I’ve taken so much time to look back on my 2017 and I still can’t believe it, from freeing myself from the grips of the worlds worst employer, to being employed by the worlds best employer and finding myself happy in all my awkwardness – 2017 was the year that kept on giving. The year that pushed me to the edge of destruction and somehow managed to help me become greater than I was.
You do not have to kill yourself for love
I watched a friend of mine almost die when the man she was in love with, decided that they needed to part ways. I remember that feeling all too well, feeling as though your world is coming to an end and that nothing will get better or seem better simply because the person you gave your heart to has decided to walk way. Watching her go through that has taught me that even when you are in a relationship with someone you need to understand that it’s important for you to have a life outside of that relationship. A person becoming the fibre of your entire existence will swallow you to the point that you lose yourself in the relationship. Exist outside of your relationship, it can only strengthen your relationship and will help you remember that your oxygen is tied to that person.
Update: She’s found things to focus on outside of the relationship, she is building herself and the things that are important to her, and she continues to grow, even though they are now back together.
Your mental health affects every part of your life
It took me a really long time to understand my emotions, my reactions and my feelings. I had always dismissed them as me being different and an extremist because my moods were either really high high’s or really low low’s and nothing in between the two. I never truly understood what depression was till I lost myself in it. At 16, I was misdiagnosed – a diagnosis that probably could have balanced me out way earlier in life. 12 years later and I finally learnt about how my emotions and reaction being polar opposites and extremes were an indication of depression and living in a constant state of anxiety. Understanding this took a lot of time, energy and pain. I’ve had to unpack so many things, things I’d buried deep inside me from years ago – in order to understand so many different things about myself – but the moment I understood why this introspection was necessary, is the time I began taking control of my life and not allowing my mental health to overpower me.
I’ve had to fight myself to get out of bed on days when I didn’t want to. I had to force the tears out when I was too scared to admit what was holding me back. I began choosing to push my happiness into my depression and found other ways to free myself of the pain I had kept bottled up for so long. It took a really long time and a lot of hours of therapy, crying and a whole lot of 100mg of Serdep for me to feel balanced. I lost me, physically… and for a while I couldn’t even face myself in the mirror, then I decided to change that.
Now, it’s much easier – I reverted to some of my old coping mechanisms because I was so sure I wasn’t going to make it, but I soon learnt that everything has a specific amount of whats necessary for coping to assist in bettering a person. Everything in it’s doses. My mental health before this owned so much of my life that I didn’t want to go out, hated how I looked, what I though about myself and even how I spoke to people. The moment I made the decision to take my power back was the moment a lot changed for me. It’s NOT easy, I had to do the work and in the end – my life is finally bearing the fruits of my choice to stick to my decision.
My life has changed so much for the better in the last year, the toxic people I held on to and the people who I was toxic to, have been removed from my space. I’ve learnt that loving someone – whether they are a partner or a friend doesn’t mean that I need to be the one making all the sacrifices. You have to get to a point where you smile with your whole heart because you’re genuinely happy, I have finally found that … that inner peace.
I’ve always stood by my opinions regardless of how many people didn’t necessarily agree with them, but last year and this year I have made a decision to challenge my norm and open myself up to the firing line of second guessing myself. The intention for my conflicting opinions was based on a theory and project I was working on with my therapist: We had spoken about the impact that social media can have on ones mental health and confidence. So I strategically put myself at the frontline to see how people would react in certain situations and the reactions were an important part of the case study. The results as an after effect of the harsh words? They damn near killed me. They broke me to the point where I came really close to taking my own life. And I was so certain that I would be able to handle it. The recovery process has been tough, the self love process has been even more difficult – but the results? I’ve learnt that my voice and opinion of myself carries more weight than what I had given myself credit for. I’m mentally much stronger, emotionally I’m still vulnerable but I know now the importance of removing people who are determined to find fault in everything I do from my space. The result: A safe space. An extremely safe space that no amount of money could ever buy.
2017 was filled with challenges, and undoubtedly 2018 will be too. I’ve made damn sure that I am incredibly prepared for 2018, mentally, emotionally and physically, but now is the time for me to realise that the rest is in God’s hands, I’m open to receiving His plans for me.