The other day, I was sat doing my usual 'scrolling for inspiration' mantra on Tumblr, and sipping a cup of tea, when I stumbled across a quote that really struck a chord with me.

"I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it." - Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

Something about this just instantly spoke to me.

I know exactly how it feels to be like that. I have felt solely defined by my pain for a very long time. And, when I was in the very depths of it, it was truly the only thing that I felt that could define me and would define me for the rest of my life.

I think when you're depressed, and the only way you can ever describe how you feel, is feeling absolutely nothing and everything all at once, you become completely accustomed to feeling that way. You think that there is no 'out', and you will never feel those 'happy' 'cheerful' emotions ever again. You think that the pain is who you are, what you are and who you are going to be. You feel like there is no way that you will ever not describe yourself again as 'sad' or 'down', or that very cryptic word that is 'fine'.

And, this is something that seems very significant to me at the moment. I've been looking back at old photos, thinking about that time in my life and realising how long it has actually been since I was in such a dark place. 

I don't know how, but the time seems to have flown by, and I hadn't really, truly, realised in all of that time, just how different I am now.

"Everything heals. Your body heals. Your heart heals. The mind heals. Wounds heal. Your soul repairs itself. Your happiness is always going to come back. Bad times don't last."

Although my life may not be perfect or I may not constantly be 'happy', I can still safely say that I'm in a much better place than I once was. And, whilst I wouldn't say that I'm capable of feeling everything, or even actually truly feeling very much at all right now, I can definitely say that I feel a hell of a lot more than I used to. 

The weird thing is though, I don't really know how it happened. I don't know how the time has passed so quickly or how I've managed to get to the place where I am today. In my mind, that dark place doesn't seem that long ago at all, but actually, it's been about 3 years...

I guess what I'm trying to get at in this blog post is, recovery is a slow process, but all of a sudden it can just feel like it's flown by and one day, you're sat scrolling through your, what once used to be a depression filled, Tumblr page and thinking "bloody hell, where has that time gone?"

I remember feeling so so empty and not knowing who I was or if I even wanted to be alive anymore, but yet I couldn't define myself without that empty feeling. That was who I was now. I had become the darkness, the numbness and the pain because I no longer felt anything else or hoped for anything more. I didn't know how to describe who I was without thinking of Depression or Anorexia or OCD - they were who and what I had become, because they just consumed my entire life.

For a long while, at the beginning of my recovery, I was fixated on becoming the 'old' me again. I wanted to be just the way I used to be and go back to normal, as if nothing had ever happened to me. I wanted to be just as funny, as carefree and bubbly as I always used to seem, but what I hadn't realised is that, I had in fact changed a hell of a lot. I had grown into another person, despite the fact it had felt like time had stood still for 2/3 years. Even though I still felt like I was 15 years old, I was now nearly 18 and no longer a silly, giggly teenager, but a young woman, who had just been through hell and back.

I had to realise it was okay to start feeling again, and to also almost start a completely new life. It was okay for me not to feel like the 'old' me, because I was going to evolve into a 'new' me, who could now define them-self in a million new ways. I didn't have to go back to how I was, because I was moving forwards now - not backwards or standing still - I was moving forwards.

It's true that, when you're in the depths of it, you feel like there's no escape and there will be no 'happy' days, but it's that one little instant where you decide you want to fight back that completely changes everything. Every day after that allows a little bit of something else to break through the cracks, and before you know it, it's 365 days later and you're smiling and starting to feel again.


I know that it seems like a light year away if you're not already there yet, because I've been there. You feel like screaming 'what's the point?' or 'why am I even trying?', but you HAVE to keep trying. Each day adds up - that's something I've truly come to realise. It's the small things that happen each day that build you up into a stronger and happier person over time. 

I think, until I looked at an old photo and was reminded of that mindset that I used to have, I still thought that I felt in a similar way. I still thought I had that same level of hurt and pain going on in my head. And, don't get me wrong here, I can for sure say that I often feel pretty 'depressed' or have some damn right shitty thoughts, but in comparison to that 'old' me, they truly don't compare. 

My thoughts were on a different level back then, my emotions were so much more 'confused' or 'numb' and I had no skills or ability to fight off any of the twisted things that I'd be feeling.

"When life puts you in tough situations, don't say "Why me?", say "Try me.""

We all get there eventually. Even if it takes us 30/40 years, we're all going to get to that point where we can define ourselves without the pain and become the people that we never thought we'd get to be. As difficult as it may seem, and as hard as it is to imagine, that one day you will be able to define yourself without that hurt or without mentioning your mental illness, you will. 

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