Prior to this year, if you had asked me who I was, I would have a laundry list of answers prepared:
I was depressed.
I was suicidal.
I was a self-injurer.
I was a lost cause.
I was helpless and hopeless.
I was broken.
Years of darkness had skewed my perception of myself. I could only see someone I hated, and I couldn’t find a way to change that. I allowed myself to find a strange solace in the loneliness, in the depression. And I stayed there.
I stayed up all night to avoid the days. I thought about suicide, which was comforting to me in ways nothing else was. The idea that I had a choice, that I had control, was important. Control was something I had lost in every other part of my life. Death was my choice, and no one could take that away from me. Attempt after attempt I wondered why I wasn’t dying. Looking back on it, I realize that a part of me didn’t want to die. But if you had asked me then, I couldn’t see the light that was waiting inside of me.
But everyone around me could see so much more. They saw the depression, they saw the suicidal thoughts, they saw my darkest moments, but they still saw me. I want to say I could see what they saw, that I could see the light inside of me. But that would be a lie. Depression blinded me. It stole my understanding of myself, and it stole my desire for life.
Things are different now. If you ask me to look back on the progress I have made, I would see changes I never thought possible. For so long I hoped tomorrow would never come, but as it did I grew stronger. I was able to pull myself out of the deepest hole I had ever been in. I would be lying to say I did this on my own. I have amazing friends who stood by me, I have a family who I now know loves me, I have a therapist who believes in me (even when I don’t believe in myself), and I have medications that help me.
While these things have played a large role in my life and have at times saved me from death, I could not have done this without myself.
Often I forget to give myself credit. I forget that I played the leading role in my recovery. Without my will to live, without my strength, I would not be here. I held myself down for many years, but this year I brought myself up. I survived in ways I never thought possible. I fought for my life.
Every time I wake up, I am fighting for something more, something better. I don’t always notice myself smiling as I wake up to a sunrise, crying tears of joy in my yoga classes, laughing with friends, working on myself in therapy, or loving someone dear to me. But it’s those small changes that created this shift in my perspective. They brought me here.
I thought I had lost myself. But somewhere along this journey I gathered enough strength to find myself again.
Now I know who I am:
I am not a lost cause.
I am not hopeless or helpless.
I am not broken.
I have found myself again.