On January 28, 2014, I graduated from a treatment center after getting stuck in a cycle of being passed from one treatment to the next. I moved into transitional living in California and, for the first time, had to look in the mirror and meet a self that would no longer be defined by my mental health issues nor the measures of success with which I had identified myself prior to my diagnoses. I was, in many ways, alone, across the country, and raw to my emotions. I felt lost.
It’s crazy to think of how much has transpired since that graduation and how much can change in two years. For the most part, I’m still me. I have the same brain and many of the same values. But in a lot of ways, I can’t recognize the person I was two years ago. I have compassion for myself when I think about how hard it must have been to have no idea what direction my life was going to go- what my interests were, if I even had interests, and the small amount of desire I had to live to which I hung so fervently. I know without a doubt that I could not be where I am now if I had not been who I was then, but it feels distant.
Today, I still struggle and feel in similar ways, but about totally different things. I no longer question if I want to get well, but sometimes it’s still hard to be well. I still strive for a balance in life that seems to be just around the corner, and sometimes I reach it, but no matter how far away from that balance I am on a given day, I still know it exists, and that’s far more than I could say a couple of years ago.
Beyond the areas of challenge, there are a myriad of places I have undoubtedly improved. I have faith in my success and my safety. I have confidence that I can accomplish the things I put my mind to. I believe in happiness.
The evolution that I see in myself gives me hope for every person I meet- with or without any mental health issue. We all have issues, but we grow as people inevitably with time. It’s where our energy and effort is placed that determines in what ways we grow, and when that energy is put towards places that bring happiness, peace, and excitement, we are so much more able to deal with the issues that will surface.
I am a more capable, accepting, and patient person than I was two years ago. I have moved again across the country and have gone to college. I’ve met new people, learned new things, and become a more stable and significant me on this planet. I have established a home within myself and continue to develop that. I look forward to the next two years, with awareness that those are built from the next few moments.