I feel very lucky that I have the recovery resources available to me that I do. Between the medication, a strong support system between family and friends, and the various self-care tools I’ve developed, I feel very lucky. Yet the past me, the me that didn’t have all those things, sometimes haunts me.
As I move through my recovery, I am looking back in shame at the person I was before I got into recovery. In particular, I know there were interactions I had with people that we concerning or hurtful to them. I can apologize, I can work on myself and grow, but I can’t take back those moments or the impact of those words. It hurts, and is something I still struggle with. Now I know there is a light beyond the darkness, but I struggle with how I was when the darkness was all I knew.
I don’t think this makes me unique among those who are recovering from mental illnesses. Indeed, the self-awareness I have of the differences between me, myself, and my past I is itself a sign of the recovery. Yes, recovery as it turns out has opened more things that I need to process and unpack in order to truly understand myself. And that is okay.
Recovery is a journey, and a very non-linear journey at that. Sometimes the past comes crashing into the present, as dark memories of who you used to be threaten to impact who you are today. And that is okay. Because you aren’t that person anymore, but their story is also a part of your story, a part of your story that lets you grow and heal and move beyond the darkness.
I am ashamed of my past self. But that persons story is part of my story, part of the story of how I became who I am today, someone who is in a much better place. And that’s not nothing.