We both knew that you were going to start off a little differently than usual. I began January in one of the darkest places I’d ever find myself. I was alone, surrounded by people who didn’t understand what was going on, and so treated it like something unimportant and not worthy of attention, this included myself. I had recently become unemployed by my own doing, knowing something wasn’t right but still not wanting to face it head on. I think my family did the same, tried to lighten the mood and ignore all the signs and making it worse. And so, when you rolled around, dragging yourself into fruition, I wanted you to end before you started.
There was no way you, 2017, was going to be good with me feeling like this.
It took so many fights, so many arguments, with myself and with others, and eventually, a week where I just upped and left, to force me to put the first foot forward and in the right direction. I have no shame in saying I went on medication, some small at first and then a little stronger when they just made me feel numb. I think it’s very important to talk about mental health in a way where there’s no stigma. Mental illnesses are one of the most normal things in the world, and they don’t define who you are, despite my grandmother casually telling me that being miserable was a part of who I was (I almost burst into tears when she said this). I knew that I wouldn’t be on them forever, and if I was? That was OK. They weren’t taking away who I was, they weren’t changing me into something I wasn’t, they were helping me find myself again, and for that I will always be grateful.
You weren’t looking so bad anymore, 2017. The sun felt like it was coming out; I was travelling for the first time with just friends. Planning everything myself, visiting places I didn’t think I could visit. Not because of distance or money, but because I thought mentally, I couldn’t achieve something like that. But it meant my bond with friends grew stronger, it meant I could meet new friends, it meant I could be a little friendlier to myself and enjoy things like walking around new cities, trying to speak new languages, and taking as many pictures as I possibly could.
And then, I found myself in a position to get a small, part time job. It was a two minute walk away, without the horribleness of big city customers but instead in a bakery with gorgeous smelling bread and cakes. It was baby steps into, yet again, the right direction.
But, 2017, you weren’t done with me yet, and it turns out it wasn’t the place for me, and I was so afraid once again of this set back that I thought; what if I can’t work again? But so help me God, I was gonna do it, and I landed the work experience of a life time, where the commute nearly killed me and the hamster who I was sharing a room with made sure I got no sleep. In the same month, I wrote 50,000 words of a novel that I’m so persistent on publishing that it sometimes feels like it actually might see the light of day. One day. One day.
It seemed a good thing would happen, and a bad thing tagged along. I came off my meds, but my ex got engaged. I couldn’t handle working in a bakery, but I could handle working at one of the biggest publishing houses in the U.K. 2017, you were full of so many ups and downs that felt like incredible highs and harrowing falls. It all seemed a lot. I learnt how to use social media to learn and to listen, but I also had to cut myself from it because of the amount of information I was receiving in one go. My mental health got a lot better, but my physical health took a hit for it. It seemed like you were taking me across choppy waters with bouts of thunder and lightening above, quite possibly with a broken ore.
But, I want to thank you for getting me here safely, to where I am now. I have better mental health, with better job prospects, burning with creativity and the need to travel.
2018, I want you to be bigger. But please, be gentler.
And Happy New Year Everyone!
Love, Hollie x