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.

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Books are my medication.

Books are my medication.

Sometimes my Depression gets the best of me even though I’m on medication which is meant to stabilise me.  Medication is all good when it works but I find that sometimes my mood drops for no reason and it’s up to me to fight through it with willpower.  My Doctor always told me to try and distract myself when I was feeling particularly low, and I tried a lot of ways but only one thing works for me and it’s reading.

I’ve been a bookworm since my first book at 5 years old, I’ve always had bookshelves full of books and I don’t go anywhere without a book, whether a paperback or kindle.  Books take me away from my life and give me adventure and excitement, they allow me to live so many lives and learn so many things.  I have an Alice in Wonderland tattoo dedicated to the book because it’s one of my favourites, I’ve always loved the idea of finding another world or reality and getting lost in it, I could just never understand why the characters wanted to go home again at the end.  I also have a Jane Eyre quote down my spine which reads “I am no bird and no net will ensnare me” which is one of my favourite book quotes.  Reading for me is about being free and letting go of everyday stresses for a while.

I soon realised that when my mood dropped, if I picked up a book and read it through, by the end I felt a little better and a little more hopeful.  The thing with me and reading though, is that I have to read a book in one go, there is no putting it down and picking it up the next day.  I start and finish a book in a matter of hours because I live the story and I don’t want to pause halfway, I want to live the whole thing all at once.  So I would read late into the night when my insomnia was bad and it actually helped me sleep better because I dreamt of the things I read and it was a refreshing experience for me, because I’d usually dream of disturbing things and have nightmares.

The Doctor was glad that I had found something that distracted me when I needed it but she was also a bit worried because my imagination is overactive and early on in my depression and at some points still, I can become confused between reality and imagination.  She advised me to carry on reading but to not get lost in books and try to forget my problems because it was only a short term release.  I have a habit of avoiding my problems and bottling things up until I explode and then my mood becomes unstable, with books she was afraid I was just avoiding my feelings.

I think she was right to some extent, I do avoid real problems with books.  If I’m stressed or something bad has happened that day, I’ll pick up a book and ignore the world for a while, I’ll forget to eat and drink but I’m happy and free for a few moments.  This is why books are my medication, maybe it is bad for me to get lost in imaginary worlds and ignore the real one but it makes me happy for a while and I’ll take that.  Books bring me hope and joy, they let me relax and unwind and become invested in something.  I would never give up books, reading is my life and it’s what gets me through my hardest times.

To end, enjoy some quotes from those who also believe imagination is one of the most important parts of life:

Here in your mind you have complete privacy. Here there’s no difference between what is and what could be. CHUCK PALAHNIUK, Choke

We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. J. K. ROWLING, speech to Harvard Alumni Association, 2008

The man who has no imagination has no wings. MUHAMMAD ALI, Newsweek, 1975

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. Albert Einstein

Imagination is the eye of the soul. Joseph Joubert