The other night I sat with my mum as she showed me old pictures of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and of course my parents themselves. It’s so strange to see how a few years ago, things were so different. It’s not every day that you get to look at photos that tell you a story of how life used to be for your family. So that’s what inspired me to do a slight ‘blast from the past’ post showing you how different my life was 5 years ago.
What was I like 5 years ago?
I was still in school and struggling a lot with my inner demons 5 years ago. I was about half way through my first year of sixth form when I decided that staying there would be the death of me. At the time stressing over whether or not I did enough on my essay comparing unrequited love between Gatsby and Daisy, and Cathy and Heathcliff for my English Lit course work, was the be all and end all.
I had little to no friends 5 years ago, and couldn’t manage keeping up with the friends I did have. Looking back, I feel ridiculous because I know now that they are the friends I’ll always have, no matter what. But at the time, I saw a clear divide between them and me. I was self-conscious, timid, shy, and scared of things I would have usually laughed at. I lost myself in school work and YA books so I didn’t have to think about how my mental health was crumbling. I lost myself during that time.
Not to mention my fierce loyalty to One Direction and My Chemical Romance (not that I’m any less loyal, I’m just not as extra as I used to be). My life revolved around literature and music. Those were the only things I could rely on to be a constant in my life. I went to school, came home, saw my dad and brother as often as I could, spent more time with family than friends and went to the occasional concert here and there. That was my life. It wasn’t anything special, and it wasn’t anything traumatic. I don’t want to go into great depth of how crap I felt with my mental health, but I’m sure you guys can only imagine what I was going through. It was as though I was drowning and no one could be bothered to throw me a lifeline, but they couldn’t look away from the mess I had become either.
I’d like to think of myself 5 years ago as the person I had to be in order to become myself now. Others would have probably just called me depressed and a shell of the person I used to be. But where’s the positivity with that outlook on life?
What am I like now?
Flash forward to today, I’m happy. I’m really bloody happy. I still have my demons and I still fight every day and I need to take meds to help with my mental health. But I’m happy. I’m working part time in a theatre, I’m setting up my own business, I’m acting again, I’m writing more, I’m reading more, I have friends I can arrange to go to the pub with and then laugh until we cry. I have a dog, I have a supportive family unit that’s always been there, but somehow I’ve managed to love and appreciate them even more than what I already did. I am Lily and I am happy.
I know what my demons are. I know Horace (my Cyclothymia and overall mental health) can’t hurt me as much as I can hurt him by fighting every day and doing it with a smile on my face. I have lost so many friends, loves, and family members, I am determined to carry on and make them proud of the person I have become and will continue to be. I won’t give up if a bump in the road occurs.
I’m a girl unashamed of loving what she loves, and who she loves. I’m proud of my quirks and my fierce love for Taylor Swift and Brendan Urie. I’m proud of the fact I will still get excited when 5 Seconds of Summer release new songs and tour dates. I’m proud that I’ve learnt that there is nothing to be ashamed of if you like something or someone. I have learnt that it’s the little things in life that make it worth living. I don’t have time for people that make me feel ashamed or less than for liking a certain type of music, TV show or fashion. I am me and I am happily unashamed.
How did I feel 5 years ago?
In all honesty, I felt awful 5 years ago. I was alone and struggling with my mental health. I wanted to die on a daily basis and would often use different ways to self-harm. I was angry, sad and confused all in one and it was a very difficult time for me to live through. As you can probably already tell by everything I mentioned above, life wasn’t too good for me. And that’s all I can really say about how I felt 5 years ago without repeating everything previously said.
How do I feel now?
I’m not going to lie and make out that my life is perfect now that I’ve lived through the hardship of mental health and without the diagnosis of Cyclothymia up until two years or so ago. But I will be brutally honest with you – I’m a lot better. I feel a lot better, probably the best I’ve ever felt. Do I think I can feel even better in the future? Of course! Have you ever met anyone that’s truly happy with where they’re at in life? If you have, they probably went through a lot of things to get there. Of course, a then and now article wouldn’t be complete without a few (rather embarrassing) photos showing the difference between Lily from 5 years ago and her today.
How do you think you’ve grown from who you were 5 years ago? I hope that you evolved into the person you wanted to be and that the past you would be proud of the way you ended up 5 years later.