I haven’t sat down & reflected on the progress I have made since returning from my year abroad. I thought now would be as good a time as any.
After being diagnosed with severe anxiety & depression I felt like my whole world was crashing down around me. I felt that I had lost the person I had once been. Now I feel like I have taken on my mental illness & made myself a better person because of the experience it has given me.
In the next few weeks I will be finishing one internship & beginning another. I have also secured a volunteer placement at another well known charity helping them with their social media, their events & their fundraising research. If you had told me that in October I probably would have said yeah, that’s the dream but I doubt I’ll actually get there. In October I struggled to get out of bed, shower and get dressed. Now I get up at 6.30am and I’m out the door and ready for work.
Another fear driven by anxiety that I may not have conquered but have definitely improved upon is travelling. My anxiety began with a fear of going to new places, getting on public transport or even driving my car. In the past few months I have been on more tubes & trains than I care to think about with only 1 panic attack. I have driven long distances, something I would have point blank refused to do and I bought a new car! I go to new places all the time, I love exploring the country I live in! I also just booked my tickets to New York for the Summer & I’m excited to push myself a bit more out of my comfort zone.
For those who I’m close to, you’ll know I’m on medication for my mental illnesses. It’s going good, despite the occasional person asking me questions like ARENT THOSE ADDICTIVE?!? The answer to that is yes they can be. My answer is no, I would like to be off these ASAP because I’m not the biggest fan of being on medication whatever it is. However, I recognise that right now I need them & that is totally okay. Moreover, if anyone has ever tried to get a counsellor through the NHS you will know how long the waiting list is. So I am trying to get off these meds but the process for getting a counsellor isn’t as easy as I expected.
I am so grateful for my friends and family who have continued to be wonderful throughout this journey. I am treasuring the moments I can spend with my nieces and nephews whilst I am home. I’ve been helping with homework, reading bedtime stories, getting lots of cuddles and generally loving being able to watch these little people discover the world.
Finally I feel like I am using my ‘time off’ well. I put that in quotation marks because I have never been this busy at university. I am using the time to build up my CV and pursue some amazing ventures with great charities. I am researching for my dissertation – yep, I’m still doing that despite not starting uni again until September. I am trying to achieve two personal goals of keeping my fitness level as high as it would be as part of my uni running club as well as trying to read 20 books this year (just because).
I really advise taking some time to reflect on how far you have come in the past few months. Whether it is a bunch of small personal goals or something like a promotion they all matter and they are all worth celebrating. The other day I celebrated because I finally mastered parallel parking on a busy street! Take time for you and your achievements because you are 100% worth celebrating.
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