I’ve always hated New Years Eve (or Old Year’s Night as we’ve always called it). I’ve never dealt well with change, I hate looking backwards and I’m naturally a pessimist
A few months ago I wrote a blog post about my experience with a newly diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, and suggestions of suffering with depression (something Ive battled on and off for at least ten years). It was a positive, happy and uplifting post. I hope this post ends on the same note. However, I’m also one for being upfront and open when it comes to health issues- mental or physical- and as such I always try and be honest, and I find this comes easier in writing. December has been one of the most difficult months for me in recent years. I was too ill to volunteer (something which I am passionate about and have previously found a lot of enjoyment in), I found working difficult and I didn’t apply to any jobs I really wanted as I had faced too many rejections in many forms and couldn’t handle another. I found distractions and I planned trips- some of which were lovely and self-affirming and reminded me of the glimpses of my old self where I’m not too bad, but some were bad decisions which led to further setback. I convinced myself I wasn’t worthy of friendship so think I started to close off from many of my old friends. I keep throwing around the word failure, because I feel I’m nowhere near the same levels of achievement or success as anyone around me- and some days am utterly convinced I’m one of those people who nothing good is ever going to come to. Social media has made things a lot more difficult- being able to see the success and happiness that’s often just thrown on there in a line of beach photos, pictures of champagne in glasses (why don’t you just drink it?) and my friends buying houses (I can’t even afford the Lego Death Star and that’s nowhere near big enough to live in). I really hope all of this can change. When I’m doing well in my head, I can do really good things- which makes this all tU he more frustrating. I don’t think I’m resigned to being sad, tired and lethargic.
I always get nervous talking about this because I have a huge paranoia about what my friends and family will think of me. I don’t want them to see me as a burden, or as trouble- because I try not to be. I read an interesting article on a mental health awareness blog about an addiction to people and it strongly resonated with me. I love people. I love making others happy and am naturally a carer and an organiser. My struggles rarely impact how I treat others apart from closing myself off and disappearing, instead it has a huge impact on how I treat myself. I find the everyday difficult, and as a result I have found it difficult to spend time with people. If I don’t look after myself and make myself happy, it becomes increasingly difficult to make others happy which then circles back around to me feeling really quite sad. So this is number one for the New Year- look after myself, and make myself happy. Be a little bit selfish on occasion and enjoy being on my own.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Christmas time. I think this is due to having a (wonderful) split family, so I always find myself missing a huge part of my life on Christmas Day wherever I am. This Christmas was also the first after a relationship breakdown, which is always really quite difficult in itself. I think many like me who have struggled with their mental health find times like this incredibly difficult. Christmas is a time to be happy and merry- who could be miserable on Christmas Day? Am I ungrateful, or unappreciative? Or did I just find myself struggling with a high pressure day where everything has to be happy and perfect, knowing there’s rarely a normal day where I can achieve that for myself?
I’m now in Northumberland, spending some quality recovery time with my family. I haven’t made definite plans to return to Edinburgh as of yet. I’m planing a traditional Old Years Night with my family, which suits me just fine. I love being surrounded by my family who are encouraging and just generally great, plus I LOVE singing Auld Lang Syne! I don’t really do resolutions, but I think I’m going to try and make positive steps in 2016. I don’t think I need to ‘change’ as a person, just need to alter my outlook on life, the opportunities it has to offer and most importantly myself.
I hope you all have some lovely memories of this festive period, and please don’t be afraid to speak up, communicate or ask for help if you feel you need it. This doesn’t have to necessarily be to someone you are close to as I understand how difficult this can be- it could be a helpline, your GP, an online support forum. You are not alone, and are most definitely brilliant and wonderful people.