As usual, my year looked nothing like I thought it would- which could really be said for the last three years of my life.
Tonight, I took some time to look back on 2017, expecting to see mostly pain. But there were a lot of incredible things that happened. Most importantly, I started to heal. I found out what was going on, and now people are helping me get through it. I found hope.
Don’t get me wrong, 2017 was hard. Here is the series of events that were the start of my 2017…
November 2016, I started to get worse. I had been struggling for a few months, but the holiday season was when I started to get dark. I couldn’t feel happy when everyone else around me could. I didn’t want to go do any of the Christmas things I had always loved. I kept making excuses for why my personality had changed. I started to go from a sweet quiet girl, to someone who was constantly angry or sad. December 2016, I didn’t want to see anyone, I pushed people away, I cried every night, and I constantly felt like I was a disappointment, I was trying my best to go through the motions. Honestly, most of that December doesn’t even exist in my mind. I didn’t know who I was, but the girl controlling my life wasn’t me. It was a scary realization. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. That’s terrifying. This is when I struggled the most asking for help. I knew I needed it, I knew that I was not okay, but I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, I had a few friends who did. January 2017, I sat down one night with one of my closest friends and told them the things that were going through my head and what I was feeling, and they told me that I might want to go talk to someone about depression. I did, and I remember explaining to them that it felt like I was trapped inside of a black box and someone else was controlling everything and I couldn’t get out.
From there it’s probably easy to see how I could count the year 2017 as horrible. But maybe in part, it’s because it is easier for me to see the bad. That’s still something I have to fight. Seriously, I went through a lot this year and it was all overwhelming and I’ve felt constantly exhausted for months. Sleep? What’s that? I stress out over nothing, which is also just as exhausting as stressing out over something. But, when I look back on my year, I see so many happy memories that I have. I guess it’s sometimes easier to see the happy moments when you take some time to step back and look at your life.
I learned a lot this year. It is okay to need help, therapy is amazing and nothing like they tell you it is on TV. It’s good to talk to your friends about what you are thinking and feeling, they can’t help you if they don’t know how. Honestly, there are some great articles and videos on the internet that talk about loving someone with anxiety or depression or both, and I’ve sent and shared many of them. It is okay to tell people no to doing things. Sometimes you need to get dressed and go outside, because on the days I get dressed and do my hair and makeup, it’s like a little victory. Depression doesn’t have to control you, and you can still live your best life. I’ve started to learn to take care of myself, I’ve started to cook and bake again, I’ve started to use a planner every week (seriously, do it). I danced in two shows which I never imagined myself doing. I have learned it is okay to put myself first sometimes. I started to return to the girl I thought I had lost. It’s a roller-coaster, there are ups and downs, but I started to find my way back to who I am and who I was. I’ve learned that having depression isn’t my fault.
I’ve realized just how few people talk openly about their struggles I’ve learned that it can be important to talk about so people know they aren’t alone. I’ve learned a lot about depression and anxiety and everything makes sense now. Seriously, there are so many symptoms that I was experiencing that I never thought could be caused by depression or anxiety.
Going into the new year, I don’t want to make any resolutions. They are cliché and easily forgotten. But I think that the end of one year and beginning of the next is a good time to sit down and look at where you are and where you want to be going. I want to continue my journey. I want to take the next year to learn how to love myself again. I want to be able to say that I’m happy. I want to look in the mirror and see myself for who I am, and not see a stranger. These are all things that I’ve already started, but I hope to see big differences in over the next year.
As 2017 is coming to a close, I’m glad for the journey I’m on. I know my life isn’t always happy or fun or glamorous, but it’s mine. In 2018 I hope that you are able to love yourself. I hope you take care of yourself, and I hope you find the little things in your life to bring the positive out. Personally, I’m so ready to close this chapter.