2017 was the year that almost killed me.
By the numbers, 2017 has been one of the worst years of my life; I have had three jobs, I was unemployed for 4 months, I almost lost some of the most important people in my life, I had nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, crippling anxiety, sexual assault PTSD and an alcohol problem.
I started “The 180 Project” as a resource to allow myself to focus on the positives in my life but one thing that was wrong about that is that I wasn’t facing my own realities. From the outside, I was a quirky, fun loving, normal 25 year old but on the inside I was suicidal, self destructive, alone and not willing to help myself get out of it.
As the year unfolded, I had to survive one thing after the other and my positivity sat on the backburner. Instead I became a shell of myself, tragically self destructing then repeatedly trying to learn from my mistakes. I could try and explain my depression, anxiety and paranoia in intricate detail but it wouldn’t matter. What matters is that I am asking the world to forgive me for what I became and support me in who I am trying to be from here on out. I also think it’s time that I spoke up about it.
I’ve often wrestled with being so open about my mental illness because, when I do open up to people they shrug it off - “we figured” or “well, that explains it.” I have sat in offices where people make jokes about bipolar, I have been at bars where people joke about rape, I have heard people scoff and say “everyone is depressed” and roll their eyes at me and, for such a loud mouth, I have found myself keeping it shut.
Coming to terms with something that has been ruining my life for over a decade now certainly hasn’t been easy but if we don’t talk about it then people will keep treating us like we are a secret.
This morning I woke up depressed. Yesterday I had a quiet anxiety attack at 3am. The day before I abused alcohol for the last time.
The thing with mental illness is that no one has it the same. I can tell you that I have bipolar disorder but people can’t assume that they know which type, how it manifests or what it comes with. It’s like a relationship. It can look like something on the outside but only me and my disorders really know how intimate things get. My illness will wake my up in the middle of the night trying to drown me or it can keep me up at night with ideas.
It’s kind of like a cat - a total asshole but it’s mine and I have to just accept that fact.
I kept trying to write this without sounding like a victim because well, I’ve carried the weight of the year on my chest. I felt like everything was happening to me and how unfair it was. But if I keep living my truth with this attitude nothing is ever going to be joyful again.
I can be grateful that I had a support system that stuck by me through the hardest calls, the most destructive behaviors and the endless tears. I can never give those people the appropriate level of gratitude because I can’t always say out loud “thank you, I would have killed myself without you.”
So, where does this leave us with this blog? Well, I’ve decided that it’s time to start living my truth. Don’t come here expecting muffin recipes and product reviews...I’m in a better place now than I’ve been but my truth is that I am fighting a battle every morning. So when I write, I’m writing about what helps me survive. What it’s like to be a sober 25 year old in NYC, what I do when my sexual assault PTSD is triggered, the things that bring my happiness, the ways I talk my anxiety down...
It took me a decade to be open about what goes through my head and maybe someone else out there is reading this inside a secret browser like I did. There is nothing wrong with talking about it.
Everyone writes about how “this year is going to be my year” and well, 2018 might not be my year but if I believe in good and gratitude then maybe I have a chance to live a better truth than the one I’m in now.