It’s getting closer and closer to the end of 2018 and what a year it has been. It’s the first year in a while where there has been more ups than downs but it has been a roller coaster adventure. I’ve had a tough couple of months with my anxiety. It’s been a real shitter some days so I’ve decided to take a look back at 2018 to try to help me realise what I have accomplished in 12 months.
January 2018 – I was half way through my CBT therapy. At this point I was focusing on processing my dads death. I was off sick from work and spent my days either sleeping, crying or with my horse. It was a rough start to the year. I knew I had to get through my counselling but it was really pushing me beyond my limits. My PTSD was the worst it had ever been, my depression was eating me alive and anxiety was off the charts. I had the worst panic attack I have ever had before (Panic Attacks Are A B**ch) which still haunts me now. January was a month that really tested me. In a way i’m glad the year started off how it did. It helped me get in the correct mindset for the rest of the year. I was determined to get better. By this point my visa had been accepted for Australia and this was the goal I was aiming for. I wanted and needed to be better before my move to Australia.
February 2018 – I had officially left my office job which was a huge weight off my shoulders. It was something I no longer had to worry about and something my anxiety could no longer get paranoid about. My sessions were still focusing on my dads death but it was getting easier to relive the day and process it. The sessions still drained me and my free time was spent in my bed but all the questions that were on repeat in my head since he died were pointless. I was starting to realise how much it all effected me and how cruel my brain was. I basically put myself through shit. Everything was all coming together and it was eye-opening so I decided that this was the time to start putting my blog together. I made mind maps (I love doing them) of what to write on each section of my blog. I researched other people’s blogs and picked up little tips. It was all starting to come together. I had a lot of free time with me being unemployed. Focusing on my blog in my free time gave me something to do whilst in bed. It was a distraction that I enjoyed and made my mind focus on something positive.
March 2018 – My counselling sessions were now every 2 weeks instead of every week. The progress I was making had me feeling 10 times better. I still had my days where I wanted to be in my own company in my own space (I still have those days now) but I was feeling so much better. My days were no longer mostly spent asleep. I was out with my horse more, meeting up with friends, out with my dog or putting my blog together. I knew my counselling sessions would be coming to an end soon and I was scared about that. All I ever knew was this girl who was traumatized and depressed from her life. I didn’t know what type of person I would be once I finished my counselling. I was scared I’d lose friends. I was scared that this fear would cause me to relapse. It was pretty daunting. It was actually time to close the door on my past and leave that traumatised girl in there with it.
April 2018 – I finished my counselling! On the 19th April I had my last session and I was starting to feel like a new person and I liked this person! I was getting to know me. Suffering from mental illness’ for so long and from a young age always left me feeling lost and confused. I never really knew who I was and when I finished my counselling I felt more human. I felt more connected to my mind, body and soul. I was in tune with it all but I also had to get to know me. Everything was different. My outlook on life, my likes and dislikes, my hobbies, my priorities. Everything changed but for the better. I was becoming someone I enjoyed being.
May 2018 – My best friend L left for Australia (Till Next Time) and it took a while for me to get used to that. It was my first challenge since finishing my counselling that I felt could either send me into a pit of depression or I could see it in a positive perspective. The first few weeks were odd. It was weird spending a weekend without him. It was weird getting stoned by myself so much. Smoking in my car in our smoking spots wasn’t the same but it gave me a lot of time to myself which I think was a blessing. It was something that I needed even if I didn’t quite realise it at the time. It helped me work on my independence and hearing him talk about his Ozzy adventures made me even more excited for my Ozzy adventures come August.
June 2018 – Summer had arrived in the UK and it was glorious! My countdown to Australia was getting lower and lower and everything was beautiful and positive. I still had my moments where anxiety took over. I was still unemployed so money was a major…very major worry for me but I have the best and most understanding mum in the world. We went to Cape Verde and had the most amazing holiday. It was a perfect mother and daughter holiday which is what we wanted before I left for Australia. Despite my money worries I still kept my positive outlook on life. Me and Z continued our fat day tradition but we soon fell in love with a little café called Black Milk in Manchester. It became our regular go to place every week (sometimes more than once a week). We’d go there on sunny afternoons or warm evenings. Before we went to a shisha bar or just when we were bored. It’s a place filled with peace, love, ice cream and chocolate.
