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When People Only Remember Who You Were Before Mental Health Recovery

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I’ll be the first to admit it, I used to be a pretty awful person.

There was a time in my life when I was between being naive and unaware. The (more) awakened person I am now can admit I was just an absolute wreck. I grew to be flaky, and couldn’t explain myself. I was mean to some people. I was trying to cover my tracks for things that weren’t entirely my fault. I was unmedicated and unaware of the damage I was causing. I rolled through peoples’ lives like a tornado. I was a mess, and because I couldn’t figure out what was going on in my own life, I made messes in other people’s lives. I didn’t mean to cause the damage I caused, but it was an unfortunate side effect of being me in a time I wasn’t my best self.

I’m ashamed. I don’t like who I was, but I had no idea I would cause as much damage. I hurt a lot of people I loved, and ruined a lot of (would have been) solid friendships. Granted, I also lost a lot of people who were really unhealthy for me as well, but I also let a few good ones slip out the cracks. I created mistrust in people. I was a loose canon. When I finally realized what I was doing, it was too late for most people — they were long gone. But over the years, I’ve worked hard to mend relationships and to make a better self-image.

I really like the person I’ve become. But that doesn’t mean people magically like me again.

It’s hard to understand that after a personal metamorphosis, people won’t see the change. There’s a point in people’s lives — or more specifically people’s mental journey — when we feel a lot better. We can feel like brand new people in this self-discovery. We want to share it with the world, but oftentimes our former world isn’t there anymore. They’ve moved on. You may have been unhealthy in someone’s life at a point in time, and although you put the work in to be better, it doesn’t change the fact you were unhealthy to someone else.

I didn’t like who I was being, especially without treatment. I wanted to be a better person, and I wanted to be in control of myself once again. I decided to isolate myself, temporarily, and get help so I could work on being a better person. It was the greatest decision of my life, and it helped me learn to love myself — even if it was only a little bit at a time. Change wasn’t easy, but it was at a point it was necessary. Getting help made me change into a person I always wanted to become.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the change has to be for you.

Sure, people can influence change. Losing someone who was once close could be the perfect catalyst to becoming a better version of you. People grow up, and people change. Bullies sometimes become kindhearted people, their victims sometimes become the bullies. But no matter what people do change. But I believe the change has to be for you. The change needs to be for making yourself happy. You can’t always fix the damage you cause, but you can make yourself feel better by becoming better, by getting help or even just by getting rid of negative external forces (even if you used to be one).

I am happy I got better, even if I’m sad over the ones I’ve hurt. Through the lessons I’ve learned, the damage I’ve caused and through the mistakes I’ve made I’ve turned out to be a better version of me.

Follow this journey on Taylor Nicole.

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Thinkstock photo via marzacz.

Originally published: September 14, 2017
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