When you go through struggles with mental health you can feel like you have become a completely different person to who you used to be. This is especially hard if you experience mental health issues when you are young. This is the period where your personality and your future are being shaped. When something changes the path of where you thought you were heading, you can get consumed by thoughts of what you would have been like, what you could have been.
Like anything else, this unknown can be worse than reality. Maybe our past made us exactly who we need to be, a better version of ourselves. The problem is that we will never know. We will never know how that old version of ourselves might have turned out and that can drive us crazy.
It can make you resent those experiences that lead to the new version of yourself. It can blind you from all the things that are great about this new version of yourself. It can also leave you in a rut. Instead of working to better ourselves, we can get stuck blaming our past and feeling like things can’t get better. Although mental health can make these changes harder, we can still take small steps to try and get to where we want to go.
It’s totally okay to be upset about the version of ourselves we have lost. It’s also okay to feel sad, angry or resentful about it. But when you feel those things, it can leave you feeling like who you have become is not enough. Acknowledge that loss – but then try to ask yourself two things:
What is good about this new version of myself/what have I gained from my experiences?
What changes can I make to be the person I want to be?
Most of us are really bad at seeing the good in ourselves (and it’s a really hard thing to do!). But if we can make a conscious effort to ask these questions each time we feel like we are not enough, have lost who we were or are not who we want to be, eventually we might start to see not only what we have lost, but also what we have gained. Even though we can’t change our past, we can shape our future.