It’s just a few hours until midnight as I sit at my desk, deciding that I need to write myself a note of hope. A note to look back on a year later to see just how far I’ve come, and likely how much has just remained the same.
A note of hope that as 2020 develops I will be stronger than I am now, more resilient and worthy. Hope that my year of healing, which 2019 has been, will be over and I can flourish in a new life. Or at least a better one.
I’m not searching for a miracle or some wonderful, life changing windfall. No what I desire most in 2020 is stability. This past year has been a roller coaster physically, mentally and emotionally. A constant up and down, even before my diagnosis in March. After 20 years I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar. Years of ups and downs, feeling inadequate or stupid. All come together into a Pandora’s box with that little announcement.
The box was opened this year without any choice. Time off work was a requirement, it meant the difference between life and death. Time dedicated to putting myself through hell in order to “stabilize my condition”. Medications that raised me to uncomfortable highs and lifetime lows. A book of challenges that I still have not shared with anyone else.
Loss, so much loss this past year. Confidence, self-esteem, self-assurance, faith, trust and self-respect. Not to mention the loss of others. While fortunately no one in my immediate life died, most of my relationships did. Neglect on my part due to my mental health spiral. That is one of the hardest pills to swallow this year, the loss of my life as I knew it.
Change is inevitable. When one door closes another opens, blah, blah, blah. Not that I don’t embrace the platitudes I’m still left feeling stuck on what a New Year, and a new life, actually means. What does it look like? Where do I even start? How do I make it happen?
I have an upcoming meds change in two weeks, so while I would love to plan out my future there are two barriers at the moment. One the change of meds could throw new curve balls into the mix. Two I don’t have the faintest clue what a future looks like. I’ve been doing day by day for over 365 days. A small part of me fears that if I keep it up my day by day will add up to a life that passes me by.
Mentally, emotionally and spiritually I’ve had to learn how to challenge all aspects of my life. Suddenly the litmus test of head, heart and gut doesn’t hold weight. With that comes the constant challenging of every thought, emotion and decision. Always second guessing myself has taken its toll. Sure I used to ask for outside feedback and advice, but recently i feel like I need permission to truly live. When instincts are gone what is left?
All of the therapy this year is whispering in my ear to counter those negative beliefs. To focus on the controllable, or the positive, all the things I’m grateful for. It’s not that I don’t but rather I can’t regain or remember the “good” feeling. Catching snip-its here and there, moments that yet can’t be sustained. Insert personal reminder that “meds are the smart move” here. Something I’ve repeated like a mantra for the past couple of months.
Yet I must remind myself that in losing my will, my instincts, and ultimately large parts of myself, I still have gained. Almost all of my toxic relationships have been lost, which is a perk. I’m reminded frequently of the amazing support, patience and tolerance of my family near and far. Passions lost have been reclaimed and allow me to occasionally daydream about a brighter future. Essentially my life is a blank page, I just don’t know what to write.
This is where I stand stepping into the New Year. Full or apprehension and curiosity as to what the year will bring. Looking forward I try to sway my fears and look at this past year as a year of growth. Focusing on the opportunities time has awarded me instead of what was taken. This is my hope for anyone reading this who has had a challenging year. To be able to take a moment to reflect, being grateful for all that life has offered. Able to shed the negatives as time moves on, remembering we too must move forward.
To you, and all those you love, may the New Year of 2020 bring you growth, opportunities and gratitude.