Retrospective

Well, it’s that time of year again where we all reflect on the past 12 months and plan ahead for the next 12 months, so I’d thought I’d join the in crowd and do a little bit of this myself.

I’m going to start by being controversial! and make a statement upfront which, may sound a little odd but hopefully by the end of this post you’ll start to understand why I’ve said it!

One of the most common things people have said to be over the past few months is “it must be terrible what you’re going through, I just don’t know how you do it” (that’s paraphrased but gives the gist of the statement. My response is “Whilst I’d rather not be going through it, I’m glad I am“… a little strange to see or hear that, but it’s true!

So 2018 started and then very first day, of the very first month of the year I found myself being admitted to the Local mental health crisis team – the first meeting was at 1000am on Jan 1st 2018 which was a very new experience for me, this was the start of the single biggest battle of my life, all 43 years of it and whilst I’ve nearly been on the edge, I, along with some super support have managed to get me through it.

Let’s start with some of the negatives that have happened (get these out the way early so I can really concentrate on the positives)! During the year I have lost count the number of times I’ve self harmed or had suicidal thoughts, how I perceived the world would be better off without me, or that I’m a burden on both society and work… I self loathed so many times that it become a daily occurrence… but (and there’s always a but) I’m still here, I’m still breathing and I’m still being the biggest grump ever… some may say “I don’t know how, but you’ve managed it”, not me! I know how I’ve managed it, I know how I’ve gotten through it and I know more now about myself than ever before.

I’m going to swiftly move over the rest of the negatives as I want to focus on the positives, which some of you may have noticed, I touched upon above!

2018 has been the year of me! It’s been a voyage of discovery about who I am, what I am and what I’m capable of!

It’s been so many many years since I last saw “me” and put me into focus, this year has forced my hand and it’s been an funny old time! Along the way I’ve met some amazing new friends, some of whom have been more instrumental in me surviving than they actually know, I’ve found out that the lads and wags have been just so “right there” yes at times some of the have been twats and tried to trivialise my mental health issues, but in the main they have been perfect with the right mix of understanding, awareness and, where needed, normality. There has been no pressure to do or go anywhere.

I honestly couldn’t have done a thing without my friends both new and old, they’ve given me strength when needed, an arse kicking if warranted or just a quiet place with company but no speaking (also free food is an added bonus).

I feel stronger in myself now and I am no longer feeling the urge to go out every day of a weekend and get hammered. I know how to say “No” and be firm about it, but I also know that a little alcohol here or there isn’t the end of the world… moderation and self control are the key elements! I’m now at a point where I can go to a pub or somewhere and be happy to order that fizzy water or that J2O and not worry about what others might think.

I’ve also found new “hobbies” which are kinda cloaked as coping strategies but let’s not dwell on the specifics! They work for me! I’ve started gym and go at least 4 times a week – this all started because I was horrified about my weight and general physique a few months back which prompted negative thoughts, so I decided to do something about that… whilst I’ve gained like 5ibs in that time, most of it is muscle mass! I’ve dropped from 28% body fat to a little over 17% body fat – I’m starting to see some definition in my body which means I must be doing something right!

I’ve started to do yoga 2-3 times a week, yes I’ve temporarily stopped Bikram yoga as the recent downward turn stopped me from being able to be “in the moment” but it’s not stopped the Yin yoga. I will be back to being a full Yogi (and no, not the bear) soon. Yoga has, in the main, been the biggest mental battle outside of mental health (caused because of the MH problems) but I’ve enjoyed it, it’s improved my flexibility (yay), it’s allowed me to be in the moment and not worry about what anyone else is thinking about me… it’s a great way to detoxify annnddddd being vain, my skin glows (or so I’ve been told)… yes, Yoga has become an integral part of my weekly routine.

I’ve discovered a few other things which I will be looking to peruse in 2019 such as kickboxing & whittling, the only reason I’ve not progressed these this year is due to the frequency of which I’m up and down… I’d rather not do an exercise where one minor lapse in concentration could cause an injury to myself or someone else, and i would really REALLY not want to be handling a sharp knife with these mood swings.

