Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Awaiting Repair

I don't know what I'm about to write, or why, but I've been inspired, by a meme. That's right. A meme has inspired me. The future is now kids.

This one, to be exact: 

I've been trying to find a way to explain what exactly has made the past 6-8 months so difficult for me, and this here piece of humourous imagery has hit the nail on the head. Not only in terms of mental illness, (which is obviously totally relevant) but other shit life circumstances too.

As many of you know from my years of droning on about depression and anxiety, (for those of you who are new, and fancy reading old posts, I'm sorry because they're long and probably embarrassing now) the inside of my head being a mess is something I've come to accept, but that in combination with the outside of my head being a mess too has made that much harder to deal with. Life has been kicking me in the balls, in a lot of different ways. I feel like all I ever seem to write about are the ways in which I struggle, and I suppose I'd like to stop that, but I try to write from an honest place, and that's where I've been. I always think things have been at their worst, and then worse comes. I suppose this is how life goes.

I've had to put quite a big pause on my life. For a minute I hated the idea. I hated looking like I'd given up, that I'm 26 years old and still fucking about with no real career, but I realised those worries were more about other people than me. If I'd have kept pretending I was handling everything, that would've been much worse. So here I am, starting over again a little bit, for a little while. 

Anyway, it's meant that anytime I've met new people it has been strange and difficult: like I can't fully introduce myself, because this isn't myself. The person I see myself as, someone confident, capable and driven, isn't always exactly who I've been able to be. It feels like I want to explain to every new person I meet, that I'm not functioning at my best. Like I should be wearing a sign that says "Awaiting Repair, Sorry For Any Inconvenience". (I'm going to suggest this as NHS treatment when I'm a mental health nurse.)

It's been lovely to discover, that despite all of this, I've still managed to make new friends. Real ones. Who seem to have gotten me anyway. That's been about the best thing that could have happened actually.

For the majority of the past 8 months (ish) it's taken most of my energy just to keep up appearances, any other capability and/or enthusiasm has been a bonus. I have to be sort of proud of myself for what I've achieved despite how I've felt under the surface. I've been closer than ever to throwing in the functioning-member-of-society towel, but I've just about held onto the corners of it.

The fact that I'm writing, even if its a bit vague,
means that things are much improved. So that's nice.

I know I'm not the first or the only one who's had a shit time, and I will not be the last. I also know, that I am actually quite lucky, and that as far as shitty times go, it could be much worse. It could always be worse.

 So I extend a wee bit of cheesy admiration to anyone who is managing to not only keep living, but keep accomplishing, even a little, when things are going very badly. Those who are being continuously kicked in the balls by life, but keep smiling. Those awaiting repair too. You're not alone. I see you. You're doing good.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Depressed and okay.

Hello. I have depression. 

Most of you already know that. It's no secret. For those of you who didn't, don't be afraid, saying all of this is a good thing. It helps, everyone, I believe.

I've accepted my illness, I've accepted that it blurs the lines between who I am and the ways in which I struggle. I've accepted that I'm going to have to live my life in a way that continually tries to cope with this, and that that's okay. What I'm finding hard to accept is how I'm still coming across people who refuse to see past the fact that on the surface I am a confident, happy person who enjoys life, and yet can also have depression; People that haven't experienced a mental illness and therefore refuse to believe that it can be anywhere near as bad as I (and many others) describe it to be. 

I'm taking some time off right now: I've finally accepted that I need it to recover, that I should listen to the advice that I would give another person. Continuing on with the theme of visibility from my last post, I feel I have to expand on a much more personal level. Again, this is for me, but also anyone else who needs it.

