I don’t remember what I was expecting 2018 to be like when last year came to an end. I think I was just hoping for a year of growth and opportunity, a year where I could do big and fulfilling things. I wanted my life to become “easier” with the new year, to not be held hostage by my many insecurities and believe that my life had no purpose. I did not want to be filled with the sadness that had plagued me for years anymore. I dreamed of loving my life and for once actually enjoying it. That’s what I wanted 2018 to bring me.
Boy was I in for a shock.
Looking back 2018 started like any other year. Life was going at its usual pace and everything felt fairly normal. Then February came. And with the new month came sleepless nights. Literal sleepless nights. My anxiety had reached a new peak that it had never seen before. My mind was racing at a speed that could not be stopped, and for the first time I lost control. I believed that this would be the end of me. I thought I was going to die.
My anxiety and depression have always been a problem for me, but 2018 brought a new perspective to it. I came to fully realize just how much it my mental health has impacted my life and shaped me into the person that I am today. Yes, I have been hurt by my disorders and at times held back from a truly fulfilling life because of them. I hate when I get consumed by those negative feelings, but there is no denying that they are a part of me. My mental illnesses are my condition, not my definition. I may have to live with them but my life is not defined by what they do to me. I am greater than my illnesses, and I must remember that when times get tough.
2018 brought about many times where I was tested by my mental health, and for a majority of those times I felt a sense of defeat. I struggled with what direction I wanted me life to go in. I was confronted by the pains of my past and the secrets that I hold closest to me. I struggled with my relationships and how to navigate them in a healthy way. In all those situations and more I had my anxiety and depression to wrestle with, and I must admit that I think I failed. I let dread consume me each time and it left me feeling hopeless. I could not seem to get ahold of myself through my struggles. 2018 really kicked my ass.
As 2018 comes to a close I cannot help but to start plan for 2019. Even though I am slightly scared to admit it, I’m excited for what the new year will bring. I will be starting graduate school in January and will have the chance to better explore my interests and passions. I have started a new passion project called Seek Silver Linings, a website dedicated to everyday people sharing their stories about their mental health. I am planning on growing my photography business and sharing my creative endeavors with more people than ever before. Getting back into writing will also be a focus of mine as I work to expand my blog as well as working on my first novel. 2019 will be a year of endless possibilities, but I must take advantage of them if I want to have a good life.
More than anything I just hope that I will learn to love myself in 2019. I pray that I learn my true value and fully appreciate the unique individual I am. I want to embrace my differences and not see them as failures. I want to know that I am important and that I matter. The gift of loving myself can transform my entire life.
I hope to discover that gift in 2019.