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Saturday, 26 November 2016

One Year Ago Today...

On this day, exactly one year ago, I had probably the most terrifying night of my life. I was just going about my evening as I did everyday when suddenly I realised that I had no idea what I was living for. The thought struck me hard and for quite a long moment, I wasn't sure if I could trust myself with my own life. And that is one of the most terrifying feelings in the world.
I knew I didn't want to take my life, I didn't want to give up, but in that moment, I just couldn't trust myself. I had no idea what to do. I didn't think I could tell anyone without them freaking out, unintentionally making me feel even more terrified and alone. So I sat quivering in the silence and cried.  I tried to write about it but I couldn't find the words. I clung onto the knowledge that ending it all really was the last thing I wanted to do. But it just wasn't enough to quell my fear. Eventually, I decided to risk it and I told my mum. She gave me a big hug which was all I really needed to know that I wasn't alone. There was nothing more she could have done; the way she responded was perfect. I couldn't ever wish for any more.

I had somewhere to be that night. If it hadn't been for that, I'm not sure how I would have shaken the all encompassing fear. It's all a bit of a blur after I confessed how I was feeling; I can't remember how I managed to pull myself together enough to leave the house. But I did. And from the moment I decided I was going to go, suddenly my whole existence, to that point void of anything other than fear, was flooded with determination. Somewhere, deep down, I knew that I could do this. I knew I could get through this. And actually, I think the very thing that made me feel 'normal' again was leaving the house and pretending to be okay. And through fake smiles and determination, I somehow managed to convince myself that it would all be okay.

And it was.

You need only have briefly observed me 12 months ago to appreciate the colossal difference between now and then. It's so much more than just absence (or presence) of happiness. Depression is deeply complex, and in my experience not driven by circumstance. Yes, it was circumstance that started the downwards spiral. But if not for my own mind, I may not have hit rock bottom. Ultimately, I believe that it was my mind that really drove me down (and up again!). I don't believe one could have done anything really without the other, both on the downwards and upwards journey. Circumstance and mindset work together. But sometimes one has more power than the other.

And that brings me to now. Those four or so months that November 26th falls into taught me so much. And I am undoubtedly a much stronger person now because of them. My mind just didn't have the strength to cope with what life threw at me. I let circumstance influence my mindset, and the price I paid was that my mind drove me deep into the darkness. But somewhere along the line, I managed to find a light source within me. I nurtured it, learning what made it brighter and what made it dimmer. And from then on I began to soar. For I now knew what made me happy and what I stood for. I knew what made me strong and what made me weak. I learnt how my mind worked and what I had to do to keep it strong and healthy.

Although at the time I was oblivious to its significance, this time in my life was pivotal. For I not only learnt how my mind works, I also gained an incredible amount of strength as a person. As clich├ęd as it is, life is a journey of varied terrain. One year ago I was on an incredible rocky, somewhat dangerous path. But I made it out the other side to what I can only describe, especially in this context, as positively fabulous!

Thus, I am incredibly thankful for everything that happened, including one year ago today. For I would not be quite myself without it.