I’ve come a long way since this time last year, a very long way. The start of 2015 was rough for me, in fact I’d consider it the worst five months of my life. My mental health was the worst it had ever been, and I didn’t see a way out. I thought, “That’s it, I’m stuck like this forever now”. But you know what? I did find a way out, and I managed to turn things around completely – that’s what’s important here. I learned that every cloud has a silver lining after all, because I’ve just experienced what can only be described as the best six months of my life.
2015 taught me a lot of things, and the most important thing I learned was how to get a grip on my anxiety. Last year I may not have been so happy about gaining weight, but now I’m so glad I did because I would never have started exercising without that happening. I’ve spent years and years trying to fix myself and I’m so grateful that I’ve finally found a way to do it. I very rarely need to take medication to calm myself down now, and I’m really proud of that.
This year I learned that who you surround yourself with is very important – it can make or break your day. I’m lucky enough to have spent the last six months with my housemates and neighbours (with occasional visits from my friends from home), and they never fail to put a smile on my face. Not once did I spend an evening cooped up in my room all alone, overthinking everything, because I had my friends by my side constantly. They’ll probably never understand what a positive impact they’ve had on my life, but I can’t thank them enough for just being there. Our incapability to go out as a group without everyone getting absolutely hammered is something I’ll laugh about forever!
I learned that just because you’re struggling does not mean your failing, and that every great success requires some sort of struggle to get there. You’re going to have setbacks in life, be it in college, work or your personal life. But the things that are worth having don’t come easy, and it just makes you appreciate it that bit more once you get what you wanted.
Although 2015 taught me that you don’t need a guy hanging off your arm constantly, it also taught me that I’m not as tough as I thought I was. I learned that no matter how hard I try to avoid it, there are people that I will end up getting feelings for. Whether I like it or not it’s inevitably going to happen, but I’m going to try to stop looking at it as a bad thing. New motto for 2016: feelings are only bad when they’re for the wrong person/a shit cunt.
This summer taught me the importance of living life to the full and being spontaneous as hell. Nothing roars “spontaneity” like planning five last minute adventures to music festivals over the course of three months. I could have easily said “Five is too much” or “Maybe I’ll leave that one out” or “This is all too last minute” but I didn’t, I said fuck it and I went to all of them, and I had the time of my life. I don’t want to look back on my teenage years when I’m 40, thinking “I wish…” and I’m really glad that I made the most of my summer.
2015 taught me that I really do love my course. Earlier this year when my mental health was at its worst, I wanted nothing more than to just go home to my family. And if I was doing any other course, I would have packed it in and headed back to Belmullet. But I was finally doing something in life that I enjoyed, and there was no way I was giving it up and letting my anxiety win. I’m so, so glad that I didn’t leave college because as I said, this semester has been amazing. I’m so grateful to be studying a subject that I’m so interested in.
Crying about boys, laughing about green chicken, stressing about media law, eating way too much Chinese food… These last few months have been great. I can only hope that 2016 lives up to it, and I’m sure it will with the same gang of loonatics by my side. Wishing you all a happy new year, and if you take one thing from this post, let it be this – things will always get better.