Entry 7: 4 Years Later

On January 15th, I started writing the blog post “2016 is the year I choose happiness.” Four years later, I’m here to tell you what I’ve learnt, and why that blog post is now so poignant for me.

I’ve spent far too long contemplating this topic, but thinking about something isn’t the same as actually achieving it.

M.A.

I started university in September 2015, and by the winter of that year I had started attending monthly counselling sessions. A doctors appointment had led to me crying on a bus, and it was after that day that I decided I could no longer cope alone. For two years, my family and I had tried to find strategies that would help me deal with my daily anxiety surrounding food. But one trip to the doctors had tipped me over the edge. I wanted to be happy and healthy. And in that moment on the bus, I knew that I couldn’t achieve both things on my own.

The truth is, life is unpredictable, things are ever changing, and time is a constant ticking clock that we all seem to fear.

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Even on my worst days, I was always self aware. I knew, as much as I hated to admit it, that I wasn’t okay, and it bothered me.“Why can’t I just be normal?” I’d once said to my counsellor, before chiming in with the expected response “I know what you’re going to say…normal doesn’t exist.” And I believed that, knowing deep down that normality was far too subjective to ever be properly defined. Despite this, I also thought that if normal was a person, I definitely wasn’t it.

Before I continue, I would like to clarify that I’m far from unhappy…

January 15th, 2016

Maybe I believed that statement when I typed it on my old Dell laptop screen. Maybe I thought high grades on essays, sometimes eating lunch with friends, and drinking way too many vodka cranberries was solving all of my problems. Maybe I was just afraid that those that knew me would find out I was unhappy, and I’d be forced to explain why. I guess I’ll never really remember what I was thinking when I started that post. But I do know how I feel now…

Four years, two degrees, one move to Scotland, and countless mistakes later, here are the five things I’ve learnt.

  1. There is so much life to be lived when you ask for help. Reach out to someone you can trust irl, or sign up for counselling. It’s better to do it sooner rather than later, but it’s never too late.
  2. People matter. Find the people who light you up and never let them go. You’ll need them, even when you’re stubborn and prideful and you tell yourself you don’t.
  3. Life isn’t the downhill spiral you think it is. It’s not only an uphill trajectory after you recover either. Embrace the pitfalls. Each time you do, it’ll get a little easier to find your way back to who you truly are.
  4. Writing helps, even when you’re not a writer. There’s a reason people journal to process their thoughts.
  5. Happiness isn’t this groundbreaking concept, nor is it something you’ll never find again. It’s a process, and a feeling that changes as you do. Stop focusing on other people’s perceived definitions and start creating your own.

*This post was inspired by #WorldMentalHealthDay

For more information on UK based mental health services, check out the links below. [Information based upon NHS mental health resources ]

Mind: A mental health charity which provides advice and support to anyone struggling.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Website: www.mind.org.uk

Samaritans: Support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

YoungMinds (CAMHS): Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services targeted at supporting and improving the mental well-being of children and young people.

Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)

Website: www.youngminds.org.uk

Project WHW: Life Uncategorized

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