The Girl I Was Before: a Poem About Mental Health Recovery


Sometimes I wonder about a lot of things.
For example, six months ago, what did people think?
What did people see?
Did I look to them how I saw myself?
Or was there more that they knew somehow?
Because, what I saw in the mirror,
I was sure it would last forever.
When I felt the beat of my broken heart,
I was certain my life had fallen apart.
When I thought of my past hopes and dreams,
All I saw was a failure’s life ending.
Every smile on my face
Was a complete and total fake,
Because the concept of being happy
Had become entirely foreign to me.
But there must have been something else,
Because somehow they could tell
That what looked like a black hole,
Could become a galaxy full of glow.
And every broken puzzle piece,
Could make a beautiful picture when put in place.
The potential that seemed to disappear,
Behind the fog, it was still there.
And everything that was so fake,
Would somehow be genuinely made.
Because foreign languages can be learned
And somehow silent cries are still observed.
The long, confusing, twisting path,
That in my mind was only black,
They knew it was still there.
Even when I was blinded by fear,
They saw the path and the real me
And decided to help set me free.

They picked me up by the hand,
And quietly whispered, “This isn’t the end.
Your story, little girl,
Is a part of this world.
And like it or not,
We won’t let it stop.
Because what you have inside
Can become a glowing light.
So take a little time,
And just give it a try,
Because you have the strength to fight.
And although right now it’s hard to survive,
Soon enough you’ll happily thrive.
So take some time,
And put up a fight.
Seriously, just give it a try.
Because your dark and hurting life
Can turn into a girl who shines and thrives.”

So I said “OK, I’ll try.
I’ll even put up a little fight,
And I might just take a chance,
When everything in me wants to collapse,
To push a little harder,
And move a little further,
Because this can’t be my forever,
So I’ll take a shot at making it better.”

And guess what happened?
I did what I said,
And that wasn’t the end.
Instead it’s how my story began,
Or perhaps that was just the climax.
But either way, my life kept going.
Only I didn’t just survive,
But indeed began to thrive.
The face in the mirror shone a little brighter
As my beating heart felt more together.
And the hopes and dreams that had been there
Never truly reappeared,
But maybe that’s not the idea.

Because it’s not that I now have no hopes or dreams.
Life is never that simple, don’t you see?
They have morphed and they have grown
And these once broken wings now have flown.
The truth is, I’m not the girl I used to be,
Because expecting that is not reality.
None of us are who we used to be.
Neither him or her, nor you or me.
And some might see this as crazy,
But life is truly all about changing.
And there’s always a reason that we’re here,
But that’s not an excuse to not go over there.
“Here” is just one spot on a lifelong road,
And believe it or not, you’re in a different “here” now than just a moment ago.
Because we’re all changing with every breath, every minute and every step.
The thoughts you have right now are different than ever before,
Because whether you see it or not,
There’s something new you’ve learned.
It might be the smallest little thing,
Smaller than you could ever see,
But if we didn’t have atoms,
Life would be nothing.

So, the truth is, I’m not the girl I was before.
But through my scars, there’s so much I’ve learned,
And looking back, I’d so rather be
Who I am now than that past version of me.
By no means am I saying
That I wasn’t the girl they were seeing,
The girl who was deeply buried.
Because who we are may be clouded or fogged,
But that never means that we are gone.
It only means that by the time the fog has cleared,
A different version of us has appeared.
Who we are now shouldn’t last forever,
Because if that were the case, things couldn’t get better.
And dare I even say, my life is better now than just yesterday,
And in the past six months I’ve become OK.
Because of that, I can truly say
That I am genuinely happy today.
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Just as a reminder, I have one more thing to say.
Or maybe even two, if that’s OK.
The first thing I want you to know,
Is that the change in you could affect someone else’s road.
Because, remember those people I had, way back when?
The ones who whispered, “This isn’t the end”?
I know for a fact that something changed them.
Perhaps, they too had to choose if they’d sink or swim.
Or maybe when they saw other’s pain,
They decided to help it go away.
The truth is that I don’t know what it is.
I only know that it exists.
Maybe the day God put them on this earth,
His very reason was to help other’s hurts.
But God changes people’s lives
As He fills their heart and frees their minds.
So they weren’t born the way they are,
And that surely was a huge blessing to my heart.

The last thing I have to say,
Is that you too, can be OK.
This story is mine
And it came from my life.
But I promise it has a meaning that will ring true
For other people, which can include you.
The choice is yours as it was mine.
But I certainly hope you’ll give it a try.
Because all your days of hurting
Can finally add up to something,
And they will change who you are,
Even if they broke your heart.
So put up a fight
For your own life.
You have plenty of time,
And you too can thrive.
Even if the voice inside your head
Is promising this is the end.
Know that mine did too.
So what I hope you’ll do,
Is remind that voice that the author of your story is you.
Sometimes I wonder about a lot of things.
For example, will you set yourself free?

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Thinkstock photo via Sergey_Ko


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