We see these types of questions everywhere, on job applications, in classes, and even on dating apps and we all answer it the same way. Something like “College student who loves to have fun but also gets work done. I like all music but country and rap and I love dogs.” I think most of us are guilty of generic answer like that, I know I am. But that’s just the mask we wear for the public to see, in reality, there is so much more to who we are.
I think that the number one thing people like to deny and forget about is that our experiences affect who we become. I am a different person than I was in high school, almost three and a half years ago and sometimes I look a the person I have become and I feel remorseful. I remember that girl, but that isn’t me anymore and to a certain extent that saddens me and to another, I feel a sense of accomplishment.
In high school I was an A/B student, the secretary for our National Honor Society, active in drama club, and I volunteered close to fifteen hours a week at a horse rescue, I had numerous friends and found that though I wasn’t “popular” I could fit in with most groups, I had a steady part-time job, and I had my license. But I wasn’t happy then. My family life was absolute hell and probably the only reason I forced myself to get out and volunteer/work/act/make new friends and always have something to do. All that, for the sole reason of never wanting to be at home.
Am I happy now? Yes and no. My struggle with depression has made things difficult. My trauma has resonated with me and I have never quite gotten over it. Sometimes it prevents me from getting out of bed and completing my responsibilities. Sometimes I get so stuck in my depression that I cannot see the joy in any aspect of my life. Sometimes I feel so alone that I thoughts of cutting and causing severe harm to myself come swimming back (though I haven’t self-harmed since early April). Sometimes I stare in the mirror and I cannot stand what I see and I wish that someone else were standing there. Sometimes I fill my tank up and considering driving 400 miles away in any direction and starting a new life where nobody knows me.
But I don’t do these things and the reason is simple, I have made it this far. I know that I am capable finding a way to avoid hurting myself. I know that when I cannot get myself out of bed, there are reasons to consider it again and if I just cannot get up I know that although I am taking steps back in my recovery, there is tomorrow. Just because I failed to get things done one day does not mean I cannot try again. Usually it helps to have something planned out that forces me to get up out of necessity like going to work or making plans with a friend. Unfortunately there is little to help with not finding joy in my life. Fortunately, I always find joy in hearing my boyfriend’s voice on the telephone and my visits with him. I always find joy in my 9-month old cat even though she is a brat. And I always find joy in reading, especially Harry Potter. But currently I am not finding joy in simple things like eating or going for a nice walk. And when it comes to self-esteem issues… all I can say is that I am still working on it.
And despite all this, I still think that I am better off than I was when I was in high school because at that point in my life I could not admit to myself that I had these issues. And when you cannot admit to yourself that something is wrong you cannot do anything to make progress. So it may feel like my life is a total mess at the moment, but I am still growing and things are going to get better. It’s just going to take a lot of dedication as I try to get back on track from my recent triggers.