My New Years Resolution: Survive

I love New Years. I'm a 'first page of a notebook' kind of girl so you can imagine that the promise of a fresh start and a chance to reimagine and dream makes my heart happy. New Years Resolutions are my forte (I'm sure I write some pretty much every week!), and I am well versed now in dreaming and writing down goals but this year I don't have any.

There's plenty of things I'd like to achieve - I always have goals to improve my health, my wealth and the state of my home(!) - but this year I don't think I'll care if I manage to achieve any of them. I don't mind so much if my home stays unorganised and dishevelled. I don't mind if I spend every penny and don't invest in anything worth while. I don't even mind if I pile on the pounds and spend most of the year comatose on the sofa. I just want to survive it, and if I manage that then I'm winning.

This next year looks gloomy. I know we're supposed to be people filled with hope, but it's looking like a season to buckle down the hatches. I'm preparing for war, not against people and powers, but against the battle that goes on in my mind and over my family. The last few years were rough for people and their mental health, and this year looks like more of the same - I want to be prepared to protect myself, my children, my household and my marriage. I will not let Covid win.

In the middle of 2020 I wanted to die. I was so overwhelmed by everything going on in my world that it all became too much and the urge to run away from it all was great. Except we couldn't run away. I was stuck, day in and day out in the four walls of my home as lockdown continued to be extended. It was the scariest time of my life and as I dragged myself out of bed each day I saw the damage that I did to the ones I loved most around me. My marriage was on the rocks, my children were emotionally impacted by my struggles, and my friendship group slimmed to a few key people who knew how to walk alongside depression well. It was hard. So hard. A hardness I don't think you can truly understand until you've walked in it yourself or watched someone you love do. 

I never want to be in that place again and, whilst I don't believe you can prevent depression or create some kind of 'quick fix', I do believe that there are things you can put in place to strengthen yourself against it. There are ways and methods of managing it and I plan on utilising all of them this year. I never want to wish myself away again. I never again want to go to bed hoping I don't wake up. 

It's been so long since I wrote about my mental health journey over the last two years - in part because I was so stung by people around me who criticised me for doing so. With one breath they would say that what was needed was people to be more honest about the journey they are on, and with another became more concerned with how it made them look, and how it highlighted their inability to support someone walking that. But fear of highlighting someone's failings is not reason enough to not share your journey. It's not a good enough excuse to bury it and pretend it doesn't exist, and it certainly doesn't warrant you never trying to heal or reach out for more support. Being stung once does not mean you will be stung every time. 

This year I am making my focus surviving. I don't need to thrive. I am happy being stagnant if I can just get through it, and I will do anything in my power to make that happen. It will come before previously arranged engagements. It will come before relationships outside of my family. It will come before my job. I'm joining the hoards of people who are standing up for their own mental wellbeing and I'm being vocal in public about the problems I've had. It's so important to talk about, and whilst there is still a stigma about mental health problems, whilst it is still frowned upon, and you're still considered 'less than' for having them, I will continue to shout about mine.

It's okay to not be okay and it's time we actually honoured that.

Until next time...


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