New Year…Same Me.

New Year…Same Me.

Over the past week, I’ve seen so many posts online about people making new goals and resolutions and I find it really frustrating.  I find the whole New Year period depressing.  Since I was a child I would stay up until midnight and make a wish as the clock struck, to make more friends, to fit in more, to be more confident, to do better at school etc.  As I got older the wishes stopped and the resolutions started, be more confident with people, start working out, find happiness, get a job.  But the past five years, New Years has become more and more depressing for me.  I wish I could wait for the clock to strike midnight and say “This year, I won’t be depressed”, “This year I will leave my anxiety behind”, “This year, my chronic fatigue won’t stop me”.

The truth of the matter though is I can’t make these things go away.  Chronic Illness doesn’t just go away when a new year begins, it follows you.  Sure I could make smaller resolutions like “take up a new hobby”, “eat healthier”, “start planning for the wedding” but it just all seems so useless to me and I know that eventually I will be disappointed because I didn’t accomplish these things and compared to the bigger issues I have in my life, it just seems meaningless.  I see all these people on social media making their wishes and dreams for the new year and now that for most people, it will end up failing, being forgotten in a few months or disappointing and I don’t have room for any more failed wishes and disappointment in my life so I don’t do anything for New Years.

I also happen to have my birthday on the 10th of January and that’s another year older, another year that I failed to accomplish anything and another year of failed attempts and self hatred.  So January for me is a depressing month, it’s a month that if I wasn’t ill or hadn’t seen the lowest points in life, I would maybe look forward too and enjoy.

I envy people that can just make a resolution and do it, without anything holding them back, they’re lucky.  Unfortunately, depression doesn’t take a day off and it sticks to you like glue, pretty the same way anxiety does.  Maybe my Chronic Fatigue will improve, maybe the medical society will finally discover something that can help but I’ll still have lost two years of my life to it, it’s still held me back and in turn, made my depression double.

For me 2017 is another year of all kinds of medication, low periods of depression, frustration at being judged by others because my illnesses are invisible.  Another year of hoping to be able to get a job but being halted by my anxiety and fatigue, another year with pain that has no source and painkillers that don’t work.  It’s depressing but I have to learn to look forward to small things, seeing my family, having a really supportive fiancé who looks after me, having a GP that does everything she can to give me hope and teaching my niece that the world can be a magical place, even if I haven’t experienced it.

So to everyone with a Chronic Illness this year, stay strong and keep fighting.

Time to put the war paint on.

Time to put the war paint on.

Going out for a social event is something that most people look forward to and it’s something that I used to love to do.  Now it’s something that I have to spend a long while building up to, getting myself prepared for and building up my inner strength for.  It’s my sisters birthday in a week and she’s a very bubbly person who loves going out and having a good time.  As the older sister it’s hard to see, my little sister can go out and be completely free when I can’t.  My sister has always followed my footsteps, when she was little she would copy everything I did and she looked up to me.  I can’t help but think I’ve let her down, I should set an example and encourage confidence and independence.

So every birthday she chooses to go out for a meal with the family.  And this is where the war paint comes in. I spend most of my time too tired to do anything or too depressed to bother, so I never get dressed up or where make up.  So on the rare occasion I do go out, I like to think of my make up as war paint because I use it to try and hide how I really feel, I try to become a different person for one night.  When people look at me they will think I’m just a normal 23 year old who enjoys life, they won’t see the self hatred and darkness that’s inside me.  I use the make up as a shield, I dress up and pretend to be someone I’m not.  For one night I try to forget about my worries and fatigue, I put everything into acting the part and allowing my family to enjoy their time out and not worry about me.  It used to be that my family were so worried how I would react to certain places, they avoided going and I don’t want to deprive them of anything.

Depression has changed who I am and it’s also made me an extremely good actress.  Depression makes it easy for me to lie and I use it to put up a front, I use it to smile and laugh along with people, to blend in.  I feel disgusting inside but it allows me to act the part on the outside which is why it’s called an invisible illness.  On the outside I look like a typical person enjoying myself and getting on in life, no one looks deep enough to see the pain and anxiety that lurks beneath the surface.

So in a week, it will be time to wear the war paint and act happy and carefree for one night, because it’s my sisters birthday and I’ll do anything to make her happy and see her live the life I can’t.