Spring is my favourite time of the year. It’s a time for rebirth, fresh starts, and longer days. It’s a time for sunnier weather, drier grounds, and warmer air. It’s a time to get outside, get s*it done and appreciate life, and the things we have around us.
This time last year, I was starting to come out of my depression; like a bear emerging from a winter-long hibernation – it was a sight for sore eyes. And getting outdoors and being one with nature (as they say), brought the light back to my life. It was as if I was seeing the world with new eyes; for the very first time. I loved seeing the lambs in the fields, the bluebells in the forest. I loved feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, and the pink sunsets in the evenings. I loved being alive and that was the first time I’ve truly appreciated life and felt happy. I guess when you overcome depression, when you feel like it will beat you, it gives you a whole new outlook on life and it will always make you a better person in the long run.
This Spring I’m feeling even more grateful. I’ve finally got my life onto a path that feels like it could potentially lead to greater things, while trying to kick my social anxiety in the ass at the same time and even though I’m still way behind in life, than most people my age, now I don’t care. I can see that everyone is different and everyone does life and deals with life differently to the next person. Not everybody was dealt a lucky hand and some of us have to fall behind and fail a few times, in order to gain strength from those weaknesses. But it also makes those achievements, however small, even bigger accomplishments when we finally reach them.
I’ve purposely tried to challenge myself and put myself in situations this year, that I never could have done last year, or even the year before. But it was needed. I had to push myself in order to see what I was capable of and to prove to myself that I’m not a failure, or a non-entity, and I can live a normal life again one day: it hasn’t been pretty, nor has it been easy. But holy crap – it’s been worth it and I have never felt more proud of myself. It took a hell-hole of depression to encourage me to change and it was only then I realised that nothing was going to improve unless I did. I needed to be the one to take control and steer my life in the direction I wanted it to go in and I needed to do things that were challenging to me, in order to make those changes. Although, walking around in a busy place alone, is challenging for me, so this is going to be a bloody nightmare.
The best way I can describe my life at the minute, is like this – Have you watched the scenes in Shawshank Redemption, when they finally get to leave the prison after decades of being incarcerated? The world has drastically changed in the years they have been cooped up and they no longer know how to live in a world they no longer recognise.
I let my anxiety control me so much and for so long, that I imprisoned myself: both mentally and physically. At my worst I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house and at my best, I couldn’t do social things without the help of alcohol and I lacked the confidence to grab life by the balls when I was sober. I have become so disconnected from the ‘real world’ over the last ten years, that now I don’t know how to do things that the average person my age does know. It’s a horrible feeling. It makes me feel stupid and immature for needing the extra help and guidance, and it makes getting my life on track that little bit harder. Thankfully, I have always had the support from my family, who have always done everything and anything they can to help me through the awful parts of my life: while encouraging me along the way and also the only people that have never given up on me, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
As a person who’s always been shy, quiet, and introverted; I’ve always run away from my problems rather than face them and have to deal with the shame, and embarrassment of being rejected or laughed at for being awkward and socially nondependent. That said, if I feel like my time is being wasted and I’m being treated like a joke, the same happens then – only this time – it’s with courage and dignity. And I have felt that more and more, over the last few months, while trying to setup a life for myself: to ask for help, or to ask questions that may seem ‘basic’ to most. But are completely new to me; only to be made to feel stupid for asking. It’s disheartening and it makes me question why I even bothered. Although, every cloud has a silver lining and thankfully this modern world has google – he hasn’t judged me yet. 😉
Obviously, I’ve seen a difference in my overall persona, confidence, and mental health this year, but I’ve also had family and even people from social media comment on how much happier, determined, and upbeat I seem lately; which has been lovely to hear. And that’s because I’m finally ready to move on in my life and I’m ready for this new chapter that has yet to be written. I’m just ready to better my life and become a part of society again, rather than someone who exists and nobody really knows of.
I just have to remember that even though I struggle with anxiety, it doesn’t define who I am as a person: I may come across as a snob to those who don’t know me, but that’s only because I don’t know how to interact with people, whom I’m unfamiliar with and I’m always constantly stressed about how I’m coming across to the people I’m trying to socialise with. However, in reality, I’m a kind, loving and compassionate person, with a sassy personality when needed and those qualities should far outweigh any awkwardness I bring to the table.
So for anyone out there who is going through a similar thing – just do it. Push yourself through the uncomfortable and then soon you will be comfortable; otherwise, you will be 10 years down the line (like me) and have nothing to show for your life; other than a social media account and blog that will be irrelevant in another twenty. It will seem hard at first and you will want to give up, but that is when you need to find the determination to push through: that is when change happens. Only you have the ability to change your life, no one else can do it for you.
Disclaimer: I do not apologise for all the clichés in this blogpost. 😉