2017 started off for me, cuddled up on the sofa with my dog – having turned down all New Years Eve social shenanigans because of my anxiety, and well I could think of a million other ways that I would have rather it started. Had you had told me back then, that 12 months down the line I would have moved out, started university, conquered some of my biggest anxieties, learnt to deal with various mental health issues, and run 10k in 47 minutes, I never would have believed you, yet here I am doing all these things.
The end of 2016 was when I finally opened up to my Dad about my mental health, which marked the start of me getting help, so the start of 2017, began with my mental health possibly the worst its ever been, and various different doctors appointments that confirmed what I already knew. Although these appointments, to me were a waste of time because, I didn’t want counseling (I don’t open up to anyone), and I also didn’t want to go on medication, as Dad and I had agreed this definitely wasn’t the right path for me.
I spent the first 4 months completely shutting myself of from most things, and just immersing myself in my college studies, which granted paid off, but it wasn’t healthy. I only saw my best friend Soph and would more thank likely turn down most social outings, so essentially I missed out on a lot at the start of the year. It wasn’t until April that something finally clicked and I decided I needed to get sorted, the way I was living was no fun, I was in a constant state of anxiety, and this mixed with depressive thoughts was no life to lead.
2 years ago I started up running, to begin with it was to help me let out my anger as to something that had happened a few months prior, but I quickly learnt that this helped my mental health massively, so I upped my training greatly, and pushed myself to lengths I never thought I would be able to, and this made me feel amazing. It’s a big statement to make but running essentially saved me and kept me sane.
Where I had upped my training, started to eat better, and began to notice a difference both physically, and mentally, this was when my year did a complete 360. I figured that if I could push myself to new extremes with training, then I could challenge my anxiety too. Slowly but surely I started to gain back my social life, immerse myself in college work in a much healthier and less obsessive way, and basically say a big fuck you to anxiety.
I started up my blog, another way for me to vent, and also calm me when I am anxious, attended festivals and gigs, ran some of my best PBs and left college with full marks and a distinction. August quickly rolled round, I turned 18, got my first tattoo, and had the most amazing night out with all of my friends, stumbling in at 3AM to drunkenly make toast and tell my dog how much I loved her – something I never would have dreamed of doing at the beginning of the year.
Then I guess what I would class as my biggest achievement so far; I moved out (3 hours from home) and started university, something that at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t see myself doing. Don’t get me wrong, I still get my fair share of rough days, and I am by no means completely cured, but I’m a hell of a lot better than what I was, I’ve also found ways in which I can help my mental health on the not so good days. Since September I have been introduced to some of the most amazing people, and have had the time of my life.
And that brings us to now. So what started off as a fairly dire year, ended on a much higher note, with less anxiety, less depression and much more happiness. I’m a completely different person to what I was 12 months ago, (get ready for the cringe) but in a way I have my mental health to thank for getting me to where I am today.
Here’s to 2018,