I haven’t blogged in the last few days, because I was aware that this is my 100th post! I didn’t want to use it up with moaning, or ranting, or pictures. It felt so important to recognise this little milestone, not to waste it with the negatives and irrelevancies that my life sometimes feels filled with. And hey, I never thought I would persevere with it! As is always the way in life, this post won’t be everything I hoped it would be! But I hope it can be positive, and reflective.
A friend suggested that I write 100 good things that have happened since I started this blog! 100 is far too much. But it was a good idea, and in my mad scramble around for 100 things, I may not have found them all, but I have found lots that remind me how my life is full of sunshine. So here is a list (with some photos, of course!) of some wonderful things in my life, that have developed since I started this blog.
I have made new blog friends. When I started my blog, I was hoping that it would be an outlet for my little dramas, that maybe my close friends would read it and that it would maybe help therapeutically, as I write to clarify, understand and explain. I also hoped that I might find some blogs to follow, that would make me feel less alone. This has happened in bucket loads, but an even greater thing happened: people followed my blog! Not only did they follow it, but they messaged me, began to check in on me in the quiet patches, and slowly created a very virtual way of popping for coffee with friends. The few people who have become online friends through this blog are most unexpected but very welcome – I don’t feel so alone in this mental illness world.
Therapy is different, changing, and empowering. When I started my blog, I was wrapped in a very safe, very sterile, therapy world. University counselling services hold a vital role in supporting students, and I look back on my time in that system with real gratitude and humility. It was a little too safe, though: their safety net ran far and wide, encapsulating all aspects of my life (faculty, friends, work, home) into its big fluffy arms of reassurance. The downfall to this was that any variance in balance was a huge crisis – I don’t do anything in shades of grey, my whole world is black or white, and so wobbles were horrifying.
Since leaving that bubble, there have been lots of wobbles. Private therapy (even with the same counsellor) is scary, disconcerting, changing and mostly just very different. I’m not exactly jumping for joy with this – it’s taking time to adapt – but gosh, it is empowering. Being in therapy because I want to, not because I need to, to survive today; being in therapy to fix things, not just to polyfilla the cracks; being in therapy because it’s the best for me, not because it’s the only option. I’m exploring new therapy options, looking into ways to tackle problems, like my eating, head on and though it is undeniably scary, it is so empowering, to have choice and to have a way of getting better, to feel like I can say when it isn’t working, to be able to choose a different path if I want. This has all sorts of painful negatives that I’m documenting well on here, but I’m going to say that word again: I feel so empowered.
My dogs. BigDog and LittleDog are a constant blessing. I loved BigDog when he came to join our girl; I loved him through her death, and I loved him through his time as an only child. But now they’re a team: beautiful, strong, with sunny dispositions and a intuitive way of looking after their mummy like nobody else in the world. There are many days when the terrible two are my single reason for dragging my ass out of bed, but when I get there they make me smile, every time. When it was just BigDog, it was easy to skip walks for hiding together on the sofa. Now there are two, if we don’t get exercise every day, something fragile in our house takes the fall (…literally). So their very being is pumping fresh air into my lungs, sunlight onto my face and a constant overwhelming feeling of love into my heart.
My career is looking up. For my whole life, I’ve been a child. Even when you get out of school and technically you can vote, drink, procreate, get a mortgage, those final year students are really just terrified children. A friend of mine posted a picture of her cleared out student bedroom, showing all her suitcases piled up – and her childhood bear, dirty from playing and love, sat on top. We’re adults now, but gosh it feels like wearing my mum’s high heels. As scary as it is, though, I finally graduated! The first academic success in a long line of not-quite-successes. I love my profession and I am looking forward to starting work. It feels amazing to be good at something, to have a vocation that makes sense inside. It’s not easy, and it is taking a back seat at the moment whilst I get healthy, but ever so often I think about it and get a little excited kick in the guts. I’m so excited for this next chapter; the first adult one in my life.
I have the most amazing friends. When I was at school, I had a big group of friends, but felt completely alone. Throughout the last year or so, I’ve suddenly found myself with a small collective of friends who, whilst not numerous, support me and fight for me and make me laugh (and make me drink!). This blog has helped me explain myself more, find more words and feel confident enough to share them. A friend said to me last week that this is the first time ever I’ve been the one to bring up this drop in mood and coping – not her. Because I’m sharing more now, even in this incredibly low patch, I feel so totally supported and loved and that is amazing. Even if it’s just a text here or a hot chocolate there, they fill me with happiness and that is so great.
I’ve found some hobbies. I knew that leaving uni would mean leaving that easy social life that is so comforting and, well, simple. I didn’t want to suddenly find myself lonely and alone, so I joined a knitting group and some other social-type groups. I’m not a fantastic knitter, but I’m getting there and it’s still a twice-weekly activity that gets me out the house and off my butt. Through one simple shared interest, I’m suddenly rejuvenated and not so lonely! Which is awesome. Oh, and I get to subject people to constant knitting and dubious projects! Though it is driving my poor boyfriend mad, it is fun and is a really positive addition in my life.
All in all, I’m very lucky and working hard to remember it. Onwards to 200 posts 🙂