A review of 2017.

This year has been beautiful, extraordinary, healing and empowering. It has also been a year of growth, of learning how to be strong, and of tackling things head on. I am so very grateful for 2017. It has been my favourite year yet. Since it’s the last day of the year, I’m going to share some little (ish!) but meaningful parts of this past year.

Getting married! This year started off extremely exciting (also extremely stressful) with our wedding and honeymoon in February. We spent all of January preparing, from making decorations and our own flower bouquets, to organising all the more logistical aspects. Planning a wedding is tough work! However, our special day was more wonderful than we ever could have hoped, and we were lucky enough to be surrounded by all the people we love. We have so much gratitude for the special people in our lives. Our wedding wasn’t expensive nor luxurious – our venue was a community hall and park – but I can’t imagine or would want it any other way.

University. This year was the furthest I have ever made it at university! I have now completed two years of my three-year degree, and next year is my final year. Previously I had completed 1.5 years at university before I had to leave due to my failing mental health, so making it through this second year in one piece was a milestone. This year I also got to give a few presentations in front of my classes, and although it was nerve-wracking at the time, I really enjoyed it, and can feel my confidence growing for public speaking. During April we went on a four-day field trip to the forest and mountains, and had an incredible experience. All thanks to recovery (it’s funny what adequate nutrition and good coping mechanisms can do), I also somehow managed to get the best grades I have ever gotten, which was a nice surprise, but something I’m trying not to base my entire academic worth upon.

Therapy. And recovery too! Aside from a very brief stint in therapy last year, this year has marked my official beginning of therapy, and consequently, recovery from anxiety and panic attacks. The skills I have gotten to learn in therapy have proved to be invaluable for not only anxiety and panic attacks, which was the initial reason I started going, but also for many other aspects of my mental health as well. My therapist is incredibly wonderful and helpful, and the endless hours spent in her office throughout the year have truly changed my life. Getting my medication switched from an SSRI to an SNRI has also made a world of difference. To begin with, therapy was terrifying, but now I am beginning to see that staying unwell is far more scary than learning to heal ever could be.

Work. Although not much has changed at work this year, I have noticed a definite change in my confidence and levels of anxiety at work. I have also made a couple of wonderful friends there who I am so thankful for.

Running. During July, August and September I began and completed the Couch to 5K program, which was wonderful! I went from barely being able to run for more than a few minutes, to running for much longer stretches at a time, and seeing a huge change in my fitness level. Running has also been extremely helpful with coping with anxiety.

Blogging and writing. November saw the beginning of this little blog, With Being Alive, a place to share an honest and authentic account about the world of living with, and recovering from mental illnesses. I have had a few blogs in the past (Tumblr was a crutch for anonymously getting what was in my head, out, during my teenage years), but nothing as open and vulnerable as this. I am so thankful for the wonderfully supportive community I have found here! They inspire and enlighten me each day.

Overall, I am grateful for 2017, and for all that it taught me. Who knows what 2018 will hold?