I feel that it needs to be made clear that yes, I'm a person who smiles and laughs and acts like a fool. I'm a person who spends hours (ridiculous I know) on her make up. I'm a person who can be the life and soul of the party. A person who shows enthusiasm. A person who shows love. Who can get up on stage and perform, who can be really motivated and productive, who can be creative, expressive.
But none of that takes away the fact that I'm also a person whose thoughts sometimes race around at a pace I can't keep up with, that can't always fully focus on a conversation because her brain is intent on concerning her with what the other person must be thinking. A person who often feels like they're walking around in a fog. A person who sometimes experiences stress in an inappropriately impactful way. That really struggles to be in a room where there's a lot of noise. That struggles to retain information because her brain is intent on worrying about trivial things that usually amount to nothing instead. That I'm a person whose mood sometimes goes from content to intensely irritable then to tearful in an hour.
The fact that sometimes I have this ball of dread in my stomach, tingling in my legs, beads of sweat dripping down my back (nice) for no reason. That sometimes my brain tells me I'm useless, that life is hopeless and I try so hard to fight with these thoughts because I know it isn't true. That sometimes I don't know what to say or how to express anything. That being in a group of (especially new) people turns me into a quiet little weirdo because my brain keeps telling me they won't like me, even though I know that's not true either. That I want to say "sorry, I know I'm coming across as weird, quiet, apathetic, a bit useless, I just have depression." 

That all of this is only sometimes. That it's okay for me to not be okay. That it's okay for me to be both depressed and okay.

That I struggle almost every day on the inside. That I have no control over this, only coping methods. That probably 90% of these struggles are invisible.

Depression is much more than "sadness". Depression is also sometimes much less than lying on a heap on the floor. No matter whether it affects my life in a big or a small way that day, it's there.
It's okay not to understand, in fact in a way it's great: I'm so glad that you haven't had to feel this, but that doesn't mean it isn't valid for me, and every other person who lives with an invisible illness. You can never fully know what another person has gone through. Never forget that. Never take that away from anyone. Respect their experience, ask them about it, listen to what they need, be there, support them. That's all.

I've thought a lot about what "recovery" actually means for me, and what I intend to spend my time off doing in order to return to things feeling better. I came to the decision that during this time of recovery I want to focus my life around four themes: I want to do things that make me feel happy, feel hopeful, feel good about myself and that address my problems. Even better if I can cover all four themes at once. I'm going to try the best that I can, each day at a time to do that. Wish me luck.

I'm sorry if that was rant-y, and non-cohesive but I published the words as they came out and I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Superboy and the Invisible Girl.

This blog wasn't (and still isn't) intended to be solely about mental health, but the closer I get to becoming a qualified mental health nurse, the more time I spend studying mental health, meeting people affected by mental illness and of course, living with depression myself, the more it permeates my life. Since this blog is intended to be about what's going on my head, I guess that's what I'm going to write about.

The reason I haven't written here for 7 months is mainly down to depression; as I've said before, it tends to blunt my drive to be creative, and the medication I'm on leaves me quite emotionless at times. I just haven't had the same physical and mental energy for a few months now, but I'm trying.

I suppose I just wanted to write something tonight, for myself, and for anyone else who needs it. 
I wanted to say something that addresses an issue that has become quite a central theme in my life in recent months: the topic of visibility in relation to mental illness. (I can only really comment on my own experiences, so this will mostly address depression/anxiety, but the message translates throughout all mental illnesses I believe.)

We live in a society that is very accepting of what they can see, but is pretty sceptical or even completely disbelieving in what they cannot. Someone with a broken leg, immediately gets the acceptance, the empathy; this person is in pain, this person can't do what they normally could, this person needs time to recover. Someone with depression, is often doubted, told to shake themselves, told that they "don't look depressed" before anything else. This is deeply frustrating and hurtful, to say the very least. In fact, this attitude has been detrimental and even dangerous to my recovery. The problem is ignorance, and sometimes it isn't even people's fault that they are so misled and misinformed about what it actually means to be mentally ill. Mental illness is constantly trivialised by those who don't understand it, to the point where they don't even know how ignorant they sound. People still assume that depression means feeling really sad and that there is always a reason, that anxiety means having panic attacks, that if you seen a person with mental health problems in the street, you'd know. I can promise you that about 90% of the time, that isn't the case. The word depressed is used to describe feeling sad, the term "OCD" is used to describe liking things to be ordered. The trope about being a "psycho" girlfriend, and the eery glamorisation of depression, self-harm and suicide that pop up on social media so often. All of this perpetuates this idea that mental illness is something not to be taken seriously, and belittles people's experiences. 

