I don’t like disclaimers. At all. But I just have to say that I’ve been putting off the release of this piece for a month. It’s scary, so please be gentle and read the whole piece before commenting. Thank you all for your support.

This past year has been one of the weirdest in my entire life. As a person, I’ve probably grown more in the last 12 months than I have since I developed a slight personality at 15. Before then, I was an obedient christian boy, but that’s another story.

If it wasn’t clear already, writing has been an extra struggle this year. As of this moment, there are more articles and stories in my drafts than uploaded to my site. Before I broke up with my ex, I thought I knew who I was, but the reality is that I had fooled myself once again into believing that I was anything special. When shit got rough I was just another loner who genuinely wanted out of life.

My façade fell and I realised that I really was broken. Girlfriend or not, there was something fundamentally flawed inside of me that could never be fixed and I, Blake Ryan was broken. At least, that’s what I told myself. Turns out I was mostly wrong.

Let me explain. Depression probably hit me at around the age of eight. I say probably because I’ve never been clinically diagnosed. Personally I could never stomach a single doctor or psychologist enough to make it official, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem with therapy. In all honesty I actually think everyone needs a little therapy, I’m no exception; I just can’t afford it…and maybe have some lingering trust issues that I’m unsure how to work around.

Either way, I constantly felt like I wasn’t good enough; that my life wasn’t worthwhile and nothing could change that. If I’m being honest I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that things changed. It probably had something to do with discovering my life’s purpose. It probably helped that I have a new creative outlet that I’m even more passionate about than writing. Whatever happened, it’s put me at this exact moment, writing this piece about how I don’t hate myself anymore while sitting on a public toilet, trying in vain to temporarily escape a family dinner. Maybe that last part wasn’t relevant.

I got a tattoo to mark my new discovery and every day it’s a reminder that I’ve chosen to live. Hell, nobody asked if I wanted to live, but I decided that life was worth a shot, that I was worth a shot. Maybe that’s why my self esteem improved once I’d figured that part out. If life is more powerful than death, then my value is determined by my own decision to stick around. Controversial I know, but if I can still find value in myself, despite knowing all my flaws and previous self-hatred, that has to mean something.

This post hasn’t been as straight-forward as I’d like, but that’s because I can’t simply say, “I used to loathe myself and now I don’t”, because it’s so much more than that. For so long I thought that there was something fundamentally wrong with me and it stripped my self-worth away. Ironically, part of the healing process involved the acceptance of the casual way I think about my own death. That’s a story for another day, but this helps me get to my overall message.

To start my healing I needed to accept the parts of myself that were sometimes looked at disapprovingly. I needed to accept the version of myself behind the façade. Most of all, I needed to actively choose life, give myself a reason to want the time ahead of me. I know all of this sounds like a “just think positively” speech, but I promise that it’s not. Each component has it’s own story and journey that I’d love to talk about at another time. Right now I just want to say that sometimes I’m not okay, but at least now I know that I want to stay here. For a little while at least.

Edit update: I thought this was a good time to demonstrate the fact that my recovery isn’t over. As of this moment, I am officially feeling the worst I have since my panic attacks at the start of the year, or maybe my post-purpose discovery depressive episode in July. Stay strong, shit ain’t perfect, but doesn’t hang around forever.

Proof-reading update: As a further update now that I’ve read this garbage twice, I’ve managed to wrangle the limited positivity that remains in my head and bring it to the surface. Thank you and goodnight.

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