Hi and welcome to the forums @simontemplar great to see your sharing - I love your writing and your sense of humor.
You do pose a good question about whether we are still our 'former' selves somewhere inside once we know we have MH issues. I think that in many ways we are, but at the same time some things do change us forever. And in my own case, not having known I have bipolar 1 until age 46, I look back over the decades and can see where I actually probably had episodes of it since at least my teen years. And also the challenges of complex PTSD and many traumatic events and relationships over the years. I'm now 56. (Notice I said 'I have' not 'I am' bipolar ... this really underlines how I see things). So I no longer feel driven to hunt for the earlier person I was, but rather work to integrate my sense of identity in earlier times with my expression and sense of ID now. Hope that makes sense.
Thought you might like this cartoon :
It's one of my favourites
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