Discovering the ‘real’ me
I wanted to talk about today. Because today I realised that maybe the person I thought I was, is not the person that I am. That everything I believed about myself may now not be true, and that’s a very strange feeling. I’ve changed so much in the last year that I sometimes hardly recognise myself. Sometimes I don’t know who ‘me’ is anymore. That’s not necessarily a negative thing. In fact it’s a positive and very exciting place to be. It’s just unfamiliar territory. To be able to visit places, eat foods I never thought I could and meet new people without spending hours worrying about it beforehand!
I’m not going to lie, these last few years have been particularly difficult. I’ve been to some pretty dark and scary places; and felt things that I wouldn’t wish anyone else to feel. There were moments when I felt that my daughters would be better off without me, and that I thought I would always feel this way. But, with the help of my friends, family and some amazing therapy, I slowly pulled myself out of that place. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t a straight route up. But I found the hope, that spark of motivation and I moved towards the light.
It is now, now that I am in this much more positive place, that I have begun to realise that maybe there’s more to me than I thought. That the person I’ve been for all these years might not be the real ‘me’. Before I would often rule out things like applying for new jobs or going to social events; as I’d considered myself to be lacking in confidence, too unassertive or not smart enough. Now I can do these things without worrying about people judging me. I feel like a whole new world has opened up. I’ve got a new job and started a singing club and I love it.
But then I question myself: “Will this last?”, “Surely this isn’t the ‘real’ me”, “What will happen when the ‘real me’ returns?”. I am scared that if I let myself believe in this new me then I’m going to feel stupid, pathetic and totally devastated when I realise that it was all just temporary. Sometimes there is this part of me that wants to run back inside and hide. To be protected from all the scary and negative situations that I could find myself in. I guess because believing in it could set me up for a fall. But I am learning to be open to that. To take a risk. Because I need to take risks sometimes don’t I? Without taking the odd risk, how can we grow? I’ve seen some of the things that I am capable of if I put my mind to it. I don’t want to go back to where I was. I’m scared but I’m beginning to let myself believe that the ‘new me’ is actually just the ‘real me’. The one that’s been hiding inside so long.
There’s a part of me that knows deep down that I am capable, I’ve proved it to myself. Now nothing can be totally the same as it was before; even if I do decide to go back and hide, even if I lock the door. The difference is that now I’ve got the key to that door. I have learnt that being scared and occasionally running back to that safe place is ok. So I guess in some ways things can never ever be as they were; and that’s both exciting and scary in equal measures. I can decide which way I choose to go. I have a choice. I’ve worked hard for that choice. And if I can get there, then so can you. It may take time. It may be hard. But believe in yourself, be kind to yourself and most importantly be your true self.
Melissa is a proud mother of two lovely teenage daughters. She is now a peer support worker who uses her story to help support others in their journey to recovery.