I just installed Google Photos on my phone to back up my data.
Photos and videos from 2014 had appeared, and I was actually curious to see them.
It was fun, really. I watched videos and saw images that I have literally forgotten about. It was interesting how my mind started gathering memories and going back in time.
Then I stumbled upon a photo of me when I was 25. It caught my attention because it was clearly a selfie, and I was curious to know why I took it. So I double-clicked it. When the photo filled my window, I choked.
Who is that girl? Was she crying? Wait, was she dehydrated and hadn’t washed her face in three days?
Then all the memories in that photo fell on me like a heavy rainstorm. I was speechless. I felt bad for my old self, and all I wanted to do was hug her and tell her that things were going to be okay.
But I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t know I was suffering from abandonment issues, from lack of self-worth, from emotional traumas, and from depression. At that moment, I was having a panic attack and racing thoughts, and I didn’t know it was called “anxiety.”
At that moment, I was feeling worthless and undeserving of love. I just wanted to go back home and cry myself to sleep.
I don’t remember why I took the photo or who received it. But I do know one thing: I was 25, depressed, and f*cking hopeless.
My path to recovery wasn’t linear. I lived an entire life since that day, and it was full of ups and downs. It started with a one-way ticket to India, Buddhism courses, multiple other trips, meeting hundreds of new people, falling in love, falling out of love, relocating, meditating then relapsing, learning and making mistakes, and to be honest, it hasn’t ended yet.
And it might never end. However, I understand now that I suffer from anxiety, and I’ve been learning how to manage it.
I understand now that depression is ugly, and if I don’t control it, it will control me. Crying was never fine to me, but now it is. It’s my way of expressing my emotions and letting go of blocked energy.
I understand now the source of my abandonment issues and traumas, and I have been relentlessly digging into their roots to heal them.
I understand now that my hardships have led me to where I am today. It is probable that something bad will happen, but it is destined that something good will follow it. Patience is a virtue, and without it, we’re doomed.
I understand now that drinking water is important, and it’s even essential when I’m having a panic attack.
I understand now a bunch of things I didn’t when I was 25. I only wish I could tell them to my younger self. As I looked into my heartbreaking photo, I wished I could go back in time and tell her everything I know now.
All I wanted was to hold her close and reassure her that she will be more than fine.
That work you want to quit? You’ll quit it and build something for yourself.
That man who cheated on you? He will regret it after three years, and you will laugh at yourself.
The other man who you think you can’t leave? You’ll meet someone after a few years, he’ll show you what true love is, and you’ll end up marrying him.
The money issues you’re worried about? Ah, relax, you’ll make plenty later.
The adventures and trips you want to make? You’ll backpack every year to a different destination.
The pain you’re feeling? You won’t remember it in the future.
Your worries? They’ll subside, then they’ll disappear, and you’ll learn that worrying is ineffective.
The “yes” you keep saying to everyone and everything? It will become your worst enemy, and you’ll become a master at saying “no” and loving yourself above all.
The body you want to have? It doesn’t exist, and it won’t matter in a couple of years.
Two weeks ago, I took a selfie in Cappadocia, Turkey. I’m 31, and I wonder what would my 37-year-old self tell me now.