly bad day where I couldn't bring myself to even leave bed for school, my dad came to me. He sat by my feet and became someone I've never seen before. He softened. He dropped his tough man act, and we shared a touching heart-to-heart. He may have even shed a few tears, but don't tell him I said that. After I revealed to him how much pain I was in, how much my heart stung, and how scary my thoughts were, he told me I had so much to offer the world.
We hit a rough patch, but we'd pull through, and I'd make him proud. He saw valuable potential in me, had an abundance of faith in me, things I was blind to, but so long as my dad believed in me, I'd be okay.