I Am Not My Past By Mel Fick

If I had been asked to write this story a year ago, it probably would have been very different than the one I’m about to write. The events are still the same, but the way I look at my story has changed significantly. 

I warn that this story may trigger some people, and it may have point of views that contradict how others may think. But it may also make sense to some, help some, and give friends or family of others some insight or a new way of looking at things.

Either way, this is my story. This is the path my life has taken and that means it is seen through my eyes and my experiences. 

I spent my younger years as a people pleaser, and this resulted in often feeling lost, not feeling really connected to anyone, and lonely. As I got older this need to people please lead me to lose my own identity in order to be who others wanted me to be. 

Losing who I was led to fake friends, reckless behaviour and depression.

I should also mention that I grew up in a family (immediate and extended) that did NOT talk about feelings, struggles, ask for help, or acknowledge that you weren’t okay. 

By the time I was 18 my loss of self, need to please people and the inability to even know how to talk about my troubles had gotten so bad that I was suffering from severe depression.

This was back in the 90’s when there was a major stigma around all things mental health, it was something no one talked about. 

I felt that, there was no hope for me, no one liked me for who I was, I was an outcast, I was a failure, I was a burden on my family and I was fat and ugly (I was probably 98lbs).

I had come to the realization (yes that’s how it felt, like a reality) that to unburden my family, release my “friends” from their connection with me, and prevent ruining anything else or anyone else’s lives there was only one option. Remove myself from the world. 

*Trigger warning*

So I planned it all out, and when the time came I sent the wheels in motion. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, and I ended up lying in bed or with my head over the toilet for the next 2 days.

As I look back at it now I question if I ever thought it would actually happen (I did think I was a failure after all), because I didn’t write a note, and I didn’t tell anyone.

I also didn’t tell anyone about it for about 10 years. The few days after the attempt at my life, my parents assumed I had the flu.

Then things changed:

I met a friend of a friend and she told me her story with strength, and without fear of stigma. And for the first time, I felt comfortable telling my story to another human being. 

Once I told my story it no longer controlled me, it was no longer a shame I was carrying, because as I told my story other people confided in me their stories and I learned that I wasn’t alone. But, I allowed my story and the healing that came with it to become who I was. I became a survivor; I became someone who beat depression.

The only problem with this was something I learned from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits “Habits are the way you embody identity, True habit change is really an identity change”. This brought me to realize that I wasn’t truly healing from my past because I was allowing it to be my identity, I was someone with depression, I was a suicide survivor. When I changed who I identified as: I was Melissa, I was a human being, one who sometimes has bad days, and is in touch with my emotions and welcomes them, and I am not my past. I became just that. I moved forward with my life and truly began to heal. 

Not every day is perfect, but every day is what I make it. 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Elsje Zwart

    Thanks, Melissa, for sharing your story with such forthrightness. Bravo! You are enough. – Elsje

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