The last few months have felt very surreal, especially within the last few weeks. A year ago, I wished I was dead. I had just ended my relationship with an abusive ex. How crazy is that? I wished that I could have disappeared, forget the idea of return. Ending things with an ex that I wished I had left six months earlier was the act that pushed me over the edge. I was the unhappiest I could have ever imagined myself being. I had never really experienced depression or anxiety before that change. It taught me that the recovery process after something hard ois much harder than the survival mission itself. You learn to live in such a state for so long that when you’re finally out of it, you have no idea how to respond or react. I dealt with depressive episodes for quite a long time, in fact I still do. And there is that victory lap the second you’re outside of the dark situation for sure. All the weight of trying to survive finally gets lifted off of your shoulders, and you think that “nothing gets better than this”. But then it comes to a screeching halt because that situation or that circumstance is literally all you know, and you don’t know that until you’re there. And it is HARD. Rebuilding a life outside of abuse and pain and confusion was extremely tough. I have a lot of trust issues even still with meeting new people and coming back out of my shell. The recovery process is the hardest thing someone has to do after they survive whatever it is they survived. And that doesn’t get noticed or recognition but it absolutely should. A year later, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I still deal with anxiety and I go through depressed episodes, but I’m happy and put together. I moved out of Utah to go to school in Virginia, and it’s exactly what I needed; a change. And that change managed to change me in the last stages I was waiting to heal in. In December of ‘19 I had written a letter to myself. A letter that said I hope I’d find myself, that I was happy. I hoped that I’d make it, that I’d get over everything I dealt with and grew to be better for it. And I accomplished all of those things. Now I’m with a guy who treats me right, respects me, cares for me and my well-being, who’s patient with me and who sacrifices a lot for me—all things that are still sometimes foreign to me. And I’m even great personally—sure I’ve got some things that come up and I’m definitely not perfect; but I’m happy and healthy. I know what I want and what I’m looking for, what I want to be and what I want to accomplish. My brain is healthy and my heart is healthy. My body is healthy. A year ago, I wished I was dead. A year later, I’ve never been happier with my life. And I’ve never been more excited about the potential ahead of me. Being broken is so hard when you thought you were mended and that it turned out to be not quite true. But the recovery process is also the most beautiful and transformative thing I’ve ever done, and seen others do. I’m meant to keep moving forward. Struggles still happen, relapses still occur, old habits still show up, but it doesn’t mean you move back to square one. It means that you just keep going as you can go. We are not perfect, but we shouldn’t have to be; in fact, we’re not supposed ton be. We should keep living how we choose to live, learning how we choose to learn, and progressing how we choose to progress. We are meant to be strong, beautiful beings, and that process is hard, but it’s also one of the most worth it experiences I’ve ever had.