Saying Goodbye to 2019: the Good, the Bad, and the Mental

By OneMoreLightLB - December 27, 2019

TW: self harm, suicidal ideation.

I'm not the best at being open about how I feel.

An odd thing for someone who writes about their mental health (and who practically lives on Twitter at times) to state, I know. But whilst I'm good at analysing past events, leisurely dissecting them for blog content and self-deprecating tweets, for more current events I am at times very closed off. This year I was told (coldly) by a GP that I was "quite blase" about feeling suicidal. Well yes, darling, it's old hat for me by now. Would you like a stage production instead?

Perhaps it's a self-protective emotional distance, but I'm far better at channelling negative energy into writing fiction than writing about my life for real; something that irks me greatly as a mental health blogger (but which will hopefully serve me well in the long run...). I long to be open about my struggles and to receive support like I see so many others do, but I hold back. Why? Fear that nobody will care? Fear that people will see me differently? Fear that I will see me differently? Or is it simply the old dance of refusing to relinquish control that prevents me from shining the light on all my darkest parts?

This year has been a roller-coaster. The highs have been my highest, and my lows...well they've certainly felt like my lowest. The truth is that 2019 saw me relapse so many times I lost the ability to call them such and had to accept that these were not occasional slips, but that old demons had come home to roost in earnest. It's the year I wrote out my suicide letter. It's the year I saw my GP at least twice asking for support and was met with an 8 month waiting list. It's the year I cried in the bathroom at work and sat alone in my car at lunch times, too exhausted and ill to stand the sound of other voices. It's the year I truly felt like life had left my bones and I was stumbling towards an ending.

But it's also the year I met some wonderful friends, started therapy with my clinical psychologist, and became a wife.

It's a year that, upon reflection, unabashedly shows that good and bad, that light and dark, that hope and despair can co-exist in startling clarity. Not some patronising Facebook quote with a cutesy background photo, not an inspirational poster, just raw, real life.

My life.

And whilst I think it's important to acknowledge the bad, I'm not here to dwell on it. I'm here to celebrate the good I've done or been part of this year. This is my highlight reel. For anyone out there that can't see the good right now, for those that feel their darkness cancels out their light, and for me, because I've been both those people in recent history.

This is a list of my 2019 highlights. I hope in turn, you list your own. They don't need to be grandiose to matter; time spent with friends, your last pound donated to someone in need, a memory that holds no obvious significance except that it makes you smile; let me know in the comments or keep them for yourself when you need them most, it doesn't matter. Just feel them the way they deserve to be felt. Feel them with a fraction of the intensity you feel your hardest moments and let it fill you, no matter how momentarily, with the hope I promise you is there.

1. I Got Married

The obvious entry at number one: getting married to my best friend and partner in all things, overlooking the sea and Mt Vesuvius in Sorrento, Italy.

It was the single most magical day of my entire life and it was everything I could have ever wanted. Two years of saving and planning (although, we did hire someone to take care of most of that) to be married in our favourite place in the world. Even better, we got to do it all again at our party back home which was a no-fuss dance marathon with our friends and family!

2. I Gave a Key Note Speech at a Self-Harm Workshop

This one hit so many things in one go (you can read about it here). Public speaking (about my personal experience of self harm as a teenager), meeting Twitter friends and solo travel to Birmingham. No censoring, I'm proud as Hell of myself for this one. I don't even know that I stopped long enough to really give myself the proper acknowledgement for this one at the time, so I'm going to do it now. Good going, me!

3. I Was Given a Promotion at Work

My 2019 resolution was simply to "be bold". Well, I think I did exactly that with regards to my career this year. I went for a promotion that I didn't get that gave me great interview experience and allowed me to connect with colleagues from overseas in a way I'd never have gotten to do before. Slightly disappointed but undeterred, I requested extra duties at work and eventually went for (and got!) a promotion within my department. It has been challenging, especially with how low I've been feeling on-and-off this year, but I'm going to quietly give myself props for managing this one.

4. I Landed a Book Deal

This one still has me reeling, coming in as a very welcome piece of last minute 2019 news last week! Available to pre-order here, my Work in Progress tells the story of a young woman who discovers a terrible secret about her family, and must battle the evil forces seeking to destroy her world, along with the darkness within herself. 

This has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I am incredibly grateful to Claire at Wisteria Publishing for this opportunity. Look out for it in late 2020!

2019 has been an intricate weave of good and bad moments, as is life in general. I couldn't possibly capture each and every individual good moment, but these highlights are what stick out to me as I stand metaphorically at the edge of this year, and the decade.

Here's to 2020; may it be fruitful, and may we lose the search for perfection.

* * * *

If you are struggling right now and feel like you need to talk to someone, The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123.

Interested in more content related to mental health? Click here to view more posts on this blog about mental health.

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