I suffered a nervous breakdown when I was 21 (see my post: "Breakdown" http://dialoguewithdisability.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/breaking-down.html).
In hindsight, that point in my life felt like I was wearing a prison uniform underneath my real clothes. Even when I had a shower or changed clothes I would still be wearing the uniform; I thought I could never take it off.
However, hard work, persistence and CBT counselling have allowed me to exchange that depression uniform for something resembling my real self.
When I look back to that time it is very tempting to inhabit that uniform again, to feel the depression, pain and distress. But it is important to remember that during the intervening years I have washed the uniform many times and during the washing the uniform has shrunk as I have grown. The uniform is tiny now; I can hold it up and realise it doesn't fit any more. My breakdown is part of my past for sure but the emotions I felt at the time no longer apply to me. I have learnt to cope. I can try to fit in those tiny clothes or I can choose to inhabit the person I am now.