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing what you are taught, I get that. Assumptions are easy to make, but so is checking yourself, reminding yourself not to judge someone until you've walked in their shoes. I can't stress that enough. 

What does depression and anxiety look like? Is it someone who sits in the corner of the room, someone who can't leave the house, someone who looks dishevelled, who cries all the time? Sometimes. It's also someone who rarely misses work, who leaves the house with a full face of make-up on, who comes across as confident and happy most of the time. Depression can be completely invisible, I can guarantee that to you.

I manage life. Most of the time. It's just difficult sometimes. Most of that difficulty is private, hidden. It takes more effort than is normal to get out of bed, to make food, to shower, to walk into a room full of people. I need to psych myself up for mostly everything. I fight my own thoughts, the ones that tell me people don't like me, that I'm useless, that remind me I'm going to die anyway and make me feel terrified of living. I fight the weird fog that comes over my brain sometimes, and try to think through it as best I can. I try to combat the intense irritability. I rationalise with a brain that makes me feel like there's something to dread, even when everything is going well. I constantly remind myself that just because I think something, doesn't mean it's true. I push myself to reply to people, to tell them what I'm feeling, to bear with me. I try so hard to be confident, speak up and just be myself, even when my head tries to stop me. I cry sometimes because I'm absolutely overwhelmed by life, but I just keep trying to live.

I have to take time alone, to recalibrate. I have to actively remind myself of what's good about me, and my life or I forget, and the negativity starts to swallow me up.

I'm not trying to make myself sound like a brave soldier or anything, I'm just trying to be honest about what my (and many others') life is actually like, despite how it appears. This is depression. How much of that is noticeable?

You might be surprised to hear this considering how much I've spoken about it online, but I feel like I'm finally taking my own depression more seriously. I suppose that's down to a combination of what I've learnt on my course and to the fact that my illness isn't as episodic as it was in the beginning. I've recognised the many different ways in which it affects my life, and I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with that. I guess the main thing I'm doing is quite simple, but most effective: not giving up. It sounds cliched but it's probably the most important piece of advice I would give to anyone who is struggling. Keep going, as much as you can. Keep trying. The second most important piece of advice would be: talk. Talk to people you trust about how you're feeling. Talk to your family, your friends, a professional, talk to me if you want. (Slide into those DMs.)(Sorry.) Talking helps immeasurably.

This is all I have to say for today. It wasn't all completely cohesive, but I expressed myself, and that is progress. Thank you please goodbye. 

P.S I have been listening to Next To Normal a lot recently (hence the title of this post). It's a musical about mental illness (it's like it was made for me) and its beautiful and if you like that sort of thing I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

You are not alone.

As it's World Mental Health Day, I thought once again now would be a good time to write frankly about my experience with mental illness.

Last year, I finally opened up about my experience with depression and anxiety. I hadn't quite appreciated how significantly writing that post has changed my life until I revisited it today. Since then, I have been almost as open about my mental illness as I would be with any physical illness. In day to day life and on social media. I no longer carry the burden or the shame that I carried for years, and having that lifted, makes the illness much easier to deal with. 
Not to mention the response from that post; messages of congratulations, thanks, people asking if they could talk, saying it helped them, saying they didn't feel so alone anymore, saying it prompted them to look for help themselves. I've gained friendships through this, how beautiful is that? Please don't think that I think I'm a saint now or anything. I just couldn't have asked for a more positive response. The post was mainly for me, but to feel that it's helped anyone else in any way means too much to even say.

I'm so glad I wrote it, but that isn't too say that I still feel how I felt a year ago. Or that I'm in some way cured; very much the opposite. Rereading it made me realise how much my perspective on the whole thing has changed in a year. Last October, I was writing as someone who had never felt as bad again as she had six years ago. Come January of this year, a relapse meant I was at the very depths of depression and I had to remember what that all felt like again. It's different when it's fresh. 

