At the start of 2020, I made a conscious decision not to make any resolutions. Not to set any goals or aims but rather, for the first time ever, to simply go with the flow. This was a difficult decision for me to make. All my life I’ve planned everything. But after being thrown a curveball in 2019, I realised I can’t control it all and attempting to do so would just cause me more anxiety and heartache.
I figured societal expectations are already heavy enough without adding additional pressure to myself. I knew what I wanted to move towards but didn’t plan which route to take. Instead, I decided to just let life run its course and see where it took me. However, like all, I didn’t expect everything to pause less than a quarter of the way into the year.
Now I could write an entire blog about how COVID has made 2020 a rubbish year, in fact, I did. However, that’s not what I want to post. When I made that choice not to set myself goals I did so out of faith. I let go of logic and for once simply hoped. And although I’ve not travelled as far as I would have liked, good things still happened this year.
On 8th August 2020, I was sat in my room listening to the songs I’ve been listening to non-stop for the past two years and all of a sudden I realised I was hearing them differently. Two days later I celebrated my 25th birthday with everyone I love and after the adrenaline wore down I still felt good. Not just ok but good. This year, I got out of my rut, I stopped being depressed. Admittedly it took a medication change and also an increase in dosage but it happened. I now feel genuinely proud to me be for the first time in eight years and even prouder of the scar I can barely see.
Although my VNS surgery took place last year, it was in 2020 that I began to see the change it was making. For the first time in my life being seizure-free felt possible, it was no longer an irrational dream but a genuine possibility. Obviously, as discussed in my previous blog, we’re not there yet. But it’s no longer a concept that scares me. I’ve always thought being seizure-free scared me because epilepsy is so much of who I am. But in reality, I think it was simply a fear of being disappointed. I’m not clinging on to the idea, it’s still unlikely but it is now possible and that alone is something to be grateful for.
My Social Life
Now obviously socialising has not been a thing for a while. However, in the first few months of the year, I did a lot. At the start of 2020, I only made two commitments: a four weeks online course and joining my local gaming club. I went to one meeting at the end of 2019 but after my mental health began to decline my social anxiety prevented me from returning, that is until last January. Ever since I left uni there’s been a gap in my life. Other than hospitals, the only place I’ve ever really felt I belong was at the University of Sussex DocSoc. Gaming club by no means replaces that, nothing ever will. But it gave me something to focus on, a reason to leave the house when at my lowest. And a form of beautiful escape from this crazy world.
I also began my work as a Young Rep for Young Epilepsy. This past year I’ve put everything I can into doing as much work with them as possible, as once I turn 26 I’ll no longer be considered ‘young’. It’s given me a chance to meet other young women like myself, who are slowly becoming good friends. And has opened up many doors and given me several useful contacts. Although, for reasons I won’t disclose, I’m feeling slightly detached from the role at the moment, becoming a Young Rep has made a massive difference to my life and I’m grateful for that.
Ever since I left school, I’ve fantasised about a reunion. I’m standing on the slope that leads into the school dining hall, anxious and unsure where to start. Until my beautiful husband finally walks in having just got off the phone with the babysitter. The popular girls are all flabbergasted as to how I got such a gorgeous guy. The teachers who doubted me, are impressed and slightly envious of my career. And not a single person doesn’t gush as my overly confident husband shows off pictures of our kids. And no one in that room intimidates me anymore.
Now, this scenario is very much a fantasy. I don’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a lifelong partner. And I’m still on my two-year-long hiatus. If things had gone as I’d hoped in 2020, I’d definitely be closer to my desired future than I am. Yet, despite feeling like I’m still in the exact same place I was a year ago, everything above proves that I’m not.
Right now, I am probably the healthiest I’ve ever been mentally and physically. And although in reality there’s a lot more than just fear holding me back. I’m ready to start grabbing life by the horns and saying yes to opportunities.
As I suggested in my previous post, just before the holidays began, I got an opportunity that could really kickstart my career in research. I don’t like writing about things whilst they’re still only ‘potential’, but I’m pretty confident this door is going to stay open and when I walk through, it could lead to some pretty big things.
And at the start of 2020, I wouldn’t have been able to write that. I wouldn’t have seen it that way. At the beginning of the year, I was still certain the whole world was against me and I wasn’t good enough for anything. But despite everything that 2020 has thrown at the world, I’m ending this year on a high. I don’t how long it’ll last, I’ll most likely be back to my normal pessimistic self in a few days. But if there’s one thing I’ve realised this year, it’s that one needs to cling on to good days and take advantage of them because they never last forever.
So, if you want to help me stay feeling happy, scroll down and subscribe. All you need to do is fill out the form at the bottom of the page (on mobile the form is off-screen to the side, something I plan on fixing in the near future). It merely means an automated email each time I upload a new post, nothing else. Plus, once I have more followers who I don’t share a home with I may even start creating subscription-only content. So you really have nothing to lose. Oh, and if you want to respond, do so on the actual post rather than where you see it shared. It builds traffic etc. and helps me out.
I hope you all have a Happy New Year, and I want to reemphasise I appreciate every single read, share and comment. So here’s to 2021!