“This year I met the most broken version of me, but also the strongest.”

There are times in life that we never forget, most of them good – the first kiss, the graduation, the first job, the wedding day, the day we welcome a new-born into our lives. However, sometimes there are bad times that we never forget and we never talk about enough, because somehow in our society it is much more appropriate and acceptable to commemorate the good times, but not the bad ones.

“This year I met the most broken version of me, but also the strongest.” – That’s why, I want to take the chance with the year-end fast approaching to commemorate both the worst and the best, because that’s life – a palette of colours with each brush stroke interspersing more and more until it all becomes blurry, the good and the bad hand in hand, not in opposition.

I will never forget walking behind my mother at the airport and feeling like this 8-year-old again that’s about to be abandoned forever. But I will also never forget the first day in my life I woke up and realised that my mother actually loves me (taking me almost 30 years to get there).

I will never forget the countless nights when my demons were stronger than me and kept me awake in petrifying fear that I didn’t even understand at the time. And then the mornings which made me feel so afraid of my own mind and lack of control of it all, that I felt that I could only survive curled up in bed. But I will also never forget that every morning, without a fail, I eventually got out of this bed, even when it felt unsafe and impossible. I will never forget the strength it took to take this first step out of bed and allow some positivity to come, be it from food, from being surrounded with people that loved me, from small moments that made me smile, from the enormous gratitude that I always felt that even though it was very very bad at the time, it wasn’t any worse than that.

I will never forget how bad the first ever antidepressant pill I took made me feel to the point that it was telling me that everything is so hopeless that I have to kill myself. But I will also never forget how brave I was for trying another one that allowed me to gradually gain a bit of control over my brain and allowed me to laugh so hard that my stomach hurts, which hasn’t been happening for years.

I will never forget how bad my physical health got, to the point that I couldn’t walk for half a mile without feeling like I am going to faint, puke and die all at once. I will never forget the fear and hopelessness that came with this, I will never forget hearing from every direction how my condition has no cure and 95% of people never recover, so I better not even try. But I will also never forget how one day I was thinking to myself ‘I am an INFJ ffs, we are so rare that there are only 1.5% of people in the world that share our personality traits, I can easily be in this 5%.’ I will never forget the strength and determination to keep going and searching for answers and doctors whilst my fatigue was getting worse and worse and I was feeling like the vitality was leaving my body with every passing day. I will never forget the day I actually found a doctor and then another one. I will never forget the day I finally got my answers and a treatment plan. I will never forget the day I started to feel one tiny bit better and felt the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning the first time I could do stretches in the morning for 5 minutes without fainting.

I will never forget fearing for my long-term partner’s life during a medical emergency and actually feeling like I am losing the ground under my feet, because if he dies, I die. I will never forget how my anxious brain managed to convince me that this is it, we are all going to die and I will never live to see my dreams come to life. But I will also never forget that this was the first time in my life that I actually thought of my life as valuable and worth living. I have felt like I had a death wish all my life and having existential fears was a first.

I will never forget not seeing my mother for a year and a half and the loneliness and the pain that came with it. But I will also never forget hugging her for the first time in such a long time and being beyond grateful that we are all okay and she can be here with me.

I will never forget fighting with my partner to an extreme and actually thinking and feeling that I cannot continue my life with this person. But I will also never forget the first days in years that I felt like we were just young students in love again. I will never forget the time I felt that I can finally see the person that I fell in love with returning. I will never forget this bringing me so much hope that I started fantasizing about having 5 kids and a big circus-like family.

I will never forget seeing my worthiness through my loved one’s eyes.

I will never forget believing in myself and my dreams for the first time.

I will never forget valuing my life as much.

I will never forget the fear and the hope hand in hand, two unlikely companions that are actually always a part of our existence here on Earth. I will never forget that for the first time in my life I actually saw them as partners and not enemies.

I will never forget the year that I learned that love always wins, things sometimes turn out okay, even when they seem horrifying, and the good and the bad can coexist as long as we allow them to.

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