It manifested itself in different ways this time, anxiety started to overtake depression and that has brought on a whole different way of coping. I wrote a post in July about my newest coping strategies. I'm still struggling along with all of that. Deactivating then reactivating facebook once a week like it's going out of fashion. (My opinions on social media are still true, but I'm coping better with it all now/ too nosey to stay away completely. Predictable eh?)
 I think this year would make the top three for the worst of my life mentally. I can't pretend like everything is going swimmingly at the moment. Some days are good and some are not. The difference is in being able to talk openly and honestly about it with people. Knowing I'm not alone, that there are people out there going through exactly the same thing and who need a listening ear just as much as I do. That's what helps most.

I think what's changed since last year is that I've truly learned to accept that some people are just chemically susceptible to this and that that isn't anyone's fault. I feel that the way I commented on medication last year was a bit negative; My perspective is very different now. I have seen benefits from medication that I didn't have experience of last year, and I'm trying a different type myself now. I know that I can only do the things that have kept me well in the past and know that if I've come through it before, I can again. 

Please remember that mental illness is very common. If you're going through a period of mental illness yourself, you're not abnormal or broken, you are just you, and that is all you can be expected to be. You are not alone. (As a mental health nursing student, you have to trust me on that one.) There is always someone you can talk to, myself included. I am not an expert, but I have ears and empathy.

Thank you for reading as always.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Always, a work in progress.

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I haven't been having a great year mentally. 
At the beginning of the year, a friendship that meant a lot to me was no longer; The whole thing hit me really hard to be honest. 
I'm not sure whether having depression makes me more sensitive to this sort of thing, or whether that's just who I am anyway, but it seems to have been the spark that ignited a relapse in my depression and anxiety. I'm not saying anyone is to blame, just that this is where I'm at because of it. 
Either way, the confidence that was a thing of real beauty for me last year has been gone and my anxiety has been worse than maybe ever in my life. 
It's been an up and down few months, feeling terrible, then better, then back to terrible. 
Anyway, this isn't a post to dwell on what a shit year I've been having, but to share what I've been doing to try and feel better.

I came to a realisation the other day that might just have been the most significant of my life.

It began with finally experimenting my theory that there would be improvements to my mental health/life in general, if I took a significant break from social media. I've always had my concerns about social media. (I've written about some of them on here before.) I hate that it's all primarily about pretending. Proving that your life is perfect. That you are having all the fun in the world, while everyone else sits miserably at home looking on, when in fact we're all playing the same game with each other. I hate that I take part in the game simply because I feel like I'd be missing out if I wasn't. 
I hate how preoccupied social media makes us all. We're too busy checking what people we barely care about are doing, and forgetting to enjoy the time with the people we do care about, who are physically there in front of us. It's insane when you think about it. My every thought turns into a tweet, my every moment turns into something to photograph for fucking Instagram. We're so busy documenting the moment that we forget to live in it. That makes me very sad.
Not to mention that there's just too much information being fed to me on a daily basis. I'm consumed by it, obsessively checking for updates and going to bed with my head buzzing. For what? It's too stressful. 
And there's too much to prove all the time. Look how smart/funny/pretty I am. Look how many friends I have. Look how many places I've been to. It's like building my online persona is taking up more time than being a real person. What is that about? How is that making me happy? It isn't. It's all fake. I need to be free from it. I don't know if I just need a break or whether I'll stay away from it forever but if it's contributing to my anxiety then it's my responsibility to try and let it go.
The irony is that I'll probably share this on Facebook and Twitter, because I know that's the easiest way to reach people, but I think I have to actively try and get away from it the next day.
And yes, I have considered whether sharing it is hypocritical of the message of this whole post and I don't know what the answer is; all I know is that I've enjoyed writing, it has been cathartic, and that I feel maybe other people could benefit from reading it. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think ONLY negative things come from social media. I actually feel like I owe a lot to Twitter for teaching me so much about feminism, body positivity, gender, racism, equality etc and giving me a lot of confidence in myself. A great number of Twitter and Instagram users have been inspiring to me. Getting new perspectives from people all over the world has helped me to see the world and my self in different ways. The problem has been in the unhealthy and obsessive way that I've been approaching it lately, and this pressure I've felt to upkeep a persona.

