I’m back, hello everyone! How are you doing? Thank you all so so much for the supportive and loving comments, DM’s, emails and texts. It warmed my heart ♥︎
Now that I’m back after 5 (!) months, you’re probably wondering if I feel better. Well, not necessarily. But I’m okay with that… Now. So what’s going on and why did it take me so long? Storytime:
I was convinced I couldn’t return to Instagram until I was fully recovered and I had a clear strategy. My superego (or inner critic) was telling me I could only show up as my best self and any other version of me just wouldn’t do. This belief doesn’t only apply to Instagram, but to my entire life. I have to be my best self, always. A belief that causes a lot of suffering.
I took a complete break from Instagram, work, and almost all social activities. I locked myself up to fully focus on recovery, obsessively. Everything in life revolved around getting better. I was constantly comparing myself to the Lian of 2 years ago: Lian before break-down. Until I wasn’t that version of myself, I wasn’t better, I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t worthy. Oh, how my inner critic loves to tell me that...
THE THINGS THAT NEED HEALING, ARE THE THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO FEEL
I knew recovery could only be found in acceptance. Accepting my situation and accepting myself. And so I said to myself “I need to accept this, in order to get better”. See what my superego did there? Still focussing on recovery. When I realized this, I tried to remove the ‘getting better’ part and say to myself “I’m okay as I am, it’s okay how it is. Anything that I’m able to do or experience is a plus, but without it, it’s still okay.” I still find this hard to believe sometimes, but as this slowly started to grow on me, I started noticing a shift. It wasn’t a magical moment of awakening or anything, but it was an important baby step in the healing process.
I didn’t realize it at that moment though. During my time as an obsessive-recovery-focused cavewoman, I didn’t feel like I was healing at all. The opposite, I felt like my entire life was on hold. Yet at the same time, so many things were (and are still) happening inside me in all kinds of rollercoaster ways. I realize now that those uncomfortable and overwhelming moments are actually the crucial moments in the healing process. To everyone going through similar struggles: Sometimes it feels like you’re not healing because you're not feeling better. Often you only feel worse. I believe now that healing actually happens in those painful moments. The things that need healing, are the things you don’t want to feel. You can only start to feel better once you're giving space to what needs to heal.
Back to the story. In this moment of slight acceptance, I started to let go of the idea that I could only start my life (including my Instagram 2.0 account), until I was my best self. Cause what does that even mean; my best self? Someone who’s perfect, always happy, in control, who never fails? That sounds pretty unhuman to me, while all I want is to feel human. To be seen, be heard and be loved as a human.
I started to do some work again here and there, stopped reading self-help books and started meeting up with friends who were understanding of my situation. And very importantly, I tried to not get disappointed with myself if I got overwhelmed, had to cancel, or needed to leave earlier than expected.
One of the jobs I did during that time was a content job for Ziengs, a Dutch shoe brand I’ve worked with for a few years (the boots I’m wearing are from their webshop!). I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed doing it because I used to feel quite some resentment towards content creation before my break.
Through that job, I realized I do love creating accessible looks that people can easily recreate. In that way I can sort of contribute to people’s lives through fashion. Especially that accessible part is important to me, as you don’t need much or anything expensive to look good. So that’s definitely what I want to continue doing on Instagram. But I also want to contribute by sharing more personal stories like this one and the one before. There is so much power in speaking openly about mental health. If I can contribute in even the smallest way in making the mental health battle something to be proud of instead of something to be ashamed of, that would make me so happy. Do you know how brave and strong we are for fighting the toughest fight there is?!
The fight continues for me personally and is still hard. But as I said before “I’m okay as I am, it’s okay how it is. Anything that I’m able to do or experience is a plus, but without it, it’s still okay.” And so I'm back, taking things step by step. Thanks for sticking with me guys!