Sinking, then swimming. 

One year ago, I was very depressed. Not for any specific reason. I just simply hated myself.

There is really no other way to put it. I have been “skinny” my entire life, and after my surgeries last year I gained a lot of weight. More than I’d like to admit. It was a combination of a lot of things (medication, eating, not being able to move well, fatigue..)

I felt disgusting, gross, fat, ugly and just completely sad. I didn’t want anyone to see me. All the things that I had loved, I absolutely hated doing. I didn’t want to see my friends, go outside, swimming, no where at all.
I wanted to sleep, eat and repeat. That’s all I wanted to do. My legs were swelling very badly, my compression stockings were too small so they caused deep tissue wounds behind my knees. (You could see my tendons.)

It wasn’t good. I wasn’t healthy. I was pale, swollen, uncomfortable, tired and miserable.
I can blame me being, depressed on lots of things, but I’m not going to. It wasn’t because of just one thing. It wasn’t because of me, being paralyzed. Not at all.

It straight up had to do with myself. I would look in the mirror and cry. I would wonder “where I went?”

Where did that happy girl go?

My spinal fusion, at that point had “ruined” my life. I couldn’t move well anymore, and most of my medications made me constantly starving.

I wasn’t depressed in the way of crying constantly, not talking to anyone kind of way. It was like I was drowning and no one could help me, no one saw me. I was alone and I couldn’t see which way was up. But I knew I could swim but I was too weak to move.
I was never suicidal and I wasn’t alone. I had hundreds of people to talk to, but I felt like maybe I was just tired, or I was being over dramatic.

It’s hard to describe how I felt then, it’s not like how everyone describes depression to be. I was never clinically diagnosed, I never saw a therapist. I wasn’t constantly crying, or in my bed, I actually didn’t really cry, ever. It wasn’t like the commercials. I just simply hated myself.
But, one day I woke up and decided it was time to breathe. I realized everything is a gift, and so am I. I realized, I am not defined by my weight or how I look. I realized I could’ve been dancing all along. I just had to get up and slowly but surely love myself again.
I look back at a year ago, and I’m proud of myself. I recovered all by myself. I never took any medication, I did it. “I was heart broken, scared, I was worried, I felt weak, and I had no idea how I was ever going to come up with the strength. But I just closed my eyes, and took a blind leap. I knew I had to get out of there.”
Lots of people saw me as a perfect, positive, “role model” but I wasn’t and I’m not. Although I’m not depressed anymore, I’m a real person who gets sad and afraid. But it’s not constant anymore.
Now I laugh, I laugh for real. My family tells me my light in my eyes are back again. My eyes twinkle and I smile and I fall back laughing. I look up at the sky and thank God I’m alive. I’ve come out of a lot of darkness.

But, you need to go through some dark times to see the light. And that’s exactly what this last year has taught me.
I found hope. I got up and started eating healthy, I started hanging out with my friends, I go outside as often as possible, and I enjoy life again.
I wouldn’t say I gave up, I just was a little down for a bit but I got through it. I’m not broken. I did it, And so can you. Little by little, day by day, I saw the sunshine, I loved Monday mornings because no one else does, I hugged my brothers tighter and I loved myself and everyone else deeper. One day at a time, I found myself again. And I can truly say I missed her.

I might not be able to change the entire world, but I can change the entire world in me. I realized worrying, won’t stop the bad stuff from happening it just stops you from enjoying the good. And let me tell you, there is so much good.


 The left pictures are last summer, and the pictures on the right are now, 2015.