Time really is the greatest healer
"Why is it that I find it so hard to deal with the fact that I was so ill?" I asked my psychologist last week, eyes on the floor. "How come I can almost talk about my time at school these days with just a tinge of anxiety, yet I can barely look at a picture of myself or recall a memory from two years ago when I had my breakdown without crying?" Of course, I put it far less eloquently than that.
"It's simple," she replied. "How long ago were you at school?"
"Errr... eight years ago."
"And how long ago was your breakdown?"
"Two years ago."
"There's your answer." It dawned on me then that I had been given a solution to the anxieties I had been facing. Or, at the very least, I had been given the comforting reassurance that I wasn't going too far wrong.
I said once (on this very blog I believe) that we can heal from a traumatic event pretty quickly. Days or weeks later, we are able to function again. It's the inner damage that takes the longest time to fix. A few weeks on medication, and you can feel pretty calm after a period of mental illness. I did, at least. Apart from the inevitable ups and downs, i've been on an incredibly positive journey since then. These days, i'm fairly confident. I'm able to be myself, and i'm even starting to perform my own music live. I'm not afraid to make new friends or share my 'unique' personality with others, and i'm at a generally great place in my life.
In many ways, it's this journey that screws us all over. A good friend of mine once said that you don't know how bad things were until they are better. Perhaps the biggest battle we face is coming to terms with the fact that our bad times happened. Looking back at that person we were and accepting the past is a part of us.
The great thing about time is that it allows us to understand that both our good and bad moments contributed to all of the good things about who we are and where we are today. Listening to songs written during my period of depression is difficult for me right now, but one day I hope to appreciate my work from afar and be proud that I kept creating even when my world was crumbling like the first bourbon in a packet of value bourbon biscuits.
Sometimes I want to delete those songs I wrote. Life is good now, so why associate myself with negativity? The thing is, if you don't embrace yourself and your life as a whole, you will never move forward. So today I say that I am proud of how far I have come, and I am finally learning to love myself. If you listen to any old songs on my SoundCloud page with a gaunt-looking picture of me as the artwork, remember that they were essential to my recovery. However sad they sound, they each contain an inner layer of joy — joy that I was surviving. Joy that I survived.
I hope that both I and anyone else who has been through a difficult time can one day use the things that once made us feel weak and vulnerable to feel strong and empowered instead.
Here's to the good times.