We all become a different person at some point in our lives. We grow, we change, we evolve. We learn more, we appreciate more, we move forward, or we keep looking back. But nothing is a more significant catalyst than hardship.
For some people, that hardship is an event contained within a certain time frame - grieving in the wake of death, a life crisis, things like that. For me, however, hardship has always been an ongoing thing. I suffer from chronic major depressive disorder in conjunction with some anxiety disorders. I didn't receive treatment until I was 21 years old, but I had already been struggling for nearly 10 years at that point in my young life. As happens with so many people, I had to hit rock bottom before I could begin to move forward. What I didn't anticipate was having to rebuild my entire life, and spending years seeking wellness.
I suppose it was naive of me to think that I would emerge from a mental breakdown as the same person I was before. I had been a very devout Catholic for a few years before I broke down. I took to Catholic theology like a fish to water, absorbing and breathing in all I could. My intellect made me very adept at theological pursuits. I endeavoured to be a good Catholic, but now, on the other side of it all, I see that I only became devout because I was running away from an aspect of myself that I had never liked or felt comfortable with. As I finally admitted that to myself, I was able to become the person I had been running from all along - my "real" self, the "true" self that I had been avoiding and denying for many, many years.
This is an issue that I will treat in several entries to come. I may perhaps write a series, because it is a difficult and convoluted subject to disseminate. The thing that really matters is this: I have found more peace and freedom allowing myself to finally be the person I was once afraid of, than I ever found as a Catholic-on-the-run. The woman who arose from the ashes of my former life was the woman I was born to be, for better or for worse. It has been difficult, and my struggles with hardship are ongoing. Some days are better than others. I still have days where I cannot get out of bed, or where I cannot see the point of even going about the simplest of quotidian activities - showering, brushing teeth, even brushing hair.
My hope is that I will eventually have more good days than bad, and that I will eventually be able to feel like a fierce, glorious phoenix rising from the ashes, shedding all that holds me down and rising to meet my dreams with open wings. Sometimes I fear that it isn't possible, but I am slowly learning to be more positive in my outlook. I am also learning how to take control of my life and begin to make things happen for myself.
One foot in front of the other, one by one.