Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Blank Space - New Years Resolutions


Caitlin talks about her decision to set realistic new years resolutions and her goal of improvement, rather than perfection
                                                                                                                                 -Caitlin

Not to worry, I’m not about to start singing Taylor Swift at you: my crippling social anxiety and lack of any real singing ability has well seen to that.

But I’ll have a blank space, in place of my usual New Year’s resolutions this New Year. I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, and for quite a few years prior to this, I’d be spending this dead time leading up to the countdown writing an unachievable list of resolutions. Inevitably I would never reach these goals, and a year later I would end up feeling a bit useless, justifying to myself in my diaries why they hadn’t come about. (No, seriously.)

2016 has been one heck of a year for me. I passed my A-levels, with much better grades than I deserved, given the circumstances. I got my place at my dream university, to qualify for my dream job. I met some really, really good people.

Put like that, my year seems very rose tinted (at least in my eyes.) I’ve been through much more than these successes this year, and it would be easy for me to say that I want 2017 to be my clean slate; the new me. I’ve experienced my mental health at the lowest of the low. I was diagnosed with anxiety in May, but I recognised now that I suffered for perhaps two or three years prior to this. Christmas is meant to be a happy time, and I can’t deny that some happy times were had this year, the same as every year spent with my incredible family, but four days after Christmas this year, I started treatment for depression. A big, scary problem that I would much rather leave in 2016, although I know that this won’t happen. To quote John Green, “the world is not a wish-granting factory.”

In 2017, I don’t want a new me. I want to find a way forward, and if that way forward continues to be medicated then so be it. The way forward almost certainly includes accepting that I am sometimes not okay, and accepting that I am allowed to just say that I want to stop sometimes! I’d like the old me back, or at least the good bits, sparse as they may be. I’d like to read more, write more. See the good in the world a little more. Look for rainbows when it starts to rain, and other clich├ęd, happy things like that. I want to find the version of myself that took great pleasure in the little things: neat handwriting, highlighters and pretty notebooks.

This New Year’s Eve, there will be a figurative blank space where I could have written my resolutions for 2017. I don’t want to lose my labels, my metaphorical dragons of anxiety and depression: they are a part of me now. I don’t want to set out to create a new me, because sometimes, rather than reinventing oneself, to keep on keeping on is the bravest decision.

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