[TW: mental illness/self-harming behaviours]
it’s december 29th and i haven’t seen anyone say ‘new year, new me’ in regards to the fast approaching abyss that is 2018. or at least, not in so many words. however, while the positivity reigning from the majority of the internet is refreshing and, to be honest, very much needed after 2017, new year so often leaves me feeling more dejected than ever. i know this is by no means a refreshing or alternative take, but nevertheless i think it’s important to consider where we can find positivity in the often grandiose transformation plans that, apparently, our mindsets alone can provoke.
when it comes down to it, the new year is arbitrary. that’s to say, it’s down to personal interpretation rather than reason. this year, for example, january 1st is just another monday. it is the mindset we’re in which transfigures it into a clean break, fresh start, blank slate powerhouse of opportunity and change. mindset, however, is in my opinion a magic power reserved for neurotypical individuals who can control their brains enough to force it, and therefore themselves, into being productive or positive or even successful. for many of us, mindset rings simply of doctor’s buzzwords, and is nothing more than a fluffy solution away from ‘just relax’ or ‘have you tried going for a walk?’. the unfortunate reality of the situation, for so many of us, is that - come january 1st - we’ll continue to struggle with the same problems we did on december 31st.
so maybe our goals and ambitions for a shiny untainted new year, should be more concerned with learning how to grow and thrive *despite* our issues, rather than naively thinking we really will be ‘new’ next year. 2018 me will still be the same old 2017 me. still struggling, still suffering, but also still fighting.
last week i did something i should’ve done a long time ago. i sat down and looked my mother in the face and told her i needed to be fixed. i told her i was sick of this existence. i told her i was done with being an empty shell. i told her i was going to force change. and sometimes, before we can think about our careers or our finances or our relationships or the whole messy fucked-up world, we need to force change for ourselves. and, maybe, recognising that need for painful, forceful, uncomfortable, scary change is a good enough place to start. there is nothing i hate more than the oft-acclaimed belief that ‘if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen’ (or the scottish, and therefore more poetic, ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’). nothing will just happen. ever. like…factually. and, as someone who is very often apathetic, demotivated, dejected, and essentially incapable of any sort of proactive behaviour, my awareness of that fact is nothing short of distressing. for a very long time, it was easier for me to shift the blame from me to my brain. and, to this day, it does offer me some comfort to know that it isn’t ~technically~ my fault - but that doesn’t change the inconvenient truth that it’s still up to me if i wanna change anything about my existence.
but here’s the good news: that change can be nothing more than seeking help. seeking an actual diagnosis from a real-life medical professional, rather than from twitter memes about depression. or seeking someone out to talk to. it can be learning more about the condition you have. it can be reaching out to people you know who suffer too, and either seeking their help or offering yours. it can be telling your mum how hard you’re finding life inside your brain. the point is simply that, unless you decide to change it, it just will not change. so do the small things. figure out the ways in which you can make yourself get better so that, this time next year, you can maybe be aiming for the big things. is it trying medication? is it trying a new therapist? is it trying therapy itself for the first time? is it as simple, yet important, as making sure you’re in a safe place when you relapse into harmful behaviours, rather than saying ‘i’m just going to be magically cured of my impulses from now on'? is it sterilising things before you self-harm? is it washing your hands before you pick your skin off? is it realising that self-care is sometimes a lot darker than a lush bubble bath? is it acknowledging the problems you have, but making small but significant changes to ensure you’re not causing more problems in turn?
in 2018 i’m going to get better. can i be ‘fixed’ completely? i’m not so sure. but i cannot be sitting on december 29th 2018 feeling as neurotic, wracked, exhausted, paranoid, self-loathing, and hopeless as i do now. i won’t allow it because this is not enough. this is not the extent to which a whole, blooming, unbounded life has for me. so maybe i’m not ready for the ‘big goals’, but - for 2017 me - taking that first, revolutionising step *is* my big goal. no new me, no suddenly transforming mindset, but the strength to say ‘i’m ready to force this change’.
happy new year when it comes, you wonderful creatures.