With nothing to update, and a ridiculous amount of time to think, I went out for a long walk and that's when the realisation really hit me: it's not just social media, I upkeep a certain persona in real life too. I had to dig deep into my own head and I realised that the root of my thoughts and worries are usually about trying to have people see me in a particular way. I am always worried about how people are viewing me, that it's consistent with the person I want them to see me as. It's not as if that person is far from who I am exactly, but I am more preoccupied with trying to always act like this person, hoping that I'm coming across properly, than just being this person. (I'm sorry if this makes no sense.) In the simplest terms, so much of my behaviour seems to start off from wanting to prove to people that I'm smart/kind/funny/pretty. 
I didn't know I did this. I wasn't actively aware that I spent so much time trying to prove that I was those things. I was aware that actually deep down my self-esteem is pretty low, but I hadn't realised the extent to which it was affecting my thoughts and therefore my behaviour. 
I am living a lot more of my life for other people than I ever realised. 

The saddest, but in a way the best thing, for me to realise was that no amount of validation from others about me being those things has ever made me believe it any more. Truthfully, I already believe that I am those things for the most part, and isn't that a beautiful thing? It's baffling that I've spent so much time trying to get others to confirm it, when I've already known.
The day that it hit me, was the day I decided that I could change, that I could set myself free of so much anxiety if I put the work in. I could change my behaviour and see how it changes my thoughts. I am literally stopping a habit of a lifetime. Basically I ask myself "Is this for you or is this for other people?" and I'm amazed at how much of my day is different when I do that. 
I've realised more deeply than ever that no matter how you want to affect the view people have of you, you can only do so much.  It's a fact that they will see you however they want to, and that isn't your problem. 
I always thought I had a good handle on that concept, but it turns out I had even more to learn. 

I feel like I finally have the courage to try being who I am. I'm actively trying not to let the fear of other people's judgment stop me from being who I actually am, even if elements of that person don't seemingly fit in with or please everyone else. It's not about not caring what people think, but about not letting it keep you from being true to yourself. I know it's the most cliched thing ever, but your relationship with yourself is the most valuable one you'll ever have. The more I learn to be that person, and to accept that person, the happier I am. 
It's a work in progress, but I suppose we are all, always, a work in progress. 

Even just having been away from social media for 5 days has given me some lovely peaceful days, occupying myself with enjoying the moment and nothing else. When I was out walking, I felt the feeling that so often shrinks with depression, which was real optimism for the future. I got a wee butterfly of optimism in my belly and I know that that's a sign I'm feeling better. I hope I can keep it. 

I feel like this could be the truest thing I've ever written. I've actively stopped myself from editing in the way that I normally would and just let the words come out as they are. I try too hard to sound clever or not like a self-indulgent wanker normally, when I suppose I should just be a self-indulgent wanker, if that's what I am. (There's nothing like the word wanker to ruin the tone eh?)

Thank you, as always, for reading. I doubt I would read this far into anything unless it was by J.K Rowling.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

We are not two seperate lions, we are one lion.

(Don't ask about that title. Well, ask if you like, but don't expect a sensible story.)

I have some thoughts on relationships...

I wish we could abandon this idea that a couple is "one". You know, "we are one" "2 become 1". (I know, I use credible references.) You and your boyfriend/girlfriend are not a single entity. Neither are you the same person.

I have become increasingly irritated at being treated as if I am a couple. I am in a couple. We are a couple, but that isn't all there is to know about either of us.

