I’m not usually one to jump on to a bandwagon, especially one that isn’t fashion related but I can’t help but join in with nodding my head and heartily agreeing that 2016 has been a pretty rubbish year. Not just in terms of global events, celebrity deaths, the tragic loss of lives through senseless acts and tragic circumstances…and don’t get me started on the politics. But on a personal level too 2016 really has been a year that has pushed me to my limits both physically and mentally. Now, with a new year dawning it’s time to sit down and reflect on what exactly the last 12 months has taught me and what I can take forwards in to 2017.
One of the biggest things that happened to me in 2016 was the ending of my relationship. It was my first long term relationship and I had no idea what to expect. The split itself was amicable and mutual, we had simply run our course and it was better to walk away on friendly terms than to let it fester. There were some amazingly good times as well as some truly awful ones. I learned a lot about myself and I have no regrets. I think what I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer pain that finding out he’d found someone else and started to move on whilst I still struggled to accept we were no longer together, and how it felt like that pain was never going to fade. What I can tell you now, around six months on is that it does fade. You can mend a broken heart. You will survive it. I have no hard feeling towards Ben, nor his new partner, I truly do wish them the best…you can’t help who you meet or when you meet them. Him and I turned out not to be each other’s “happy ever after” as we’d once thought and that’s ok. It’s funny though, realising it’s possible to both miss being in a relationship but not the person AND miss the person but not the relationship simultaneously. I really didn’t think that was possible but it is, and now I realise this I can deal with it. Personally I now feel in a position that if I met the right person I could start dating again but I’m in no hurry. I feel like in the time I’ve been single I’ve re-discovered who I truly am and I’m learning to love that person (and how can you expect some one else to love you if you cannot love yourself?) It needs to be the right person and at the right time and I need to get myself properly sorted out..which leads me on to the next part of this post.
Anorexia. It’s been ever so present all year long getting in the way of everything I’ve wanted to do and worked so hard for. And I’ve let it. I spent the first quarter of the year in firm denial, and then once I acknowledged that I needed help I wanted somebody else to fix it. No-one else can fix it, it has to come from you (and after so many years I should bloody well know that). I was fortunate enough to be able to try a different approach to treatment thanks to my ever so generous (and probably somewhat desperate) parents and I suppose I thought if they threw enough money at the problem that it would somehow make it go away. After six months we realised that still not much was changing and now I am back under the care of my truly incredible GP and awaiting some therapy on the NHS and slowly but surely I am clawing my way back out of the dark hole I’d sunken in to. It’s a vile illness, it’s taken precious years of my life from me that I will never get back. I refuse to let it take any more. I turn 30 in April and I am determined that by then I will be at a point where I can start to live a normal life, eat and drink and be merry just like my friends and family and stop putting myself (and my loved ones) through the pain and torment. Of course being ill isn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t choose to relapse again and I struggle massively with a sense of feeling weak for giving in to it. But recovery HAS to be a choice you make, and one you make each and every day. You cannot leave an eating disorder behind without grit and determination- you can have all of the support in the world but unless you truly believe in yourself you will remain it’s prisoner. I know this now more than ever and this will be the year I kick it to the kerb. Just watch me.
The above are the most significant things that have marred the year on a personal level, the rest has been a series of smaller knocks that have added to the pile of “woe is me” that smothers me at times. Being signed off of work since April has been a massive blow, and as a consequence of that I’ve had to accept moving back to be with my parents, financial help and endless hours spent trying to fill my time whilst feeling utterly worthless. Anxiety has crippled me at times but I’m learning to manage it. I can socialise now and that makes filling time easier…the dark times are dark but getting less so. Depressing side of the post done it’s time to reflect on the good things that 2016 gave.
This year was the year I finally was able to move out from the parental home in to my own flat. Admittedly I only lasted seven months due to aforementioned break up of relationship but this was a massive step for me and something I never thought would actually happen. I learnt so much in that short space of time, most importantly that I could do it. I could live a life independently with nobody “senior” telling me what to do…and I can’t wait to do it all over again (hopefully by the end of 2017!) I loved running a home, creating that space and making it my (our) own. I’m sad it ended but grateful that it ever happened. It’s given me something to strive for- a goal to remember when everything feels dark.
Friends and family have been my absolute saviours this year. I’ve always been extremely close to my Mum but this year I feel like my Dad and I have really bonded too. It was probably the ferrying me about to and from hospital appointments that did it but we’re closer than we ever have been and I couldn’t be more grateful for that- I’ve always looked up to my Dad, admired him and wanted to impress him. I held him at arms length because I was afraid of letting him down but I realise now that if I speak my mind, heck, even just speak he’s a fount of knowledge who has worked exceedingly hard to get to where he is today. I feel like he is now my friend as well as my father and that pleases me more than words can say. My Grandad too, we’ve always been close but this year I feel we’ve gained a deeper understanding of each other. He’s always there in my time of need, even if it is just to sit in the Waitrose cafe with me and listen to me rant about the world.
Friends. Where would we be without them? Firstly there is Trudi. Old faithful best friend Trudi who is honestly…well, there are no words to describe just how much this girl means to me. She is my best friend but it goes beyond that. I’m not going to try and do it justice, I can’t do her justice. She just is a legend. And my other friends that despite my years of isolation have welcomed me back with open arms. I feel so lucky. Then there are the new friends, the “internet” friends who have amazed and inspired me (Caro and Amy I’m looking at you especially!) The kindness of relative strangers has floored me this year and I couldn’t even begin to list the names of the people who have made me smile or touched my life when everything felt hopeless.
Honestly, I don’t know where I’m going with this post now. It’s all over the place but that’s ok, I’ll still publish it because it’s true, it’s me. It’s poorly written and rambling but it’s me. There is so much more I could and would like to say but I won’t because we’re almost 1500 words in and nobody wants to read all of that (gold star to anyone who has even made it this far!) I’ll just end with a thank you, two simple words that cannot even begin to convey the true gratitude I feel towards everyone who has stood by me- friends, family, colleagues, blog readers, strangers who smile in the street. All of you have kept me going and I’m going to make 2017 an amazing year for myself because of it.
And looking on reflection, perhaps 2016 wasn’t so bad after all. I’ve grown so much and learnt more in twelve months than I maybe have in the last 28 years. There’s a lot to be said for that- silver linings and all.
A last word, I promise! I’m also eternally grateful for the wonderful experiences I’ve had from this here blog. It always amazes me when a brand or person wants to collaborate and I’ll never take it for granted. I plan to plough a lot more in to this space on the internet next year, I’ll take a few more days break…a week perhaps to get my feet back on the ground and then it’s on. Fresh content. More effort…I can’t wait! I do feel however that I’ve barely scratched the surface of a couple of subjects in this post (namely friendship & my journey with anorexia) would anyone be interested if I did a couple of more in-depth posts on these?