I've always had an image in my head about what I thought my life would look like. About where I would be by now, the things I would be doing, the things I would have done by now, the list goes on.
My life has not turned out at all how I had imagined. And I think, possibly, I might be thankful for that.
Yes, I'm ultimately the same person I have always been, but a lot has changed. I'm not a different person, I am a person who has grown.
Something I have learned all too well recently is that recovery means progress.. not perfection. I still struggle, I still have bad days. Often. I still have nights where the pull to cut is strong. Very strong. I still have ups and downs. A lot of them.
I've learned that my decision to get better does not erase any of my problems. They're all still there, and aren't going away any time soon. But my decision to get better does mean that I am now working to get through my issues. And reminding myself every day that feeling terrible isn't going to kill me.
I think acceptance is still a big struggle for me. It always has been. Not struggling to accept others, but struggling to accept myself. Struggling to accept my life as it is. And struggling with the possibility that others may not be 100% accepting of who I am (more on that later). But I'm working on it.. I'm making progress every day.
And progress doesn't mean having a good day. Progress means getting through a bad day and knowing I have the strength to get through the next one. Progress means making sure I get enough sleep, get to therapy, think as positively as I can, and take care of myself in general. Progress means taking things one day at a time, one step at a time, and continuing to do the next right thing for myself.
It doesn't mean I'm "fixed", it doesn't mean I'm entirely better, it doesn't mean my problems don't exist. But it does mean I'm still going in the right direction overall. And if I take one or two steps backwards, it doesn't erase all the work I've done. It just means I need to work to get moving in the right direction again.
It also means not getting wrapped up in the fact that my life is not at all how I expected it to be, but letting myself live life as it comes each day.