Living with a Mental Illness: Grieving for your former self

I used to be fearless.

I remember when I used to completely be myself without a second thought. I would find myself in many social situations completely at ease. I used to be able to go where I want, do what I want without my small inside voice saying anything.

Now I even struggle to leave the house spontaneously.

When we live with a mental illness we are becoming a different person through the process. We learn to adapt, we learn to grow and in the end we do end up becoming a different person.

I am not at the point yet where I completely love the person I have become, and that’s okay. I miss my old self. I miss having no fear. I miss being able to go out with my friends and not be wishing to be able to go home the entire time. I used to be the last person out – now I’m the first person to leave.

My living situation has changed so this has also impacted the change. I have a young dog and a full-time job so I am very less likely to be out until late every night.

But this isn’t just about socialising. Professionally I used to be fearless too. When I was 23 I was training to become a teacher, I would walk into a room full of grumpy teenagers and own that room. I used to be so confident.

Now, I hope I can walk into a room without anyone noticing. I wake up in the morning and hope that things go okay so no one thinks I’m a failure.

I’m working on my self-esteem and confidence, but that doesn’t happen overnight and I’m pissed off at my former self just had that confidence. How did she do that? How was she able to just do what she wanted? Did she not get scared at all?

I know the idea that I’m jealous of myself is ridiculous, but I am. She had it so bloody easy and I wish she knew how lucky she was, but she was great.

But shes gone.

And I need to make peace with that and realise that the new me is amazing in her own way too.

Without my depression and anxiety ECBC wouldn’t exist. My friendships I have now wouldn’t be so strong as now I am able to be more open and more empathetic.

I am allowing myself to grieve, but I do need to move on and accept that it’s time to embrace a new Emma and a new life. Just as I write these words I do feel emotional as part of me wishes I could click my fingers and go back to how I was.

But that’s not possible.

I still need to learn to fully love myself. It’s going to take time but I will get there.

Goodbye old Emma, hello new.

Does this post relate to how you live with your mental illness? Please share below.

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9 thoughts on “Living with a Mental Illness: Grieving for your former self”

  1. I have a chronic illness and also struggle with grieving my old, active self. It’s a tough thing to deal with. I try to think of it as getting a second chance to create a new life ,but that doesn’t always fly on the hard days. My best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello friend. Thank you for being brave enough to write this. I know it’s hard to adjust to a new normal, but you’re stronger than you think. And I know that sounds trivial coming from a stranger on the internet, but it’s true. Be kind to yourself, and give yourself the space you need to adjust. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to be so bubbly and theatrical and now I’m the opposite. It’s hard to accept the loss of the old you, but I think that going through depression and mental illness makes you a kinder, more considerate, person. Afterall, you sharing your story here is bound to help someone! The new you is wonderful too

    Ash | https://thisdreamsalive.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is difficult to let go of things that have slipped us by. We want to hold on but holding on, I think, holds us back. I love that you are opening up your new self. Opening up leads to learning new things about yourself; change leads to growth.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Even though there may be obstacles that we face, we need to do whatever we can to still live our best lives. Although you are living with mental illness, you have better friendships now than ever. You are also a stronger person. As long as we are aware of what’s going on and work our way through, we are winning. πŸ™‚

    Nancy β™₯ exquisitely.me

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 4 years ago, I would have been able to leave the house spontaneously without a second thought, now I can’t do that at all.. I’m slowly getting there again and now having more good days than bad, but it’s hard to accept the fact that it’s going to take a long time to learn how to live with this. Great post x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This sounds so familiar. Sometimes I miss the person I was. Whilst I have challenged myself to do things outside my comfort zone and usually I fight through the fear, I miss the times I never had to think about it. Like you say, I just did. I hate having to think about my mental health or saying ‘no’ to things on occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

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