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Two Women, Side By Side

by Caitlin Fladager 2 months ago in recovery
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I need to feel gratitude for the woman on the left.

The photo on the left was taken in January 2019 by my daughter. I remember that day clearly. It was 12pm and I had just woken up.

I was drained, I did not want to live to see the next day. I was not the best mother I could be, in that moment.

The woman on the left was late to pick up her kids from school because she was sleeping, too depressed to remember what time it was and keep track of what needed to happen.

The woman on the left drank for all of the wrong reasons, and probably way too much.

The woman on the left made horrible decisions because, well, she just did not care what anyone thought or how she damaged her relationships.

But ... the woman on the left also started therapy right around the time this picture was taken.

The woman on the left worked hard, cried a lot, lost a lot of friends, and spent many hours in the psych ward at the hospital.

The woman on the left, I have grown to love her.

Because she is how I became the woman I am today.

I am the woman on the right.

Ah, that woman, the one on the right.

She looks happy.

She is happy.

But I cannot forget about where she came from, or how I got here.

I cannot forget WHO she came from.

Looking at these two photos side by side, sitting in the same chair, 2.5 years apart, I feel proud.

I also feel sadness looking at the woman on the left, compared to the woman on the right.

But when I feel sad, and that deep regret, I need to remember that the woman on the right, would not be here today if the woman on the left was not so strong.

You see, that woman two years ago was someone I used to hate.

I would compare myself now to her.

How far I’ve come.

How hard I’ve worked.

How much I’ve gained back.

But the truth is, I need to feel gratitude for the woman on the left.

She may have struggled.

She may have lied.

She may not have been the best mother at the time.

But she was strong.

She was resilient.

She was determined to make it through her depression.

And she did.

So now, instead of looking at these two photos comparing one woman as better than the other, I need to remind myself that both women are me.

Both women are strong, loved, and determined.

I now have so much love for the girl on the left, because without her, I would not be the girl on the right.


About the author

Caitlin Fladager

Mother | Wife | Mental Health Advocate

Telling my "Reel" truth about marriage & motherhood on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok & Vocal

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Comments (16)

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  • Ashlie Cross20 days ago

    I love this. I can relate w/ the last 2 years my life. I felt like your woman on the left... and I've suddenly started to come out of it. You're amazing! And good job kicking depressions a**! Very inspirational.

  • Stephanie about a month ago

    Thanks for your story. It's hard to talk about the inside work. I appreciate your honesty and your kindness to yourself. It's inspiring.

  • Amy Liou2 months ago

    I enjoyed reading this story. Very relatable, as I have been struggling with my mental health for a while too.

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Brave writing. I've gone through some stuff and your piece really resonated with me! Bravo!

  • Alison McKinley2 months ago

    nice story ) thank you

  • Sarah Lacey 2 months ago

    Love the imagery, and the honest voice you use to tell the story :)

  • Subscriber here. I love reading your story.

  • Yasmin Fonseca2 months ago

    The woman on the left is trying her best and that's what counts. Sending you so much love.

  • Clyde E. Dawkins2 months ago

    You are strong and you are fierce! What a powerful story!!!

  • Jeremy Frommer2 months ago

    Real inspirational.

  • Marina Beshara2 months ago

    Thank your sharing such a personal story. It gave me so much motivation to be better and not just look at who I am today and say I will never get better.❤️ So proud of you!

  • Sushma Garg2 months ago

    Excellent story composed in a impressive way the reader is bounded from beginning to end

  • Corinne Jenkins2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your journey <3

  • this one made me cry caitlin. thank you 😘

  • Tracy Willis2 months ago

    I so look forward to reading your stories. They never fail to broaden my understanding and inspire me to dig deeper into my own feelings and perspective. I’ve always followed you on Instagram but am beyond happy to have you here on Vocal.

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