It's the same as when I hear people refer to their boyfriend/girlfriend as their "other half" it bothers me a little. It suggests that neither of you are a whole person on your own. Is that really how you view yourself?
To me, it reeks of the outdated, pre-feminist attitude of a time when a woman wasn't considered a real citizen until she had a husband.
I know, I'm taking a throwaway phrase, that most people probably don't even think about when they use, a little too seriously. I also know that some people might use it to hint at the status of their relationship: to say it's a little more serious. Nevertheless i
t's just not a label that suits my mentality at all. (Don't even get me started on "better half".)
It seems linked to a notion I've long discarded, that everyone has a "soul-mate". That there is one perfect person out there, and that once you find them you are complete, and you will never have eyes for another. I've said it before (here) (shameless plug), but I think if we dropped the fairytale romance notion entirely we'd all be happier. It puts so much pressure on you, and your other half (lel) to be perfect, superhuman. It also says that you can't be happy on your own, which is a potentially dangerous message, and entirely false.

In two days, Jake and I will have been together six years, and we both agree that our relationship is in the best, most secure, place it has ever been. We have realistic expectations of each other. We're, perhaps unconventionally, open and honest. We don't expect perfection. It's inevitable that as humans, we will fancy other people (and get a bit jealous about it too), but as long as we fancy each other the most, it's cool. It's also inevitable that as humans, we won't always look attractive, remember to pick our socks up, feel like talking, come home sober, be happy (the list goes on) and that's okay.  
Furthermore, and to go to back my first point, we function as two individuals. We recognise that we don't live the same life. We live together, spend most of our time together, and share almost everything, but we give each other the space to be ourselves and do our own things too. We like each other because have so much in common, but Jake also has interests that I know nothing about, and vice versa.
I never want him to feel like he has to "get home to his girlfriend" when he's out enjoying himself, unless he actually wants to see me. He is a 25 year old man, who is free to make his own choices. He doesn't need my permission to do anything. Y'know? 

I am very independent, and really like doing my own thing, and being alone sometimes. The thought of anyone taking that away from me is unimaginable. My own personal hell would be to utter the sentence "I can't, my boyfriend won't let me", and luckily I don't have to. (I just wouldn't anyway.)

Our relationship wasn't always this way, but over the years we've naturally made our own rules about how to do things, and they work for us.

People ask me when we're getting married and my answer usually goes "We've been engaged two years and the longer it's been, the less bothered I am about it. I like how things are more all the time, and I don't feel like changing it. Plus, I want him to feel free to leave me if he wants to." This seems to shock people a little bit. Think about it though. Isn't that love? Knowing you could easily leave, but making the choice to stay together every day?
I'm not saying that marriage takes this away, honestly, I'm just suggesting that it adds a level of obligation. Or at least, I worry that it does.

Of course, I'm a hypocrite really, because I still wear an engagement ring, and say "fiance" when I want to show off a wee bit. Also because I know we actually will get married some day, and I'll think calling him my husband is the cutest thing. I also know that once we have babies I'll probably scream down the phone and tell him to get him home to his girlfriend all the time.

I never really used to believe that love lasted. I've seen a lot of break ups. My parents loved each other intensely, and still couldn't make it work. I just thought it inevitable that everything ends eventually, but I can honestly say that I'm closer to having faith in it lasting than I have ever been. (That's because of you, Jake.)
 I try to take things one day at a time now. If we still like each other tomorrow, amazing. 

Here's a cheesy wee quote that I really like, and that really made me try and do things differently.
"If you love a flower, don't pick it up, because if you pick it up, it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession, love is about appreciation." - Osho. 

Also, whilst doing a bit of v.srs research for this post, I found this list of better ways to refer to your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/bloody whatever. Numbers 17 and 33 being my favourites.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A promise to progress.

In 2013, I realised something about myself that made me approach 2014 in a new way.

