this was the summer.

the summer before it all went to hell. the summer where I thought I found myself but instead ending up losing all the pieces most precious to me.

the summer my grandmother died. the summer I went on adventures. the summer I made decisions.

we went to North Carolina for vacation and a wedding. it was ten days full of sand, board games, and the ocean. I remember it clearly, while most of my other vacations are dark and foggy, and I think that's because I actually remember being happy on this trip. that clarity almost makes it hurt worse. it's become a mental cut-off point--a separation between the me before and the me after.

even though I was happy in our adorable little beach house, there were still signs. heavy memories of what happened before we drove so many hours to make it to the coast. heavy apprehension of what would happen merely weeks after we returned home. uncertainty, on my part, because I didn't have a plan, didn't have a future, and even though I said it was enough, it never was.

I remember I got sick on that trip--just a cold that turned into a fever that turned into a sinus infection. that was normal for me. I got sick every other month, it seemed--there was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary to see here.

I remember talking to a dear friend about boys and about coming to see her and about life in general. I remember noticing that something had changed between me and someone I loved, and I didn't like it. I remember all the guilt I felt because of my failings, about the way I'd hopelessly fallen apart at something I once thought I was good at.

I remember everything.

things have changed in those three years. can you believe it? three years since I graduated. three years since the bedbugs. three years since we really noticed how sick I was. during those three years, I thought I'd never be happy again. some times, I thought that happiness had literally been ripped out of my being, that I would never be able to feel again. other times I thought I didn't deserve to be happy. didn't deserve to feel joy at the thought of living a full and complete life.

it's so strange, being on the "flip side" of all this, because I don't want to say I've recovered. I don't want to apply that word to myself, because I'm still terrified everyday that I'll wake up and the pain will be back. that I'll be cold and numb and empty inside. I don't want to get my hopes up, even now, when I'm living a life as close to normal as I'll probably ever get. but there's no doubt that things have changed for the better since that summer. that sliver of happiness then can't even compare to the happiness I feel now.

I go to work every day. it's not much, but it's enough to pay for the bills. I paid for my summer tuition, all on my own, and I'm freaking proud of that fact. last month, I attended church every Sunday--I didn't even need to take the one day I allow myself to stay home and rest. I am taking night classes to make sure that I graduate according my schedule, and I'm planning out my academic future as best I can with both excitement and apprehension (but mostly excitement). I have friends--not friends that I see everyday and do everything with, but that's okay. even at this point I'm not sure I could handle having friends like that.

I still get sad. that's inevitable. there are some days that are darker, some hours that are longer, some nights that won't ever end. but I haven't had a depressive streak in months, thank God. the anxiety still rides within me, somewhere below skin deep, but the things that used to paralyze me don't have that level of control over me anymore. when anxiety tries to take back that control, I have the tools to fight it. I do get overwhelmed--by people, by speaking, by sensory information that I can't take in because my brain's too full as it is. but I know how to take care of myself now when that does happen. I didn't before.

 I can't tell you the last time I cried myself to sleep. strike that. actually I can--but it wasn't because I was hurting or I was angry at the world or I just felt so lost. I cried because of all the regrets I have. regrets about things I had to sacrifice to survive, regrets about people who only got to see the tired, broken, sick version of me, regrets about things I said during those three dark years. some part of me wishes I could go back, to try and do better knowing what I do now, but honestly, even if it were possible, that wouldn't be fair.

everyone has got to have a dark time, a time they don't like to remember, a time that shaped them and brought them into the world as a new, changed individual.

this was mine.

I'm not recovered. but I guess you could say I'm healing.


  1. Tingles. That's what this gives me. Rejoicing that you are on the "flip side." I am so happy that you are and can write this with true happiness today.

    Remember this. We all are recovering from something. Mine is different and will never look like yours but we both can understand how life can be dark, hard and hopeless. You are there for me and I'm there for you. Never alone in the middle of the worst that life throws at us. Love you dearie.

  2. I'm glad that you are on the other side of that dark time, and that your healing. It's inspiring.

  3. i am not sure if i have ever commented on your posts before - love, love them though, and this is so vulnerable and honest and rawly beautiful and i can understand it, i really can. <3 <3

  4. This is beautiful, I have goosebumps, Ely. Praise the Lord that you have come so far! You've done amazingly well battling this illness, physically and mentally, and I am so proud of you! "some times, I thought that happiness had literally been ripped out of my being, that I would never be able to feel again." That really resonated with me. I am feeling not dissimilar to this rn -- this feeling that my mind will never get out of the place it currently haunts, that I will never be the person I was just over a year ago. But this post gives me hope: there will be healing. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart."

    Lots of love! <3333


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