As for work! Well, this is still a stressor and a massive one at that, however and I can’t stress this enough… they have been so supportive during this year, they’ve given me the time needed to attend therapy, to take time out for myself without pressure and just been there to listen when needed. I’m not going to bullshit here, there are things happening or have happened which I have not agreed with and guess at times I’ve acted like Donald Trump talking about his wall (petulant child), however I no longer worry (too much) about the things I can’t influence, yes I’ll voice my opinion but that’s as far as it will go.

This year has been a voyage and whilst the journey was kinda unwanted, I’ve managed to traverse the long, winding and undulating road with friends lighting the path or when needed holding my hand (metaphorically speaking), with some kind of new vigour!

So yes, I’m glad I’m going through this journey in the sense that I’ve had to think about me, put me first and be more selfish about me… (hope you can see now why I say that I’m glad to be going through it)!

So what’s to look forward in 2019? Well the other day I found a quite interesting Facebook post, which I’ll add below, which kinda gave me pause for thought, and I invite you all to do the same!

The post (sorry I can’t find the authors name to give credit).

  • It’s time to repeat my sixfold argument in favour of preparing New Year’s Resolutions, regardless of whether you achieve them:
  • Preparing resolutions requires taking stock of the previous year, and that’s usually a beneficial thing.
  • Preparing resolutions involves pondering the ‘Good’ for your body, soul, mind, and/or relationships, and that is always a beneficial thing.
  • In life, there are just three modes to choose from: decline, maintenance, or improvement. I know which I’d prefer.
  • Any improvements in your relationships (and probably in your body, soul, or mind) will benefit those around you. Setting such goals, then, is potentially a kindness to others.
  • Sure, you may only 67% accomplish a mere 75% of your resolutions, but that’s still a PASS. Imagine how little you’d achieve without such goals! 🙂
  • Writing resolutions is an expression of hope, and hope is better than resignation.

So with the above in mind, the things I’m looking to accomplish in 2019 are quite simple (but I know, having to Black woof woof beside me, will, at times, be bloody difficult)…

Here goes nothing!

  • I plan on continuing this journey of mine and to improve how I perceive myself rather than worry about how others perceive me, I want to be stronger me, a happier me and a more confident me;
  • I will aim to fulfil 2 selfish indulgences in one swish of Thor’s mighty hammer and will look to go somewhere where I have never been before and I hope it can be to one of the places I’ve longed to visit (of which there are a few)… even if I go somewhere that’s not on my wish list, I’ll still take it as an achievement;
  • I will improve my mental health by continuing with my physical exercises. One of my goals is to complete a 5k run in under 35 minutes by the end of June! Given the fact I can’t run for shit, this could get frustratingly interesting!;
  • As well as my physical health, I will also look after my own well being and engage in hobbies which help me (such as whittling), I also resolve to start reading AGAIN! Reading has been a massive MASSIVE issue this year as I cannot concentrate on books for too long, this I hope to change in 2019;
  • I am going to engage a cleaner healthier lifestyle, not only the stereotypical quite smoking etc… but also eat cleaner, work on a good and healthy work/life balance, I’m also going to maintain my current outlook on drinking alcohol, no planned “let’s go out and get shitfaced and not remember a fucking thing” night, but more “let’s go out and enjoy ourselves”;
  • Last but by no means least, and as the say, save the best til last! I will build on and maintain my fiends! Without these guys (new and old), I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today, so I want to devote more time building on these friendships, saying thank you to all and try to be the best me that they have come to know and hate!.
  • These on the face of it look quite simple and granted some of them are, but it’s important that we recognise that even the simplest of achievements are noticed and celebrated! As the Facebook post suggested, “there are 3 modes in life decline, maintenance, or improvement.” Some of the items are more maintenance, maintaining what I already have, however some are all about improving me, my life, my own self worth and thus, hopefully in time be a better friend.
  • There is a saying which I’ve held close by all this year;
  • The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.
  • I think it’s 2019 is the time for me to work on mask number 3 and in doing so, improve on the other 2 masks!

    Anyway there’s so much I wanted to say but I got bored plus it’s still quite early and things upstairs don’t tend to start whirring until coffee 4 has been had! So time for me to wish each and every one of you, the best new year you can have, hope you find a moment for yourself to reflect on the past year and look forward to 2019 with a gritted determination that would shake the halls of hades!

    Be good to yourself and each other, and thank you everyone for either your physical or virtual support – you’ve all been triffic.

    It’s not gooodbye, it’s bonjour…

    PEACE ✌🏻

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