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An Unfair Life Isn't a Bad One

I’ve been plaguing myself lately with the notion of “fair.” I find myself dwelling on this being fair or that not being right. I get upset when I think about all the other 23-year-olds who seem to be having the time of their lives — the ones who wear what they want and eat what they want and do whatever (or whomever) they want. The ones who seem to have it all figured out. I’ve always envied the freedom they seem to have that obligation seemed to keep beyond my reach.

When I was 15 I was admitted into the hospital for depression. When I was 17, I went back. Self hatred haunted me and everything I did. I was convinced I had no purpose.

When I was 18, about a month before my high school graduation, I had half of my thyroid removed due to what was later determined to be thyroid cancer. My dreams of going to an out-of-state college (the only ones I applied to) came to a screeching halt. I thought the surgeries would be the hard part, but they were just the beginning. In addition to the countless trips to the doctor and endless trips to the pharmacy, I was more depressed than I’d ever been. I was exhausted beyond belief, and my already-low metabolism plummeted even more. I had a full-time school schedule and could physically feel myself becoming a recluse – I was drowning. Due to the fluctuating hormone levels and an already not-so-great set of habits, I gained almost 60 pounds in a year. I felt worthless.

When I started losing weight last year, I felt like I was finally regaining control over my life. For the first time in my life I felt pretty. People called me beautiful! (Me? Beautiful?) I was floored. This is what I had been missing out on!

Then, when I moved across the state, I seemed to hit a major plateau. Suddenly, all of the confidence I had built over the course of the year before disappeared. If I wasn’t losing weight, was I still worth anything at all? I reverted into the person I was before: The person who didn’t want to look in the mirror, the person who was just faking it for the sake of others.

I began thinking of myself as someone with the world against her. Someone who couldn’t get ahead regardless of the effort she put in. Someone who was just simply “unlucky.”

But that’s not true.

I am not unlucky. In fact, I’m incredibly fortunate. No, I am not one of those 23-year-olds who can wear a bikini without thinking twice (and I may never be). I’m not one of those 23-year-olds who gets to go to every music festival or on every spring break trip. I’m not an Instagram model or a person who gets hundreds of likes on a Facebook post. I don’t have the most expensive clothes or the most extravagant tastes. My boyfriend doesn’t shower me with gifts, and my dogs don’t eat the most expensive foods.

But that’s OK.

Because what I am is someone who, less than a year after graduation, has a full-time salaried position with a company that inspires me and motivates me. What I am is a 23-year-old who has an incredible boyfriend (partner and best friend) who has stood by my side for the past five years. What I am is a survivor and a fighter. I’m a 23-year-old who has a group of friends I would do anything for… and I know they’d do the same for me.

These are the things the numbers on the scale or in my bank account won’t change. These things do not determine my life or my worth. And at some point I have to accept these truths.

As I write this, my heart pounds with anxiety, and the voice in the back of my head assures me “no one cares.” And… that may be true. But maybe someone, somewhere out there, needs to see this. And maybe that someone is just me, but maybe it’s not.

Progress, like recovery, is not linear.

And that’s OK.

Sometimes I just need a reminder.

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.