Sounds like I’m judging, doesn’t it?
I’m not. For most of my life, I did exactly that. Reflected on the previous year, and berated myself for the not losing/gaining weight, not having a boyfriend, not saving enough money or paying down debt, etc. I would set lofty goals, like losing 50 pounds in three months, and hit the ground running. Come February 1st, I’d burn out and probably berate myself for failing. Again.
But something is different this year. I’m looking back at 2015 with a smile. Feeling a sense of gratitude rather self-recrimination, even though I’ve gained more weight than ever before, I’m still single and my debt is probably on the rise (I don’t know, I’m a little afraid to look!). If you’ve been following along with the sparse posts on A Choice For Health, you’ll know 2015 hasn’t been easy. But I’m smiling because I kept going. I persevered, and I survived the hardest, most painful year of my life. Sounds dramatic, I know. But there’s no embellishment in that statement. 2015 was brutal. I didn’t think anything could surpass 2003-04, a time that included assault and subsequent trial facing my attacker. But I was wrong. The depression that developed has been building, and it has been horrible this year. Constantly changing and proving very difficult to treat and manage. And therapy, though a godsend, is no walk in the park. It’s one of those “it gets worse before it gets better” situations. Pandora’s Box was opened, while at the same time, depression consumed my days and significantly diminished my ability to see logic or feel self-worth. On top of which, I started a new job, and had to maintain the façade of normal and healthy to my new coworkers and clients, not to mention my friends and family.
A year like that would keep anyone under the covers. Perhaps indefinitely. And believe me, there have been days when I wasn’t sure I could get out of bed. I honestly don’t know how I was able to do it sometimes. But a trusted friend of mine, one I often turn to in the dark times, often remarks on my perseverance. While I usually feel like a failure, and defeated by the depression, she tells me she is inspired by my ability to keep trying. I’ve lost a lot to this disease, and sometimes it feels like I’ll never get it back. But I think that’s why I’m smiling. I’m able to reflect, see how much strength and courage it took to get this far.
So what am I going to do with 2016? Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve been incredibly goal oriented and driven to achieve my whole life. Feels strange not to set a bunch of goals or resolutions as we head into the New Year. But really, managing my health and finding ways to live with depression seem like goals enough.
Perhaps a better word to use would be intention, as it feels less intense than resolution or goal. And I could certainly use a less intense year.
So in 2016, I intend to keep writing and to keep creating. I intend to keep trying to heal and find balance, and I intend to keep asking for help when I need it.
And of course, I intend to keep smiling.
Cheers to happy and healthy 2016.