Jan 2016: Starting Over / mental health

Another year older, another year wiser?

I am definitely one of those people that sees the arrival of the new year as a motivator for change, although it resonates with me more this year than in previous ones. Sure, I could change anytime throughout the year, but sometimes you want a clean slate, right? It’s easier to start from January 1st, rather than some date in the year that you can’t remember. To be truthful though, change isn’t always necessarily going to happen right away, is it? It usually happens when you least expect, in a strange way, or it is a gradual thing. Whatever it is, you don’t always notice change until it’s actually happened.

The arrival of January 1st is a welcome thing – well, at least from my perspective. The last four months of 2015 were pretty crap for me, with what I could best describe as an emotional breakdown (I’ll refer to it as EB in the rest of this post just to make it easier) which only started from being asked if I was okay. I exhausted myself from crying so much that for the next few weeks I was shattered, and everything became one big blur. Actually, most of the last few months ended up being a blur. It was horrible and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I didn’t even realise until I broke down not only to my dad, but my boss at work and my doctor, that I had that many tears in me. But it was something that was desperately needed to allow change into my life. Looking back, it’s not only things that happened in 2015 that led to EB, but things from many years ago, bits and bobs I didn’t even realise still existed in my mind, things I didn’t even think about were what stood out to me. Basically, I didn’t realise until the EB happened that there was so much on my mind that would end up having a massive knock-on effect on me. It was unbelievably exhausting as even though there have been some down in the dumps moments in my life, this seemed monumental compared to them and affected me more.

I’ve attended some classes prescribed to me by my doctor as I didn’t want to go on medication for whatever the heck it was I was feeling, and so far, I would say it’s helped a little. It’s helped me to see these mental health issues I currently have from a different perspective. It teaches you to basically be your own therapist; to try and notice signs of anxiety, stress, depression, whatever you are feeling before it gets too bad, and how best to deal with it. Although I’ve only attempted it a few times, I would say that meditation or listening to ambient music whilst controlling your breathing really helps.

So from now on I am going to try and get back to have the mindset I had in early 2015 – whatever happens, happens, although it’s hilarious that I was thinking this at a very stressful time (in the midst of thinking of quitting uni, a couple of months before graduation). But this year I can do it with a slightly different view. It was a mindset that made me feel happy in myself, and if it means keeping negativity to a minimum, then I am all for it.

What I want to say is that even though for some people the ‘new year, new me’ saying is tiresome and doesn’t resonate with them, I like to think that a new year doesn’t necessarily mean a new me, but it gives me the chance to learn from what has happened, and forward myself in a positive way.

– Meg Siobhan

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