I don’t remember much about a good few years around early adulthood. That ever-present fogginess of deep depression has removed so many memories and put up an opaque screen between the rest of them.
I was prompted earlier to remember some of that time and I only get glimpses. It’s a little easier when I go earlier rather than right in the thick of it – around 2015. Because of all that removed time it doesn’t seem so long ago, but 8 years before 2023 is significant. 18 is almost a lifetime ago.
I was anxious, yes, and depressed, that too. Recently out to myself and some others and enduring the chaos that surrounds that. Maybe it seems a little petty now. I wish I could reassure myself that some things would turn out okay. Others wouldn’t.
Ironically, the relationships that at the time were all on the rocks (family) would all stabilise and get better. Meanwhile, the new friends I was enjoying the company of, who were supportive, I’d lose sometime in the depression-storm of 2016.
That will hurt, as will losing the relationships with people I had gained in the first year of uni, just like the loss of high school relationships before. “Get ready for that,” I’d say. “You’re going to lose so many more over the years.” That wouldn’t be reassuring. It still hurts.
I’d really like to tell myself that there will never be a Eureka moment that you’re sure you’re trans. Eventually you’ll realise you haven’t questioned it in a while, and that’ll give you a spark of joy. But I still wish for anyone questioning that you could just take a quiz to give you the answer. Just a single question to ponder that makes you sure, once you’ve answered it, if you’re on the right track.
But in that regard, I was on the right track, and still am.
I’d probably say to not be scared of taking medication. The first thing I try (lexapro) wouldn’t be the best. So hold tight when you adjust that dosage because that’ll give you a two-week period of the greatest depths of despair. Just pull through that and it’ll help. Talk to your doctor.
I couldn’t lie and say the worst times weren’t yet to come. I was going to drop out of uni, then come back after some time off (and experiencing Mutual Obligations Hell). There’d be more friends there to meet and lose again.
There’ll be uncountable disappointments, and I don’t think I’d be able to assure past me that I’ll achieve any of my dreams. It would help a little to know that I’d have new dreams and achieve some of those ones.
“Love yourself a little bit. It’ll get easier to do that, but you have to try.”
That might help to hear. As will “you’re still going to think of Georgie sometimes,” – the friend I lost to suicide in high school. Some people should never be forgotten.
On that note, I definitely wouldn’t warn myself that Dad would pass. The fear of that happening as he got older would already upset me at times, and if I was forewarned, I would be spending so much time with him that it’d be impossible to recover. Better not to know.
And what would past me say of what she sees?
I can’t help but feel like I’d be unrecognisable to my former self. I’d probably hyperfocus on some of the things I’m still dysphoric about, even though managing that is so much easier now than it used to be. 2015 me would probably be shocked (if proud) of how busy I am now, with a proper job and everything(!)
Some of the hardships that remain will connect us. I still get anxious with people (although the difference is night and day). I still have fucking awful depression days sometimes, but less often and less severe. I still have a fear of being unlovable.
But I still care about people, and there’ll be a lot more people to care about. Even the fleeting people whose intersection with my life was brief. I’m glad I cared about them, even if they’re gone like so many other memories.
Sometimes I think it’ll be worse before it keeps getting better, because that’s the way it’s always gone. I need to remind myself that it’s not necessarily true. Hopefully if in 7 or 8 years I sit down and think of who I was in 2023, there’ll be less to be sad about, or won’t be quite so many awful things to warn against (or choose not to tell).
Back then, I wouldn’t have been confident in saying I’d still be around by now. But that’s no longer true. I don’t think I’m going anywhere. If things have shifted so radically in the last 8 years, that actually gives me a little more excitement for the next 8.