World Mental Health Day just passed and this seems like the perfect time to talk about my year. Reading about the journeys others have experienced have made me want to write about my own.
This year hit me like a ton of bricks. I have learnt so much about who I am as a person. I have taken the time to take stock and find out what I truly want and what is most important to me.
There have been many surprises as well as many disappointments. You could definitely compare my life to a rollercoaster at the moment, although for the most part I’ve been completely blindfolded and left to the hands of fate.
For anyone who knows me, I like to know where things are headed. I like to plan. So, I’ve had to learn how to let go and allow myself to be surprised by both the good and the bad.
Without further ado, this is my 2017 in a nutshell.
Springtime was the hardest time of year for me especially adjusting to all the changes in my life. I was getting ready for university and very excited. However, at this time I was experiencing anxiety and slowly understanding that I was also dealing with depression and on the highway to a burnout. I was about to turn 21, it was difficult to enjoy it all whilst still feeling like I was falling into a black hole every so often.
My trip to Bali was planned for May which was giving me considerable amounts of stress. For most people this is meant to be calming experience; planning a holiday, yet I didn’t even want to go anymore.
At this time I started meeting with a therapist. It was very helpful as it gave me an outlet that wasn’t close to home which honestly, I cannot stress the importance of. Sometimes you need someone to just talk to that isn’t part of your everyday life.
Bali turned out to be a big turning point in my mental health. This is going to sound all “Eat, Pray, Love” but being away for 2 weeks on my own, away from the chaos was amazing. I found myself again a little bit and this holiday really saved me in many ways.
I am so used to dealing with things only once I am feeling insanely overwhelmed. During my time there I had time to think and I noticed all my self destructive habits; mainly my sense of control over situations. The future has ALWAYS been more important than the now which always leads to me being very stressed.
Work brought so many opportunities my way and I had the chance to go to New York. It was spectacular and I will always be grateful for this experience. Not only did I learn about myself as an ambassador at work, I had yet another chance to embrace the now. It was THE BEST 10 days of my life. I stayed out till 7am most days and I even walked from Times Square to Wall Street. My feet were burning but I loved seeing the city this way.
…and then I came home. I started experiencing panic attacks again, there were days where I didn’t even want to leave my bed because dealing with everything seemed so daunting. All the while maintaining my full time job. I cannot express how much love I have for my colleagues. They dealt with my moods and tiredness and kept me sane for the most part.
I will not be studying this year. This was a difficult decision to make but the stress I experienced from the process was overwhelming.
At the moment I have been trying to focus on that self love I talked about in January. I tell myself that life will happen no matter what so I better make the most of it and wow, it’s a process. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get panic attacks and I’m still dealing with my depression. However, I am actively trying to do my best to be the happiest version of me I can in the situation I am in.
The dots are slowly connecting for me, and like I mentioned, I’m starting to learn what is most important. I have started letting go of the things I have always felt like I needed to control.
Over time I have allowed myself to fall away and crawl into a shell. There is only one version of me and I need to take care of her, love her and let her enjoy life. Until really recently I wasn’t doing any of those things.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s all a process. I’m not an expert, once I get my psychology degree that will hopefully change. However for now all I can say is this:
Trust the process and slowly, you will see some change. Just be patient and talk about it because therapy is important.