I began writing this post a week ago then I fell into a state of anxiety and couldn’t finish it. I wanted to but I truly didn’t know how to even put together this year.
I began my year in pain, a week prior having had a two-day stint in A&E with a whole cloud of worries and being placed on the biggest tablets I’ve ever seen I was in a particularly rough place when a trip I’d spent years planning came along. I hadn’t drunk alcohol throughout the week on the tablets, mainly because I was terrified, I’d die I did but also because I was strictly told not to. I flew to Berlin with three friends, I was already dealing with a lot and having just come off a terribly painful time I didn’t particularly know how I was going to cope with what was happening. I love Berlin, it’s my favourite European city and as always it didn’t disappoint. I entered 2020 tipsy sitting on the steps outside our hotel petrified of the fireworks, I entered 2020 in tears wishing for a better year, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
Just after I got back it was my 21st birthday, a pretty important one. My goal was not to cry, I shouldn’t have had that expectation. On my actual birthday I went out and got drunk, I ended up in fits of tears at the end and was doubled by the guy I was speaking to telling me to ‘f*ck off as I’m a mess’ when I rang him. ON MY BIRTHDAY. I travelled down to Plymouth, my then university, and got ready for a party I was not mentally prepared to host. My anxiety was heightened to the point that I couldn’t get drunk, I was stone cold sober. I’m not going to talk about the events of that night because they don’t need to be mentioned, but it was the worst birthday of my life. The following night we doubled the celebrations and ended up out, I got so drunk that everything that happened the night before no longer bothered me. It was obviously the wrong decision on my part. The following weeks were horrific. I spent so much time overthinking things, believing that I was a toxic and horrible person. I believed everything that was said, as it’s known drunk words are sober thoughts. I revisited every part of trauma in the space of two weeks and then I wiped the slate clean. I moved on.
I got a job, it kept me busy and in turn helped me get through the days. I dropped out of the masters I had my heart set on and I decided I wasn’t staying in Plymouth. I went on tablets and then more tablets for UTI’s. I had my last sexual encounter in almost a year, yes you heard that correct my year of ‘celibacy’ is almost over. Then I had to explain myself and things ended, I got behind on university work and there were times when I thought I’d have to re-sit my final year. It got that rough. I had an allergic reaction after being horrifically ill and ended up with tonsillitis. I stopped going to university, I didn’t contact friends and I didn’t contact my therapists. I went to the GP and got signed up to begin trauma therapy and speak to a life coach. I applied for Carlisle, still didn’t know where it was and never fully believed I’d end up there.
I spent a lot of time re-watching shows that made me happy, I cried a lot, and my breakdowns were more impressive than before. Then the 7th of March happened, when my mum rang me and told me to sit down, I knew what she was about to say. I went numb, I was weeks behind on uni work and I’d barely recovered from my month-long stint on tablets. There are times in life where time stops and that phone call was one of them, my Mormor the strongest woman I knew lost her battle. She went peacefully and not in pain, which is all we could’ve wanted but I wanted more time. No amount of time can prepare yourself for it, I had years to prepare and it caught me off guard. I think a part of me thought that she’d be alive forever, that an incurable illness would reverse, and she’d see me watch the graduation stage three times, she’d see me walk down the aisle and she’d cook my kids her incredible pancakes one day. I think the worst part of getting older is everyone around you gets older, something I am not prepared for at all.
I finished my degree and dedicated my dissertation to her, if anything her passing was the only thing that motivated me to actually do the work. I know how proud she was of me and I needed to do it for her. March, I came home for a week and that was the first time I had come into contact with the real world, I didn’t know what everyone was on about regarding coronavirus. My mind had been clouded, I went to a concert and Magic Mike in London that week, the following week university shut and then lockdown came. I was on the tube having packed as much of my flat as possible in the space of 4 hours and that was it. I didn’t realise that apart from the two trips down to pick up stuff that was my time in Plymouth done. Three years of my life, so many good and bad memories all come to an end.
I went from living predominantly alone to sharing my space with four cats and three other adults, I drank an abundance of alcohol to get me through. It was a rough time for me. I’ve previously mentioned about the fact that there was a point when I realised how bad the drinking had gotten, I woke up one Sunday morning with a hangover having spent a quiet evening in with my family. I didn’t eat till like 4pm as I was so ill, that was the turning point. My lockdown consisted of a lot of breakdowns, I slowly came to terms with my losses both friendships and my Mormor and found who I am. I applied for a masters at Plymouth University and remembered my offer from Carlisle- I decided that I was off to make a fresh start and so I got prepared for Carlisle. I’m very lucky I managed to escape England in the pandemic, I looked like a hypocrite but at the same time I fled to an island where things were more normal and spent two weeks hidden in isolation having seen no one. I got to visit my Mormor’s grave finally and at her memorial I began to let go. I dealt with my mental health and used isolation to realise what was important to me.
I moved to Carlisle and began that journey, I’ve hated it so far but at the same time the woman I have become is the same woman 15-year-old me dreamt of. I have my own voice, I’m finally confident enough to do every-day things alone and I don’t rely on other people to be happy. I’m a social butterfly but I can also be alone, I stopped drinking as much and I went back to therapy. I planned for my future and have decided to continue in education and get my PhD, something I never thought I’d be smart enough to do.
I dyed my hair, I lost my senses and got rid of the black hair I loved. I went ginger for a while, then had brown with green underneath and now brown with blue underneath. I’ve obviously had a hard time and took it out on my hair. I also began 2020 with 2 piercings and I now have 8. We love that.
2020 hasn’t been a good year for anyone, I lost friends I expected to have for life. I lost friends over pure nastiness and jealousy- to the guy who told me that I didn’t live near my gran and therefore I shouldn’t be upset, I’m glad you’re out of my life. I lost who I was, somewhere between the hospital visits and having to catch up on months of overdue university work I didn’t bother to do as I truly didn’t want to finish my degree. I got to the final part and thought what the point was anymore, I didn’t have ambition and I really didn’t care. My whole life had been a preparation to the day I had finally succeeded and yet my academic achievement felt like a flop. It wasn’t the real achievement; I still don’t feel like I’ve reached that point. Maybe it’s a good thing, because if I peak too early then what am I moving towards but instead I felt as if something that should’ve been a peak became absolutely useless. Part of me feels obsolete at this and the other part is motivated to carry on and do more till I reach my peak, and whilst I’m almost certain there will be no normality anytime soon, I can truly say I cannot wait for 2021.
So, as I slowly enter 2021 alongside my gorgeous and talented friends, my supportive family and a newly found motivation and strength. I just want to thank you all, I worked my a** off on this blog and the results have been incredible. I never thought I’d have the confidence to write a post explaining why I tried to kill myself or post photos of my fat bare stomach online and yet I have. I’m 21-years-old with an almost lifetime of mental health problems and my journey doesn’t end now, or anytime soon. Thank you all for coming along with me, hopefully I’ll have another post out before the end of the year but if not happy new year. Let’s make the best of what we are given.
You are all incredible, resilient people. Remember that. Enjoy your Christmases and give me a thought as I am cooking not only a traditional Finnish/Swedish Christmas dinner on the 24th but an English one on the 25th. I’m going to need a lot of prosecco to get me through this. Thank you for everything, you are all keeping me going.