|I've been on this planet for around nineteen years now, and it's crazy to think that for the majority of that, I wasn't happy, but it's true. You're welcome to call it over dramatic or exaggeration, but the truth is you don't know, you aren't me, and I'm not you and barring some "freaky Friday" scenario, we will never live with each other's past, present and future. I just want to kick things off by saying that I don't blame you, I don't blame anyone or anything, I don't even blame myself for what has happened. I used to, though, and that's why I could never be truly happy. I'm not going to tell you about what has happened to me in the past because frankly, it's not relevant. All I ask of you is that you listen to what I have to say now because yesterday doesn't matter and neither does tomorrow.
From six years old to the early months of me turning nineteen, I was suffering. I was angry, furious even. I felt so betrayed and felt as though I could never feel like a human being. It never worried me that I would turn out being a "bad" or bitter person, I worried about how detached I was from the rest of the world. I managed to keep a lid on my problems and emotions for so long that it soon started to become the norm; that was never the case.
You see, there were too many of my immediate family who I deemed overly emotional and so I felt as though I had to be the strong one. What I've realised is that you are only as strong as you feel, and I never did. The exact same thing is concerned when it comes to bravery, I was told "how brave" I'd been but I didn't feel it. I was not strong. I was not brave. I acted strong. I even acted brave, but inside I was weak. Inside I was broken. I was but a mere shadow, a shadow with a great personality mind you, but a shadow nonetheless.
I suppose things came full tilt during those early months of university life in which the substance abuse levels became far too extreme. I'm not an addict of any kind and I never have been nor will be, the truth is I'm pretty substance tolerant. The real sadness comes from the reasons behind the constant "getting on it"; I was doing it to forget about me, to stop feeling anything. Of course things got progressively worse from that moment on as I began to hit "rock bottom". I stopped going to lectures, laid in my bed most days and I couldn't sleep or eat sufficiently anymore. I lost all motivation for existing. The reality is that I never would have hurt myself, but I purposefully or subconsciously placed myself in dangerous situations that may have ultimately led to my death.
Some people knew something was wrong whereas others had no clue and this was when I realised who my true friends were. They tried to help and support me the best they could as did family, but sadly that wasn't enough. For you see, I'd been living my life for everyone else anyway so the only way I could be "saved" was if I did the rescuing. It's fair to say that it took me a while to get there; I missed Christmas, New Years and even Birthday celebrations (arguably the worst six months of my life). I tried doctors, online help, distractions like work and exercise, but none of it really helped. It wasn't until around March/April when I started to feel even just a bit normal again. The funny thing is I won't say that "I got back to being myself" because the truth is I don't believe that. I believe instead, that I finally started to find myself. Life is forever changing and evolving and I think that as each day goes by, each and everyone of us are constantly finding out new and wonderful things about ourselves which is just phenomenal.
What did I do to change my fortunes? Nothing too drastic really, I just learned how to say "no", I turned up a bit later to gatherings and events, I basically did my own thing at my own pace without any real interference.
For example, as I write this to you, I am on board a train heading for Venice (my favourite place in the world) as part of a solo eurotrip. All I can think about right now is soaking up the sun and paddling along the city in a boat. I never would have done this six months ago, but the fact that I'm here and I'm doing it makes me so happy and proud. I'm doing this for me and nobody else and that's even more satisfying. I've learned so much about myself in just this last week alone and I expect to find out even more.
I hope I never hit such a low point in my life ever again, and for some reason I don't think I will. I have no reason to be unhappy right now and that's all I'm focused on.
I used to be a shadow, a shadow follows and simply exists as a purpose for another being. My life is my purpose now because I am a person. A shadow no more.
Thanks for listening