So now that the new year is fully in flow and now that I have well and truly failed at Dry January, I have finally gotten back into a daily routine. I swear the Christmas holidays mess everyones body clocks up because I honestly lose track of what day and time it is, where I should be and what I should be doing and when. However, it’s back to the grind for everyone and as boring and repetitive as that may be for some people, I am determined to strive to achieve my career goals this year. I refuse to let my mental health affect my confidence and stop me from striving for things I have always wanted to do. Whether that be my career, travelling or saving to buy a house (just a few of the things on my 2018 To Do List) I am not succumbing to the disordered way of thinking that I have only just managed to break out of.
One thing that has kept me going through my lower points in recovery recently has been looking at how far I have come compared to this time last year. January 2017 was the run up to a cannonball into the deep end of depression for me and I refuse to let the same happen to me again this year. I have spent the last two weeks focussing on taking the right steps towards the right people in my life. I have filled my days with working hard, taking some time for myself and doing things that I enjoy (Hello, Assassins Creed Origins) trying new things and visiting new places, meeting up with old friends and looking for new career opportunities.
Now the thing about recovery is it really isn’t a nice, neat straight line of a journey. You have to buckle yourself in for the bumpiest ride of your life because just as you think it might be levelling out, you’re thrown around another loop-de-loop of anxiety. Recovery is like the most severe white knuckle ride of your life but instead of holding onto the safety bar, you’re holding onto yourself whilst you feel your shoulders shake as another wave of tears rocks you to sleep. The nights feel long and the days even longer but the biggest piece of advice I can ever give to someone in recovery, especially when it’s so difficult that you just want to give up…is don’t. Keep holding on because I can promise you that if you find the strength to keep going eventually it won’t feel like a rollercoaster anymore. It will feel like one of those lazy river rides that your parents take you on as a child.
Swimming along through the depths of depression is one of the hardest things to do because in my personal experience I held onto the rocks that were dragging me to the bottom. Ana constantly filled my pockets with pebbles and pulled me down into the darkest depths of my mind and it wasn’t until I looked into the eyes of my boyfriend to see a very sick and fragile girl reflected back at me that I realised I needed help. Despite knowing that Anorexia was a very dark and dangerous path to go down, I refused to turn back and even now, after walking away from her, I still struggle to not stray a few steps backwards when I feel like I am losing control. Ana always gave me such an incredible sense of control and power because I was controlling what was going in and coming out of my body but in reality all that was happening was Ana was getting stronger and I was getting weaker.
Looking at how I used to live my life will always inspire me to keep going because I know I never want to end up as ill as I was last year. Instead of holding onto the things that were dragging me down, I have started 2018 by focusing on the people that are going to help me on my road to recovery. One thing that has become quite difficult for me is after spending so long isolating myself and handling my problems on my own, I have found it difficult to re-connect with old friends, allowing my anxiety to convince me into hysterical states of loneliness. Over the last few weeks I have pushed myself through my personally built walls of anxiety and I have had two of the best nights reuniting and reconnecting with old friends. It might not sound like much but to me it is an incredibly big deal. To be able to go and eat dinner at not just one but two of my friends houses is something I haven’t been able to do for years as I was too scared of having to hide in the bathroom afterwards as I purged the meal I used to so desperately wish I could enjoy.
Over the last few weeks I have managed to meet up with two of my longest friends, April and Leah who I have been friends with for 17, nearly 18 years. We met in reception at primary school and to still be in touch all these years later and for us all to still be as weird and as wonderful as we used to, is such a precious gift in my life. I love both of them so dearly and they are two of the most kind hearted people I know. I also met up with one of my old work friends, Charlotte, who I haven’t seen for months due to us both having to do boring things and actually become adults. Seeing her and catching up after so long was so lovely and both the conversation and the wine didn’t stop flowing. It was so nice to not feel scared to be myself and to not be afraid to talk about what had been going on with me and actually being able to tell the truth for a change. Happiness is such a beautiful gift and I feel so lucky to have such amazing girls by my side. They are all helping me on a journey I never expected I would have to take, but they have stuck by me through every bump, turn and roundabout and for that I will be ever grateful.
Friendships are so important and it is one of the things I have been lucky enough to share with some incredible people. I am lucky enough to be in a relationship with my best friend and being able to share all of my best moments with the person I love is one of the most natural antidepressants. I guess what I am trying to tell you is that life really isn’t perfect but find the people who make it worth living and spend as much time as you can with the people who make you laugh. Surround yourself with the people who are going to help carry you when you’re broken, make you laugh until you cry and wipe away the tears when you need it most. They are the kind of people who deserve to see you at your best and they are the kind of people who are going to help and support you at your worst. Keep holding on to the people that matter.
Fill your life with happiness and spend time on the people who heard you when you didn’t have to say a word. Stop wasting time on things you can’t control and spend time with the people who really matter. Live for something. Live for yourself and create your own reality. Just live. That is enough for now.
As always, peace and love,