A year ago, I was a handful of months into my recovery. I was gripping the walls, looking for light in the darkest of places and praying that I wasn’t going to fall down. I was playing it safe and then forcing myself to take chances, living in a space that was sensitive and uncomfortable a majority of the time. I guess that’s the thing they forget to mention about recovery: the sensitivity of your skin when you are changing. In some ways, it’s like the growing pains you got as a kid during the one summer that you grew a whole five inches and a shoe size.
Change has a stigma of its own. I used to think of change as a sour goodbye as I walked away from something I loved. It’s hard to let go of something that has been a part of you for so long that you forget where the line starts and ends. Yet we should know that stigma can be wrong. I forgot about the joyful hellos that would follow. I forgot that change is a comfort—it promises that this too shall pass. For even when everything seems to swallow you up and move too fast, change offers a promise of the four seasons.
Being twenty-one years old, I find myself changing every day. I’m learning how to live on my own and not call my mom every time something gets too scary. I’m growing into myself. I’m learning to fit my heart in places that didn’t have room before. I’m learning how to love better, how to live healthier, how to give second chances, and how to tackle my aspirations.
The bottom line is this: If I didn’t have the ability to change and adapt to this life, I would still be depression’s slave, living on the rockiest of bottoms. That’s not what happened, however, because as hard as it is to believe on our worst days, it does get better.
If I had let my scars win, I would have lost so much. I wouldn’t have my favorite semicolon tattoo. There would be no TWLOHA blog, no everlasting friendship with my best friend. I wouldn’t have realized my dreams of pursuing a career as a music therapist. I wouldn’t get to close my eyes during the slow songs at concerts and breathe in the feeling of being alive. There would be no rebuilt faith, no newfound love of stars, no collage wall in my apartment, and no dean’s list GPA. I’m glad I changed.
I changed to stay alive, to fight for another day. This process, as uncomfortable and unfortunate as it was, made me closer to the person I want to be. As I broke bad habits and challenged my thoughts for a chance at happiness, I learned the value of patience, loyalty, support, empathy, balance, and motivation.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t still fall down. I do. I fall down and let myself acknowledge that it hurts, but there’s a difference now. I don’t let it stop me—my mistakes, my past, or my doubts. I’m a year wiser, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not human. There’s a balance that makes change possible. Because there is a bad, there is also a good. Because there is darkness, there is also light. Nothing lasts forever, but that isn’t a form of bondage; it’s a form of hope.
There’s so much waiting for you over that finishing line. There are so many things to live for, to hope for, to fight for. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not even saying that it will be fast or painless. It takes honesty and quite a few tries, but the view is pretty great. Change isn’t the enemy; it’s your best friend.
God this is so true! It brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for bringing to words what I am feeling. Change really is the key to recovery.
This is so beautiful and inspiring. I’m just starting my road to recovery, and this gives me a lot of hope for where I will be in a year.
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Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.
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If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at [email protected].
I just watched the movie and still crying. Best movie on addiction. Ur story or blog that I just read sounds so good. I want to feel that way. But I allowed someone to break me and have been struggling since October 26,2013 to try to just get a few pieces of me back together so I can function in life for my 2 girls. My story is so much I can’t write it here but if I knew how to do one of these blog things. .. I cud write pages. Anyway. .. Ur story touched me and gave me hope. I just hope it lasts. I usually loose it w/in a cpl days. Lol. I’m tired of being a victim and my dream is to b a Victor one day. To do that I have to face molestation, sibling killed at 15, raising myself, rape, 3 marriages and 3 divorces, physical abuse, mental abuse, my last x and only love I’ve ever had arsoned my home and was indicted but found not guilty, and I still love him and that itself makes me hate myself. Anyway. … don’t mean to take up so much. Sorry. But wanted to acknowledge thx for ur story.
My addiction is food. I’ve also had molestation, etc.
Stay strong my friend.
Although not the best of circumstances, something inside me brightens when I hear people my age go and fight through struggles shining hope on the rest of us. Because that is exactly what you’re doing and I thank you. Where I come from it is more than common to hear people say “You’re too young to be depressed” or “You’re not old enough to know what real struggles and fighting for your life daily is” stating that in our culture mental illness does not actually exist but is a man made issue. If we could only change the stigmas and show people that change really isn’t such a terrible thing, oh how beautiful this world would be.
Thanks, Danielle – I really needed the reminder tonight that there is so much bravery in changing “to stay alive, to fight for another day.” Thinking of you as we walk our own versions of the same road.
Just finished watching the TWLOHA movie. I don’t cry during movies, but you better believe I had tissues in hand. I didn’t want the movie to end, so I came across this blog. Today is my final day of my freshman year of college. I totally understand how hard change can be. I’m really bad at goodbyes. Thanks for reminding me how far I’ve come and to remember “change isn’t the enemy; it’s your best friend.”
This is so poignant, I just blogged about the whys of life this week. I additionally watched Girl Interrupted last night. It was painful to watch on so many levels. I had been in the hospital at the beginning of this year, my fiancee had completed suicide by hanging and his cat was crying out to me when I found him. I sobbed and sobbed and worried my husband but this morning there is new light, a new beginning a new change. Sometimes I fight against change with all my might, sometimes I embrace it. Balance, love and laughter is what I crave and I too sometimes fall, like yesterday but we as a community have TWLOHA. Thanks.
I broke a promise I made to myself a couple months ago. I thought that I could stop and I did, I didn’t hurt myself for four months. But I broke that promise today. I don’t know how I found this website I guess it was like a sign. Telling me that I’m not alone in this. I’m seventeen it’s summer now and I should be happy. It’s so hard to be happy. I want to change like you did. I don’t want to let my scars consume me. I don’t want to be like this forever. I want to be able to change and live a healthier life. I just don’t know how to do it. I’m so scared to tell my mom or anyone. She found out about my self harm my freshman year but she thought that I had stopped. I did for a while but it picked back up my sophomore year, and continued into my junior year. I don’t want my senior year to be filled with pain or guilt. I just don’t know what I should do. I don’t want to see the disappointment on my moms face, and I don’t want her to blame herself. How did you change? How did you overcome it? Please help me
We’re so glad you found our organization and this blog post in particular. We’re so proud that you were able to go without hurting yourself for four months – that’s amazing! – and we know you can start over today and reach a new goal: one where you’re free from self-harm. You don’t have to live like this forever, Sara. You can change and live a healthier life.
Please tell your mom how you’re feeling and what you’re going through right now. It’s natural that you don’t want to disappoint her and that you’d be scared to start the conversation, but her support will help you through this. You can change the course of your next days, weeks, and months. Your senior year doesn’t have to be one filled with pain or guilt. Please tell your mom. Tell her how you’re feeling. Tell her that you’d like her help. If you need a place to start, why not bring her this blog post and ask her to read it? If you’d like, you can also show her the self-injury resources on our FIND HELP page: https://twloha.com/find-help/help-by-topic/self-injury/.
If you need some encouragement, please email us at [email protected]. We want to know how you’re doing, Sara. We want to know about your new promise and what your senior year looks like. We believe in your story. We hope you do too.
Danielle, thank you. Thank you for being brave enough, and willing to share from your struggles and your victories. I needed a reminder to keep pressing forward (this week has been a difficult one fighting my own anxiety and depression). Thank you for reminding me that change is good and worth the effort. Thank you.