The end of one year and start of a new one always leaves room for reflection and introspection. I’ve had some gentle encouragement to start writing again and it seems my more personal posts on my blog and social media somehow seem to reach something deep inside the people following my online presence. 2016 was a difficult for me. It was actually the worst year for me. It’s the year I effectively imploded from the inside out and slowly learnt how to put myself back together again. On a deeply personal level, I had a lot of struggles to go through that I couldn’t quite get a grip on. I’ve always had difficulty connecting with others, making very few friends over the years so my support network has always felt so small. I tend to not mention my problems unless specifically asked so in that sense I’ve always isolated myself.
The low lights of the year were really low. I won’t go into any details but it all culminated in a severe mental breakdown. For those that know me, I’ve always been a more low, anxious, and introverted person. This year I took the plunge and started seeing a raft of professionals to tackle what I now can recognise as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It’s an incredibly difficult and testing journey. One that takes time and patience, and can frustrate the hell out of you when you think you’re not getting “better”. A big part of why I’ve pushed myself to publish my struggles online is because I don’t want anyone else in a similar position to feel ashamed. I’m not ashamed to admit I need help. I’m not ashamed to talk about the fact I need to take medication to help me. I feel as if this topic definitely makes some people uncomfortable but I wish it wouldn’t. I’ve felt so alone, embarrassed, and ashamed for parts of my life that I never want the people I care about to feel the same.
While I can’t help but focus on the struggles of 2016, there were some things that I can look back on and smile. I acknowledged my problems and sought out help. I became closer friends with a few people that I love to bits and pieces. I made a snap decision to travel to Europe alone. I finally got to see Sicily for myself, the home of my godparents. I’ve become closer with my family. Explored Melbourne, and enjoyed the Noosa sun twice. Attended AIMC on the Gold Coast. Began practicing yoga, and to my surprise didn’t hate it. Progressed at work. Slowly started to stop worrying about what other people think of me as well as limiting how much I stress about things out of my control. I danced my worries away at two brilliant music festivals. And most importantly, I learnt to really smile, laugh, and be happy again. It’s been so up and down, but I’m still thankful for at least these small moments.
I was so eager for 2016 to end and 2017 to begin. As if when the clocked ticked over to 12:01 all my worries would fade away. While of course that didn’t happen, I’ve come into 2017 slightly more reinvigorated, motivated, and ready to start putting myself first. One of my closest friends who also had a rough 2016 went through an amazing personal transformation which has been really inspiring for me. I have no doubt I will stumble in 2017. I still feel incredibly isolated and alone at the best of times, and have a strong propensity for anxiety. But, I feel very determined to do things differently. A determination I don’t think I’ve ever felt. I am going to try really hard to push myself to try new things and be the best version of myself I can be right now. And of course I have my beautiful furry soulmate Benji to keep me smiling until I really feel at peace within myself.
I’m incredibly frightened my openness about mental health will attract criticism and judgment. But, if it at least my words and actions touch someone feeling the same then I guess it’s all worth it. I do hope to resume my usual food and travel blog posts soon but for now I’m just taking things as they come and doing what I feel like at the time.