The Difference A Year Can Make; Why I Wanted To Give Up & Why I Didn't
Even though we're technically not at the end of the year yet this is a post that I've been itching to write for a while. I always find myself looking back and reflecting at this time of year, mostly when I'm procrastinating but taking the time to look back can be a really good thing. I've not been shy to share that I've had my low point this year as well as so many highs so I wanted to tell you the difference that a year has made in my life. As when I look back to my life this time last year I was coming out an extremely bad depression and wanted to give up. I had no drive to do anything, I felt frustrated with where my life was and the things that were going on it and how much time I was wasting worrying about things. I hate the whole new year new me crap because it's absolute garbage, wherever we are we're good enough and every single day we have the chance to change the things that we're able to control and try our hardest to be at peace with the things that we can't. 2017 has seen so many changes in my life and when I look back to last year I wish I could tell myself that things were going to change and I wasn't going to feel that way forever. Because that's the thing about mental health struggles when you're in the throws of it you can never see a way out.
There is a really large part of me that doesn't want to write this. Because I hate celebrating my successes and always want to make them seem smaller than they are, which isn't the best trait to have but I think it's something that we can all relate to. At the end of last year, I remember sitting on my boyfriend's desk bench and crying for a good few hours at how frustrated I felt where I was with my business. Last year I got screwed around ,multiple times by companies and lost a lot of money. Income I couldn't afford to miss and it made me want to quit, I wanted to leave behind everything I'd created. I gave myself a limit of 4 months and if things weren't any better I was going to look for a different job. And as I'm sat here typing this you already probably know things did pick up, to a level I could have never expected. This year I've worked with so many incredible brands, brands that I've loved for years and years. And giving myself that time limit made me work harder and push myself to make changes. Every single day I know how fortunate I am to be able to have my own business and I know to never take that for granted as it could all end in seconds.
My mum's death isn't something I like to mention all that often. As if I'm completely transparent it feels a little redundant, constantly talking about the same feelings doesn't make me feel any better. I'm a big believer that the grieving process isn't something that ever completely goes away and it's always changing. This year there has been a lot of changes in life, big life changes where I would have loved my mum to be around and see them and support me through them. I wish she'd been able to see me really thrive in my job, move in with my boyfriend, pass my driving test and get Josie. In the summer, when all these things were happening I felt incredibly low mentally and I couldn't figure it out and I was feeling so frustrated that I wasn't happy even though all these great things were going on. It's been 8 years now since she passed away but I still miss and think about her every day but when big events happen in my life it's still so hard. There is a large pressure when you're grieving to get it over with quickly and then never mention the person again, which is very sad and so damaging to everyone's personal process.
Getting my own dog has been a really big deal for me. I've lived with a pup for the past 7 years, most of you guys will know who Bella is. That adorable Westie who will always be my OG pup but moving out with my boyfriend meant that I wasn't going to be living with her anymore. Which is something I found, very, very hard. The difference that animals can make to our mental health is incredible and Josie has truly brought out the best in me. I adore that little no so little pup more than anything, she makes me happy every single day and washes away my worry and I truly believe she's made me a better person. This isn't to say having a dog is easy, I've given up a lot in my life to make room for her which I obviously don't care about it but having a puppy is hard. Sometimes you feel like you're losing your mind with their different stages and no day is ever the same. But I wouldn't change it for the world.
I suppose this goes hand in hand with Josie but moving out has been such a big change for me. I was never in any rush to move away from my dad's house as I loved living at home with him. But I knew that I needed to so I could properly start my life with my boyfriend and because I'm now able to drive [a necessity for where we live] it felt right. It was a hard adjustment, I'm not going to lie and make out like I didn't feel homesick for my dad's house because I did. Which at the age of 27 I was not expecting to feel that way, fortunately, I see my family every few days as I try and walk Josie and Bella together as often as I can which makes it's so much easier for me. And now I feel like my boyfriend and I are a proper little family which makes my heart feel so full and fuzzy. We've got so many plans with our house which I'm so excited to get to work on.
