We don’t have to, and can’t be, an old version of ourselves

I was reading on tumblr about how “recovery” is often pushed as a reclaiming of who you were pre-depression, trauma, etc., but if you have been mentally ill, traumatized, etc. since childhood there is no “before”. But there can be a new person. You’re already a new person.

And I was thinking about that, about how that way of viewing recovery makes no sense to begin with unless you are very very temporarily depressed (maybe a few months).

No one is the same as they were five years ago. You can never be an old you.

And it’s hard to find hope in re-becoming a person you once were, because that is impossible no matter how sick or well you are. You don’t just go on pause while you’re mentally ill, that is part of your life, part of your story, whether being ill ends or not.

There are also just dissociated, unhelpful feelings involved when there never was a pre-trauma version of you, and this makes people feel even more alienated, being told that they have to find and present some non-existent version of themselves because healthy people stay the same, happy person — but the reality is that everyone changes.

So really, I think the hopeful thing, the healing thing, is that we can become happier people, more comfortable people, more well people — new versions of ourselves, something that literally everyone does, just often with fewer obstacles. It’s way less alienating and disconnected from reality.

I feel horrible trying to become the person I used to be — But I feel hopeful about becoming a new version of me, about entering new phases of my life, about learning to cope and finding ways to live a life I don’t have to cope with, about putting together all the pieces of me that I’ve picked up along the way, creating myself, healing, growing.

That makes me feel like I’m just another person. We’re all growing. Not all of us are healing, not all of us are grappling with mental illness or physical illness…But we’re all growing and reshaping ourselves.

I feel hope in the idea of building a new life, rather than trying to catch up on one I’m not living anymore. I find hope in letting go of that life, and embracing a new one — and a new me. A me that doesn’t have to nervously search for a version of me that was ever ok. A me that doesn’t have to be anything but what I am. A me that embraces the lovely people in my life and accepts that maybe they really care about me, scars and all. That’s hope for me — and maybe that’s hope for you too. You don’t have to be an old version of you. You don’t have to become completely well and/or normal to live. You are living right now. You are valid, and I bet you are loved.

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