July 2018 – I was so ready for Australia. My PTSD and depression had been none existent for a while but it was hard to shut the door on my past whilst still living in the UK. I wasn’t happy here. It didn’t have the homely feel anymore. I was so fed up and counting down the weeks, days and hours till my flight to Oz. I wanted to be able to finally close the door on my past and say bye to the old Emma and having to wait to do that frustrating but I had a lot of positives this month. By this point L was back from Australia so I managed to spend time with him before I left. Barney had his first day at the beach. I said farewell to my friend Bubbles (Farewell My Friend) but if it wasn’t for him this past year and more would have been even more difficult.
August 2018 – The goodbyes were done and I was off to Australia! The day had finally arrived! Going from a heat wave in the UK to the middle of a Australian winter was a bit of a shocker but I made it. The door to my past had been shut, locked and the key was tossed off my plane. This was the start of my new life. This was my goal that I had reached.
September 2018 – Life in Australia was still good. I was loving the work, the people and the lifestyle. It was easier to feel free out here. I had my moments where I wished that L, Z and Barney were with me. I wished Bubbles could have joined me on this yard because nothing in the UK can compare to it. Thousands of acres of land and the overall setting of the yard had me in amazement. I was still in shock of where I was. I still couldn’t quite believe that just a few months prior I was a someone who had only just finished counselling.
October 2018 – I was beginning to get homesick. I didn’t miss the area in where I lived or the people that lived there. I missed the ability to drive to Manchester and go to Black Milk with Z. I missed going for a ride on Bubbles. I missed going for a drive/walk with L and smoking weed. I missed sunbathing by the lake with Barney. Going from having everything around me within 2-20 minutes away to having the nearest ‘town’ a hours drive away was a bit of a shocker and as I started to live here more it sunk in more and more. I love rural places. I’m a country girl at heart but being this remote was sometimes challenging. Going for a walk at the end of the day was nice but where ever I walked and no matter how long I walked for I would still be on work property. The place is fucking huge and it’s a lot to take in. My anxiety started playing tricks on me and I’ll admit mentally I lost some control.
November 2018 – My anxiety had been shit so what better way to reconnect with yourself than alone time! So I separated myself from everyone else. To some that might not sound healthy but it’s about finding what works for you. I’m not a social butterfly. I enjoy my own company. I enjoy silence. I am happiest in my own space. So I said no to social invitations that I didn’t feel would benefit me. I concentrated on my meditation and stretches. I distanced myself from any drama and I turned my focus back on my main priority. Me. I’ll admit there were times where I contemplated booking a flight home in December but I realised that was the anxiety talking. Did I really want to end 2018 getting defeated by anxiety? Fuck no! So I kept going. Taking each day as it came. When the anxiety popped up instead of trying to instantly fight against it, I would listen, understand and conversate with it. Talk to yourself! Anxiety can sometimes feel like there is literally someone else in your head. Fighting against anxiety causes conflict. It causes an argument. By listening to your anxiety you have the chance to question it. Make it sweat. There is no reason for anxiety to be there so keep questioning it till you make it realise that.
December 2018 – So far it’s had its ups and downs. My anxiety and I still argue and there’s been a couple of times where I have been reduced to tears because of it. Crying felt good. It released some pressure and emotion. I’ve been able to analyse my anxiety. I’ve figured out what’s causing it, when it’s going to creep up on me and what my anxiety doesn’t like. I’ve started to come up with ways of trying to cope with it however, I’m finding it difficult here. The coping mechanisms I used back home aren’t as easy or simple to do here. I’ve had to pretty much completely figure out and create new ways of trying to keep my anxiety at bay. It’s still a working progress but with some encouragement from my loved ones and some motivation from me I’m hoping come 2019, I’ll be back on the right track.
I’ve loved 2018. It has been my best year in a while. The biggest lesson I have learnt this year is that it’s normal to sometimes take a few steps back. The past couple of months have been difficult due to my anxiety. I’ve been beating myself up about it a lot as I just wasn’t expecting it to be a problem anymore as I had finished my counselling but blips in the road to recovery are normal. It’s about how you decide to cope or overcome the blips. They might knock you back a bit or once you overcome them they might shoot you forward into a new light of confidence and positivity. Everybody is different. Everybody’s recovery story is different. At the end of the day it’s about you. What works for you. What triggers you. What helps you cope. Stay connected to yourself.
2018 has been my year of realisation. 2019 is going to be the year I put everything I’ve realised together.
I’m looking forward to closing the door on 2018 and truly putting my past behind me.
2019 is going to be our year.
You’ve got this!
Lots of love,