FOOD & HEALTH
When I think back to this time last year as well as everything else going on I remember not being very well at all and really struggling with my diet. I try not discuss my physical health issues online as it's not something I'm completely at peace with. And that's my general rule when it comes to sharing anything online. If I'm not really at peace and at ease with it then I don't share it. I was spending a lot of the night awake in pain, unable to eat a lot of food without it coming out of me in a rather unpleasant fashion and being so bloated constantly I couldn't wear clothes at home. I dropped a lot of weight, very quickly and ended up very underweight and it knocked me. I didn't feel happy in my skin, I felt so uncomfortable in my body and so desperately wanted to work on my relationship with food. When food is causing you so much pain and exiting your body it's no surprise that it becomes stressful. Since May I've worked so, so hard at finding more joy in food and I'm so happy that I've managed to put some weight back on. It's been a really difficult journey but something that I'm so proud of achieving.
I've discussed my mental health quite a lot this year online which isn't something I was expecting to do. I've always been quite fearful of sharing how I really felt online as my struggles didn't align with other people's so it made me feel like I didn't have the right to share. Which of course, is complete rubbish and mental health is not a one size fits all type of illness. I've had some real low moments this year, I'm not afraid to admit it and taking the power away from my mental health and knowing it's not what defines me has been a huge step. The biggest thing that has changed this year is my OCD, in 2015 I was finally [it had been a long time coming] diagnosed with severe OCD specifically with order and symmetry. For a long time, my life revolved around my compulsive habits, I was taking all the clothes out of my wardrobe, ironing them and then putting them back in the perfect order around 6-8 times a day. Or cleaning my phone screen every 10 minutes and dusting my desk constantly. These are things that I've never shared on the internet, I still have bad days now with it but I've made SO much progress and the phantom OCD thoughts don't rule my life anymore which they once did. OCD isn't ever something that I've spoken about on this blog, infact it's not something a lot of people know about me but I want to try and make a change this upcoming year and speak about it more. It's a very complex illness, that is so much more than people believe and so often people brush these intrusive damaging thoughts that they have away which is dangerous.
I'm pretty sure I don't need to say something that we all probably hear on a daily basis from numerous people online. But since I started blogging over 6 years ago it has changed SO much. Blogs are now businesses and now my blog is a business, it's how I make my living and that's something I am incredibly proud of. But that doesn't mean it doesn't come without its drawbacks, the online space isn't the easiest place to be. It can be incredibly intense and often a very negative place to be, for so long I used to sit and become so consumed with what everyone else was putting out and it was starting to become problematic. Now I've completely changed my relationship with the things that I consume, if I see drama going down on Twitter I will mute the conversation. I don't have time or the energy to spend it worrying about people being petty and negative. We are in control of what we consume online and it's so easy to forget that, I love logging onto my online platforms and seeing people do awesome things. Not throwing shade and hunting out negativity, it's not ok and it could have such a damaging effect on that person. I want my online space to always be a happy place, an honest place of course but most importantly a safe and nice place to be.
For a long time, I fell into the mindset that my self-worth was based on how hard I worked and much money I earned. It was such an unhealthy mindset to be in and whenever something didn't quite work out which is very often when you're self-employed I fell into a spiral of self-loathing. It's taken me so long to even make a dent in this mindset but I'm making progress and working towards having a much healthier relationship with work. I absolutely love what I do, it's such a privilege and an honour to have a job like this but even when you love what you do you're allowed to want time away from it. Time away from any job is so important to give your mind a rest. And importantly time away where you aren't riddled with guilt or feeling like you're being lazy for stepping away is even more important. We live in a society where it's almost applauded for being so burnt out that you have a serious breakdown because it's all for the hustle. Maybe I'm wrong but I do truly believe that there is a way to work hard without becoming so burnt out and exhausted that you no longer have time to do the other things that you enjoy doing in life.
What has changed this year for you?