In the last week, I’ve talked about 2017 and I’ve talked about my goals for 2018. Is there actually anything left for me to write about? Apparently so. The first day of 2018 has already ticked over quickly and I feel as though this year is going to fly by. Maybe it’s because of the heaps of inspirational/motivational posts that I’ve seen floating around on the internet, or maybe it’s because I am soppy down to my core, but I feel a very real and very inexplicable combination of emotions.
I don’t have a sob story per se. I, like many others, experienced a great deal of sadness in 2017. Perhaps a bit more than I wanted to. Well… there’s no ‘perhaps’ about that.
On my blog, I talked about some of the experiences I had. I spoke about watching someone close to me moments after they attempted suicide. I spoke about how I grappled with my own mental health and couldn’t figure out where my head was at.
There was also a lot that I didn’t choose to write about. Heck, there were three or four months where I only managed to squeeze out one mediocre blog post. And even that was a struggle. I’ve always felt a bit nervous about posting extremely personal things on my blog, despite them being a huge part of who I am. But equally, I think there are things that don’t need to be spoken (or written) for them to be meaningful. I’d rather write about the lessons I’ve learned from them.
The thing that’s resonating with me the most is that, throughout the course of the year, throughout the moments where I was curled up on the floor, crying, wishing I could run away, I didn’t feel like myself. Slowly but surely, I’m returning to that self. It took a hard year to do it, but my emotions are beginning to feel as deep as they once were. It’s been a long time since I felt butterflies, or laughed so hard I cried, or been content in myself – yet in the space of a few days I’ve felt all of those things again without any pressure or attempt to feel them.
I’ve never thought of mental health as linear. You can’t just get better and be ok again forever. Some of my posts throughout 2017 will attest to that, moments where I felt like I’d solved it all, when in fact I had buried the answers instead. But you can enjoy the ok moments. You can learn what it is that you need to be ok.
I consider myself lucky, because my sadness is almost always situational. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the situations that I have some control over and as a result, I’ve felt happier and more fulfilled.
And while 2017 was probably the hardest year of my life, in a lot of ways it has also been the best. Maybe because of the lessons I learned, maybe because I’ve grown so much as a person, maybe because I’m ticking a lot of the “adulting done right” boxes in my head. Maybe because I like to think there’s a silver lining to everything.
And here’s my silver lining: I made it through more than a year of not-so-good stuff. My lesson? I can make it through more of the not-so-good. And I can be happy while I do it.
I know exactly what I need to do to continue feeling butterflies, laughing so hard I cry and feeling content in myself. Here’s to a 2018 filled with happiness, even during the inevitable patches of sadness.