It sounds like this has been a time for a lot of self-discovery for you @Pyrotechnic and I think that's awesome! I'm sorry to hear about the struggles you've been dealt in life but it is so inspiring that you keep treading the waters. It can be a game of one step forwards, two steps back sometimes but like you articulated perfectly, life can get better and happiness is whatever you choose it to be! Remember you are stronger than your mind lets you believe.
I'm so proud of you and it's so encouraging to hear you're learning to deal with the pain because we cannot directly choose our emotions and switch them on but we can use the things we control to change how we feel. know you didn't feel like you did well academically but that's just a single part of life and shouldn't discredit all the other things you've managed to achieve. Your post reminds me of an affirmation I heard that I wanted to share with you.
I am not my mistakes. I am not my past. I am fighting for my future-one that is worth fighting for. And I am worth fighting for
Thank you for sharing your journey with us and being so encouraging. I hope sharing makes you feel a little less alone