I left school six years ago, and my life has changed completely in that time. I barely feel like the same person at all. I am proud of who I am now, what I've been through personally, and how I've dealt with it. However, it hit me, that in that time, I have started loads of things, but barely finished or stuck with anything. 
If something gets too difficult, or is out of my comfort zone, I tend to want to run away, to give up, and usually I do. I've started everything from a novel, a diary, several different courses and never finished any of them. I've joined the gym and stopped going after 3 months. I've lost so much weight and put it all back on. 
Basically, I realised that...I'm a quitter. I didn't like to realise this about myself. I didn't want to be that person.
I figured, what is the point in being a human, if you aren't willing to try and learn, and to grow? So my "resolution" for 2014 was to make it the year I tried to change this. 
However, I didn't want to approach it as a resolution as such, more just a promise to myself, to try more than I have before. A promise to make progress. 
I wouldn't let being a little bit afraid of something, stop me from doing it altogether. I would try not giving up, and see how that worked out for once.

I focused on three projects with which to make progress for the year. 

My first was driving lessons. I'd never really wanted to do it before, because, basically, I was afraid. I didn't feel like I should be trusted to drive a vehicle. (To be honest, I don't even know if that has changed.) I'd never even practised. It was terrifying and my stomach lurched before every lesson. I was SO out of my comfort zone. I could quite easily have run away, but I didn't. I learned how to drive. Sadly, after 8 months of still never sitting my test, I started uni and ran out of spare time and money. I SWEAR, I don't want to give up. I don't intend to be one those people who never sits their test, and when I sort out my finances, I won't be. Even if I'm still shitting myself every time I'm behind the wheel, I'll do it.

Venture two was my one lifelong obstacle. With my new found attitude, I thought 2014 could finally be the year I lost that shitty excess weight that I seem to love carrying around so much. 
Well, I lost a stone, then put two back on. Fabulous. 
I know. This has been the story for many years. I am sick of even hearing myself talk about it now. It's old news. However, something changed in 2014 that I did not see coming. Basically, for the first time in my life, I gained confidence in myself that was not linked to my appearance. I think they call it INNER confidence(!) Who knew I could actually possess this if I wanted to?! (More on this on my blog soon.)

The last project was Uni. I'd been interested in nursing for years, and thought I could be good at it, but in hindsight, was too scared to go for it. Even when I was applying, my mind was telling me not to. "Nursing is serious shit. Can I handle it? Nope." I ignored these thoughts and went for it anyway. 
Getting in was a big achievement in itself for me.
Three months into the course and I've already felt like it would be easier to run away at times. I've went in and done things that my mind told me I couldn't. I had to work 28 days in a row because of placement and work. I also had to face the one thing that almost stopped me applying. I made myself do it, even though I was shitting myself, and I still can't quite believe that I did. 
I have no doubt that the hardest parts are yet to come, but so far I'm approaching this differently to anything I have before. Which can only be a good thing. 

Maybe none of this seems much, but to me it is. Knowing myself well enough by now, I didn't expect miracles, simply changes. You don't stop a lifelong habit in one go, but you can try, and that's what I did. If this year was about promising to make progress, then I truly feel that I did that. If it was about getting out of my comfort zone, and coping with how it made me feel instead of just quitting, I did that loads. I really am proud of that.

With 2015, I don't intend to focus on any new resolutions that I know I won't stick with. I simply want to keep building on this promise to progress. 
I think the most important thing that has happened to me in 2014 has been my new found inner confidence, and I truly want to hang onto and build on that for the rest of my life. I have much to say about it, which is why it requires its own post at a later date. 

If you're looking for yet another New Years resolution. You know you'll probably give up mid January again, so I would say try looking at it in another way. Don't imagine that the clock will strike midnight and you'll suddenly be a new you. Instead, simply make a promise to make progress. 
Progress to you might be something small, like learning how to cook something, finally finishing that book, or thinking "Fuck it" and wearing the dress you didn't quite have the balls to wear before. Maybe you're looking for bigger progress, amazing. Whatever your goals are, don't put pressure on yourself to achieve them all by the end of January, or even by the end of 2015, just promise yourself that you'll make progress. Give yourself credit (and/or a hug) when you do. 
Good luck, I believe in you.